The 2-0 Texas Longhorns will travel to Lubbock, Texas to take on their rivals, the 2-0 Texas Tech Red Raiders this Saturday night in a game that promises to be one of the best of this college football season so far.
The Longhorns haven’t been too explosive on offense yet but their defense has played pretty well and will face a tough test against the Red Raiders this Sunday night.
Longhorns quarterback Garrett Gilbert has been playing good football lately and hasn’t made any mistakes so far this season, which has been good. Their running game got a good start in their first game (against the Rice Owls), but they didn’t use it so much last week (against the Wyoming Cowboys), opting to pass the ball much more often.
So what will the Longhorns do against the Red Raiders this Saturday night? Who will win this game and earn their first loss of the year? Let’s find out.
When the Longhorns have the Ball
As stated, Gilbert has had a mistake free season so far and has slowly but surely grown much more comfortable with running the offense. However, with a foe like Texas Tech, known for airing it out, the Longhorns may end up having to turn their offense up a notch and play with a little more intensity on that side of the ball.
Gilbert has some solid wide receivers to throw the ball to this season. The leader in catches and yards is wide receiver Mike Davis (7, 104). Along with fellow receiver Malcolm Williams (6, 91) the Longhorns have a very capable passing game.
Running the ball hasn’t seemed to be a problem for the Longhorns so far this season and running the ball may be a good option this Saturday night. Their leading rusher is Foswhitt Whitaker (16, 113, 1 TD). He will start this game and should give the Longhorns a clear edge rushing the football. Backing him up will be Cody Johnson (24, 105, 2 TD).
The Red Raiders defense has been doing pretty well in the past few games and has been creating some turnovers which have lead to points (seven turnovers in two games). The Longhorns, a team that has not been turning the ball over, needs to hold onto the ball and not give the Red Raiders an opportunity to create a turnover and gain good field position.
The Texas Tech defense has been tough on opponents so far this season. They blitz well and they are good at disguising coverages in the secondary. The Longhorns offensive line will be the biggest and best that the Red Raiders have faced so far this season and they should be up for this challenge.
When the Red Raiders have the Ball
Texas Tech has a strong armed quarterback who can get the ball to everyone at almost any point on the field in Taylor Potts. So far this season Potts has thrown 87 passes with 56 completions for 652 yards and seven touchdowns. That’s excellent production early in the season. So what can the Longhorns do to stop them?
Pass pressure. Pass pressure is the key to making most anything work on defense and the Longhorns are going to want to try to keep Potts under pressure during this game. They can do this by using their defensive line and outside linebackers, including the Acho brothers (Sam and Emmanuel) to get some pressure on Potts.
The Red Raiders haven’t faced a secondary like the Longhorns' this season. Texas has one of the best and they are sure to cause problems for the Red Raiders passing game. This unit has a total of two interceptions (both of them are by Keenan Robinson) and could get more against the Red Raiders passing offense.
When it comes to running the ball, the Red Raiders have a group of guys that are pretty even. Their top rusher is Baron Batch (25, 88 2 TD), who can cause problems for the Longhorn’s defense if he isn't properly contained. The Longhorns have been tough against running backs so far this season, so don’t look for the Red Raiders to do a lot on the ground.
Texas Tech’s top receiver so far this season is Lyle Leong (16, 217 5 TD). He is a big threat to the Longhorns pass defense. One thing that the Longhorns may look to do in this case is double team Leong and take him out of the game (so to speak).
Granted, that will leave someone else open, but taking away their top receiver will do a lot in helping control the Red Raiders passing game and keeping them from moving the ball down the field through the air.
This is going to be tough game for both teams. Texas hasn’t faced a team with this much talent this season, and after having started off slow in both their games this season, fans may be concerned that the Longhorns will give the Red Raiders a big lead to start and not be able to catch up.
The key to this game will be how well the Longhorn’s defense plays. If they can put enough pressure on Potts and force him to make mistakes, the Longhorns should be OK. If they allow Potts to throw all over the field and complete a lot of passes, Texas will face their first loss this season.
The Longhorns offense has been running things pretty conservative through two games this season, but you can bet that Mack Brown is going to open things up (he will have to open things up) against the Red Raiders and the Longhorns will score a lot of points. They may have to because the Red Raiders may end up doing the same.
Look for Texas to win this game, but not by much. It could be an offensive showdown with the team scoring last coming out on top.
Texas 35, Texas Tech 32