Texas Tech Football: Keys for Red Raiders to Win the Big 12 This Season
For the second straight season Tommy Tuberville's Texas Tech Red Raiders have defeated a Top Five team in the Big 12.
In 2011, junior quarterback Seth Doege threw for 441 yards and four touchdowns to help Tech upset Oklahoma in Norman, 41-38. Fast forward 12 months later, and it was Doege once again leading the Red Raiders to an upset, this time over West Virginia in Lubbock.
Through the first half of the season, Tuberville and the Red Raiders find themselves at No. 17 in the BCS standings, 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play
Let's take a look at the keys for Texas Tech to win its first ever Big 12 conference championship.
Pitch and Catch
The Red Raiders boast the nation's No. 4-ranked passing attack, racking up 369 yards through the air per game.
You know what they say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." In order to win the Big 12, Tech must continue to burn opposing defenses with the pass.
Texas Tech's top-ranked aerial assault is led by senior signal-caller Seth Doege, who threw for 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2011. Doege is averaging more than 26 completions per game and is on pace to throw for more than 40 touchdowns this fall.
Doege's performance last week against West Virginia was one of the most impressive this season by any quarterback. The Texas native completed 32-of-42 passes for 499 yards and six touchdowns, outshining Heisman Trophy favorite Geno Smith.
If Tommy Tuberville's squad is going to challenge the likes of Kansas State, TCU, Oklahoma and West Virginia in the Big 12 the rest of the way, it will need to play pitch and catch from start to finish.
Tackle on Defense
Sure, tackling sounds like an obvious key to victory. But you would be surprised how few defenders in college football actually wrap up the ball-carrier and bring him to the ground on the first try. A big reason why Texas Tech ranks 17th in the country in scoring defense is because it's tackled well on defense for the most part this season.
The Red Raiders are allowing just 16.3 points per game this season, and they held the nation's seventh-ranked scoring offense to just 14 total points last Saturday in Lubbock.
As long as Tech's defense doesn't break, it can bend all it wants. Still, the Red Raiders are only allowing 243 total yards to their opponents on average this season. Sound tackling will keep that number under 300 and keep Tech on pace to win its first ever Big 12 championship.
When you average nearly 41 points per game on offense, tackling on defense and eliminating big scoring plays is the most important key to winning ball games.
Texas Tech fans know all too well just how cruel the second half of the college football schedule can be. Just last year, Tuberville's Red Raiders were sitting at 5-2 in late October, looking poised for a big bowl game appearance only to lose their last five and finish 5-7.
With three of Texas Tech's final six games on the road this season and the next three against BCS Top 25 teams, the Red Raiders must remain humble despite their hot start. One loss at TCU this weekend could spark a losing streak and ultimately cost them a shot at the Big 12 title.
The last two seasons the Red Raiders have started out 4-0 and reached five wins before the month of November. Unfortunately, conference championships are won late in the year.
Texas Tech hasn't accomplished anything yet. Stay humble, Red Raiders.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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