Last year when the Red Raiders and Cougars met up, both teams were unknowns that were looking to get off on the right foot. Tech ended up winning, but both teams went on completely different paths as the Cougars didn’t lose to another team until the conference championship.
This year the teams are almost entirely on opposite sides of the college football world. Tech is rebuilding and the Cougars have a chance to come into the Big 12 on a high note as they're ranked 25th and looking to start the season 2-0.
Tech on the other hand would be ecstatic to beat the Cougars a second year in a row and go into another tough matchup with NC State next week with loads of momentum.
The matchup between the Cougars offense and the Red Raiders defense is an intriguing one. Houston put up 37 points last week and had a balanced attack on the ground and through the air. They had one turnover on a Clayton Tune fumble, but that was about the only blemish on the day.
The Red Raiders made Murray State look like an FCS school most of the game, but did allow a few big plays that need to be worked on. Houston is smart enough to take advantage of what they saw on tape and see if Tech made any adjustments.
Texas Tech will be hard to run on this season with the depth they have in their front seven, so I don’t see the Cougars trying to hammer the run to death. They have some athletic guys on the outside, with Nathaniel Dell scoring two touchdowns last week. They’re a fast team that can spread you out and force you to try and stay with them, and Tune is a good enough quarterback to make the throws necessary to allow them to make plays.
Krishon Merriweather was flying around the field last week and I expect him to keep those running backs in check along with Kosi Eldridge. Tyree Wilson should feast on this offensive line, giving other guys along the defensive front a chance to win some 1v1’s as well.
The defensive backfield was the position that I thought would lead Tech, and I don’t think one shaky performance will be the death of them. This group kept the Cougars offense in check last year, and I expect more of the same on Saturday.
The Red Raiders will prove to be too much on the offensive and defensive side for the Cougars, and will come away with a 45-31 victory at the Jones.