Texas Tech will host FCS opponent Stephen F. Austin on Saturday night in Lubbock, looking to follow up a blowout win over SMU.
The Red Raiders defeated the Mustangs in Week 1, 41-23, getting big performances from freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield and senior receiver Eric Ward.
Stephen F. Austin will have to play much better defensively than it did against Weber State to make this a close contest. The Lumberjacks lost to the Wildcats in Week 1, 50-40.
Here's a preview of the action, complete with my prediction.
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Tex.
When: Saturday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m. ET
Spread (via Covers.com): Texas Tech -38
Injury Report (via USA Today)
Stephen F. Austin
Jakeem Grant, WR, Questionable (Undisclosed)
Michael Brewer, QB, Questionable (Back)
Jalen Barnes, DB, Out for Season (Shoulder)
Will Stephen F. Austin Be Able to Stop Texas Tech's Offense?
Texas Tech was not considered a top team headed into the 2013 campaign, but the Red Raiders posted 41 points against SMU in Week 1 and Stephen F. Austin allowed Weber State to score seven touchdowns (five on offense) in a 50-40 loss.
Texas Tech freshman Baker Mayfield passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns against SMU. Senior receiver Eric Ward posted 13 catches for 150 yards.
Junior running back Kenny Williams—who rushed for 824 yards and five touchdowns in 2012—managed only seven yards in nine carries against SMU, but he has the talent to bust out against Stephen F. Austin.
Can Stephen F. Austin's Offense Keep Up with Texas Tech?
So let's say, for example, that Stephen F. Austin can't stop Texas Tech.
Do the Lumberjacks have enough firepower on offense to win a shootout?
Well, compared to Texas Tech, they don't.
But senior quarterback Brady Attaway did post 450 yards and four touchdowns against Weber State, albeit with three interceptions.
Receivers Mike Brooks and D.J. Ward combined for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
And junior running back Gus Johnson ran for 110 yards and a touchdown.
If Texas Tech's defense takes Stephen F. Austin lightly, it's possible that the Lumberjacks knock down some trees and make some noise.
Will Kliff Kingsbury Continue to Pump Energy Into Texas Tech?
In his first stint as head coach, former Texas A&M offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kliff Kingsbury is currently 1-0.
The fact that walk-on freshman Baker Mayfield exploded in Week 1 may have something to do with the 34-year-old. Apparently, not only does Kliff Kingsbury have an awesome name, he can also coach quarterbacks pretty well.
The Red Raiders went 8-5 (4-5 Big 12) last season. They started out with some blowout victories against Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico before falling to ranked teams Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma State. They also lost to Baylor in overtime to end the regular season, 52-45.
Was the explosion by Texas Tech's offense simply due to the level of competition, or is Kliff Kingsbury on to something here?
Prediction: Texas Tech 45, Stephen F. Austin 17
Given Stephen F. Austin allowed 50 points to an FCS opponent, somehow I don't have much confidence in the Lumberjacks.
Meanwhile, Kliff Kingsbury is already turning heads in Lubbock after Baker Mayfield's dazzling performance against SMU. Something tells me Mayfield and Ward are going to connect on multiple occasions in 2013.
While Texas Tech isn't one of college football's powerhouses, it does have the firepower needed to not only win the games it should, but also win such games convincingly.