Here it comes. As much as it has been downplayed revenge will be on the minds of the Longhorns when Texas Tech visits Austin to face off against Texas on Saturday night.
After the Red Raiders stunning upset of the Longhorns in Lubbock last year, this game has a little more emphasis behind it.
Texas came into last years game ranked number one and looked to be on the road to face the University of Florida for the National Championship, but with eight seconds left one play changed the fate of Tech’s and Texas’ season.
However, that was last year and now Texas finds itself number two in the polls behind Florida and controls their destiny, once again, to the championship game. They return their QB Colt McCoy, leading WR Jordan Shipley and they return their young, but now experience defensive secondary.
Tech, on the other hand, has a completely different story.
Gone is the ranking they had of number seven last year, gone is three year starting QB Graham Harrell and two time All American WR Michael Crabtree and gone is the spotlight that was placed on the Red Raiders.
Not much of a fight is expected this weekend, at least that is what we’re hearing from the pundits in Austin and in the national media, but Mike Leach and company expect a similar outcome to last years thrilling win.
Tech will be starting Taylor Potts at QB in his first road game start of his career, but will welcome back WR Detron Lewis who left the game early last week after sustaining a hamstring injury.
Potts looked to hit his stride in the second half of last Saturday’s game with Rice when he threw five TD passes in the half.
The key for Tech to pull a win out in Austin will be if they can run the ball effectively. Baron Batch and Harrison Jeffers have yet to get it going, but have also had limited chances, only 28 carries in the first two games.
If Batch and Jeffers can keep the ball moving on the ground and make Texas’s defensive coordinator Will Muschamp respect the run, then Potts can throw the deep ball like he wants to.
The Raiders will also be bringing a defense that has eight sacks on the year and forced two turnovers, but will be without the help of DE Rajon Henley who suffered an apparent ankle injury in the game with Rice.
The Raider secondary is young and still very inexperienced, but has shown flashes of what they can bring. Safety Cody Davis will need to play great in space and take away the deep ball or McCoy could have a field day without much pressure.
Texas brings a wealth of talent and experience on both sides of the ball. McCoy is a four year starter that looks to be a top Heisman candidate, Shipley is an All American type WR and Sergio Kindle at linebacker had a monster year one season ago.
The Longhorns will throw the ball at will and McCoy is deadly accurate. Tech will have to do a good job of getting pressure on McCoy and making sure tackles when one of his plethora of receivers makes the grab.
The Texas defense will apply constant pressure to the young Potts and try to confuse him and get him out of rhythm early. Muschamp will send blitzes from every position on the field, he won’t be afraid to use his linebackers or safeties to get Potts on his back.
Texas has said all the right things and downplayed the hype of this game as they come into this game a heavy favorite. It should be noted that Leach has yet to win in Austin so it makes no sense for the Longhorns not to be a favorite.
Texas will run its zone-read offense and try to pressure and confuse Potts whenever they can get past the Tech offensive line. If Texas can play its style of football then the Longhorns should win this game in Austin.
Tech, on the other hand, will try to maintain possession of the football with the run game and take what Muschamp gives them in the pass game. If Potts can keep from being greedy and make the right reads the Raiders will be able to put points on the board.
The defense will need to get pressure on McCoy like they did last year to have any success stopping the Longhorns from controlling the clock and the game. If Tech fails to harass McCoy then Texas can keep Potts off the field where he is least dangerous.
Although many view this game as a possible blowout for the Longhorns, if the Raiders can play the style of football that they showed against Rice then Tech will have a fighting chance in the fourth quarter. We’ll have to see what Saturday night brings, but it should be another great game in this budding rivalry.