Baylor and Texas Tech have both faced quite a bit of adversity this season. Unfortunately for Baylor, losing star QB Robert Griffin III proved to be much more damaging than the injuries to Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield have for Texas Tech.
The dynamic Baylor QB was such a key cog that his loss dashed Baylor’s high hopes for this season. Texas Tech is wrangling for bowl position and could solidify its position for an upper echelon bowl game with a victory tomorrow in Dallas.
Nick Florence leads Baylor’s offensive attack. He is 165 —266 (62%) for 1,786 yards with six TDs and nine INTs. Backup Blake Szymanski is 33 —54 for (61%) with one TD and four INTs.
Although these stats don’t exactly leap off the page, Baylor’s offense will remind Tech fans of Houston’s in the sense that the Bears don’t rely on the pass quite so much. They strive to be balanced between pass and run while also incorporating one of Leach’s basic tenets of spreading the ball to all its playmakers.
Jay Finley leads Baylor’s rushing attack with 61 carries for 315 yards (5.2 YPC) and one score. Next is Terrence Gannaway with 65 runs for 191 (3 YPC) and five scores. QB Nick Florence adds three rushing scores, Jared Salubi and Robert Griffin each have two scores, while Jared Monk and Kendall Wright have one each.
In fact, of all the different athletes who’ve carried the football for the Bears this season, only three have failed to score a touchdown. That’s pretty impressive given the number of players with rushing attempts for the Bears this year
Baylor’s receiving stats aren’t great but the Bears have big—play ability. This is proven by the fact that they have seven players who average more than 10 yards per catch. Kendall Wright leads the group with 60 catches for 690 yards (11.5 YPC) with four TDs. David Gettis is next with 49 catches for 606 yards (12 YPC) and three scores.
Lanear Sampson has 25 grabs for 269 yards (10.8 YPC) with 2 scores. Justin Akers, Brad Taylor, Willie Jefferson, and Andrew Judy have one score each to close Baylor’s scoring through the air.
Texas Tech Passing:
Taylor Potts’ performance of the season could not have come at a better time than last Saturday afternoon. Potts excellent decision making and distribution played a key role in Tech’s 41 —13 humbling of the Oklahoma Sooners.
Prior to that game, Oklahoma was ranked in the top 10 nationally in many defensive categories and was coming off a 65 point win over Texas A&M. Anyone claiming OU isn’t a salty team clearly does not follow college football.
The challenge for Taylor Potts will be the same as it has been all season: consistency. If the strong armed junior can once again lead his troops with a near —flawless performance, coach Art Briles and his Baylor squad could be in for a long day. However, that remains to be seen. On the season Potts has completed 249 —378 passes (66%) for 2,799 yards with 18 TDs and 11 INTs. Backup Steven Sheffield has completed 92 —125 passes (74%) for 13 TDs and four INTs.
Texas Tech Rushing:
Baron Batch paces the Texas Tech rushing attack with 128 attempts for 715 yards (5.6 YPC) with 12 TDs. Redshirt freshman Harrison Jeffers is next with 33 rushes for 216 yards (6.5 YPC) and four scores. True freshman Eric Stephens is next with 40 rushes for 186 (4.7 YPC) with two scores.
Additionally, Stephens is only a few yards from setting a Texas Tech single—season record for kickoff return yards at 614 for the year. Both of these freshmen have bright futures ahead of them. Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield each have two rushing scores to finish the Red Raiders’ rushing TDs.
Texas Tech Receiving:
Freshman Alexander Torres paces Tech’s receivers with 58 grabs for 728 yards (12.6 YPC) and six scores. Detron Lewis is next with 54 receptions for 719 yards (13.3 YPC) with five scores. RB Batch has 49 catches for 308 yards (6.3 YPC) and one score. Tramain Swindall adds 44 catches for 629 yards (14.3 YPC) and five scores. Lyle Leong, Taylor Potts’ high school teammate is next with 36 catches for 455 yards (12.6 YPC) and six TDs.
Speedster Edward Britton adds 30 grabs for 361 yards (12 YPC) and three scores. Austin Zouzalik has 25 receptions for 302 yards (12 YPC) and two scores. RB Jeffers, Jacoby Franks, Adam James, RB Stephens, and Brik Brinker each have one score.
This is Texas Tech’s oldest rivalry. The Red Raiders hold a slight series advantage with a 34 — 32 —1 all —time record
Saturday’s game at Cowboys Stadium will be the first neutral field meeting between the two schools.
Baylor head coach Art Briles was the running backs coach on Mike Leach’s first staff at Texas Tech. Briles also has a degree from Texas Tech despite playing college football at Houston.
Mike Leach’s victory last week makes him Tech’s all —time leader in wins, surpassing legendary Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes.
Texas Tech’s 36 sacks on the season is second nationally to Pittsburgh, which has 41.
What will Happen:
Briles has a deep understanding of Texas Tech’s offense as well as some weapons of his own. Given this, I expect the Bears to remain fairly close with Texas Tech for much of the game. Look for the Red Raiders depth and overall talent disparity to take over late in the first half or early in the second half.
Texas Tech —45