The Texas Tech Red Raiders play the No. 7 ranked Baylor Bears on Saturday in Arlington, Tex., at AT&T Stadium — home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Baylor has won the past three years, and is looking for another convincing win to stay in the hunt for a berth into the inaugural College Football Playoff. Texas Tech has struggled to a 4-7 record and was eliminated from bowl eligibility with a loss earlier this month at home against the Texas Longhorns. This is the second time in four years that Texas Tech has failed to become bowl eligible, which is a concept that doesn’t sit too well considering they previously had 11 straight years of bowl eligibility.
Texas Tech leads the all-time series 36-35-1, and will play “host” to the Bears, despite Waco, Tex. being just 100 miles from AT&T Stadium.
The Red Raiders are going to need all the favorable advantages it can get, as Baylor’s averaged 60 points per game against Tech since 2012.
Having thrown for 2,683-yards and 23 touchdowns, Bears’ senior quarterback Bryce Petty has had an insane season so far. In 2013, he threw for 335-yards and three touchdowns, with two rushing touchdowns in Baylor’s 63-34 win against Tech. The Red Raiders had numerous issues last season, but on paper, it was a more complete team in 2013 than it is now. I imagine that coming off a confidence boosting win at Iowa State last weekend, defensive coordinator Mike Smith has been dismantling film from last years’ route to try and find a solution for the high octane passing attack it will face on Saturday.
Texas Tech has been terrible this season at stopping the run, and is the worst team in the Big 12 in rushing defense. They are surrendering 261-yards on the ground per game. Heading into this contest, Tech’s front seven are going to have their hands full against Baylor’s sophomore running backs Shock Linwood and Devin Chafin.
There’s no word yet on who will start at quarterback for the Red Raiders, but I’d like to believe that head coach Cliff Kingsbury is going to stick to freshmen Pat Mahomes, as he’s found a rhythm amongst the Tech offense since Davis Webb was injured at TCU.
At Ames last weekend, Texas Tech running back DeAndre Washington became the first Red Raider to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season since Ricky Williams in 1998. Look for Washington to play a huge factor in Tech’s offense on Saturday.
The Red Raiders rank sixth in the nation in passing yardage, and in the last three contests between Baylor and Tech, there has been some explosive offensive performances. With a total of 101 points scored and 1,145 combined yards amassed between the two, it’s going to be an uphill battle. Since “The Shootout” will be Tech’s Bowl game, look for an energized team until the last tick.
*Section Photo credit to Donald Mirrale, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Matt Kartozian, USA Today Sports.