Mike Leach and Texas Tech travel to Austin to take on the No. 2 ranked Longhorns. After last season’s thrilling game that saw the Red Raiders claim a 39-33 victory, the national spotlight once again shines on this matchup. Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts gets his third start Saturday after showing marked improvement from week one to week two.
Lots of words can be used to describe the rivalry between these two teams and the stage for this year’s matchup, but so far, UT’s camp has been avoiding one that the national media is using with regularity—revenge.
Who can blame the national media? For all intents and purposes, Texas Tech’s victory in 2008 kept the Longhorns from playing Florida for the national title.
Texas QB Colt McCoy once again returns to lead a dynamic offensive attack for the Longhorns. On the season, McCoy has completed 51-76 passes (67 percent) for 654 yards with five TD's and two INT's. True freshman backup QB Garrett Gilbert has completed 6-8 passes for 62 yards with no TD's or INT's.
After leading the team in rushing last season, it appears that the ‘horns have solved their running dilemma and McCoy will not shoulder the load of carrying the rushing attack. But, McCoy has carried the ball 16 times for 41 yards (2.6 YPC) and one score so far this season
The Longhorn rushing attack has been by committee so far this season. Vondrell McGee paces the group with 26 carries for 131 yards (5 YPC) and one score. Tre’ Newton, son of Cowboys great Nate Newton, is next with 12 rushes for 90 yards (7.5 YPC) and one TD.
D.J. Monroe is next with 14 carries for 79 yards (5.6 YPC) but no scores. Monroe has an 89-yard kickoff return for a score to his credit as well. Goal-line back Cody Johnson has rushed 12 times for 31 yards (2.6 YPC) and three TD's.
Sixth-year senior Jordan Shipley headlines UT’s receiving corps. He has hauled in 15 passes for 241 yards (16 YPC) and one score. Dan Buckner has 11 receptions for 148 yards (13.5 YPC) and one TD. James Kirkendoll has nine catches for 121 yards (13.4 YPC) and one score also.
Former backup QB John Chiles has pitched in eight grabs for 84 yards and two scores. Malcolm Williams, a burner who torched Tech’s secondary for a 91-yard score last season, has yet to find a groove this year. He has three catches for 31 yards.
Texas Tech Passing
Potts, the reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, had his way with the Rice Owls. The junior from Abilene completed 36-57 passes (63 percent) for 456 yards with seven TDs and no INT's.
On the season Potts has completed 70-105 passes (67 percent) for 861 with nine TD's and 3 INT's. Backup Steven Sheffield has completed 4-6 passes for 52 yards with one TD and no INT's.
Texas Tech Rushing
Despite the return of talented junior Baron Batch and the addition of speedy freshmen Harrison Jeffers and Eric Stephens, Texas Tech’s run game has been underwhelming at times so far this season.
Batch led the Big 12 last season in yards per carry and the Red Raiders gained at least 100 yards on the ground in every contest. That total hasn’t been reached through two games this season.
Batch leads the group with 13 carries for 42 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and one score. The redshirt freshman, Jeffers, is next with seven rushes for 39 yards (5.6 YPC) but no scores. True freshman Stephens has tallied four rushes for 17 yards (4.3 YPC) and no scores.
However, Stephens had an electrifying 93-yard kickoff return against Rice nullified by a personal foul. The Red Raiders’ backfield is loaded with talent and could cause problems if the Longhorns’ defensive coordinator gets ultra aggressive in trying to pressure Potts.
Texas Tech Receiving
Lyle Leong, a high school teammate of Potts’ leads the Red Raider receivers with 13 catches for 172 yards (13.2 YPC) and three scores. Detron Lewis is next with 11 grabs for 169 yards (15.4 YPC) and one TD.
Freshman Alex Torres adds nine grabs for 91 yards but no scores and senior Eddie Britton has eight catches for 75 yards (9.4 YPC) and one score.
RB Jeffers has six receptions for 41 yards but no scores. Tramain Swindall didn’t play in the opener but returned with a vengeance against Rice. The sophomore from Oklahoma had six catches for 123 yards (20.5 YPC) and two TD's last week.
Freshman speedster Austin Zouzalik played a little more in week two because of an injury to Lewis. The freshman from Lubbock did not disappoint, as he caught the first touchdown reception of his career against Rice.
On the year, Zouzalik has hauled in six passes for 69 yards (11.5 YPC) with one score. Zouzalik will also be a major factor in the return game during his time at Texas Tech.
Adam James has four grabs for 41 yards and a score. RB Batch has three catches for 49 yards (16 YPC) but no scores. RB Stephens has one reception for 34 yards and a TD to round out the Raiders’ scoring.
What will happen:
- Texas leads the all-time series between the two schools 42-15
- At 77-39, Mike Leach is five wins away from passing Spike Dykes for the all-time wins mark at Texas Tech
- UT is 27-5 in home games against Texas Tech
- This year’s national championship trophy will be at the game in Austin
Texas Tech faces the tall task of knocking off UT in Austin. Traveling without top DE Rajon Henley and missing departed ends Brandon Williams, McKinner Dixon, and Brandon Sesay will make that chore a little tougher.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom for Texas Tech; Mike Leach’s passing attack can befuddle any defense and fans can feel certain that Tech’s head man has an ace or two up his sleeve. Ultimately though, Texas is too talented this year.
Texas Tech: 38