Matchups: Texas Tech

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QB

Advantage: Texas

Sophomore Tyrone Swoopes did not even reach 150 total yards, and he tried too often to use his cannon of an arm to squeeze passes into nonexistent windows. An atrocious Red Raider defense could be just what the doctor ordered for the talented but inconsistent sophomore.

Red Raider sophomore quarterback Davis Webb leads the 10th-best passing offense in the country, but his status is up in the air for Saturday after suffering an ankle injury against TCU. Backup freshman quarterback Patrick Mahomes was shaky in relief, completing just 5-of-11 passes. A healthy Webb swings this matchup in Tech’s favor.

RB

Advantage: Texas Tech

Junior DeAndre Washington and his 5.6 yards per carry average bring balance to the Red Raiders’ pass-happy offense. His running mate, freshman Justin Stockton, thrives on big plays and has already turned in rushes of 75 and 69 yards to complement his five total touchdowns.

Another week has passed, and neither junior Johnathan Gray nor senior Malcolm Brown has rushed for 100 yards in a game this season. Texas Tech has one of the worst run defenses in the country, but Texas’ backfield duo has not been consistent enough to guarantee
success Saturday.

WR

Advantage: Texas

This unit is loaded with veteran talent, including breakout senior John Harris, but its results depend on a sporadic Swoopes to make the correct reads and deliver accurate passes. Junior Marcus Johnson got open on some deep routes against Kansas State but had little to show for it in the box score. 

Junior Jakeem Grant has benefited most from the Texas Tech’s air-raid attack, hauling in a team-leading 52 receptions for 699 yards and five touchdowns. He and senior Bradley Marquez will look to stretch out a struggling Longhorn
secondary. 

OL

Advantage: Texas Tech

The Red Raider offensive line has been stellar this season, allowing only seven sacks and run blocking for a 5.2 yards per carry average. Junior tackle Le’Raven Clark helps anchor this experienced unit and will be making his 35th consecutive start Saturday.

The revolving door keeps on spinning for the Texas offensive line and rightly so. The Longhorns rushed for only 3.3 yards per carry against Kansas State, and, as a result, redshirt freshman Darius James is expected to take the place of struggling sophomore tackle Camrhon Hughes.

DL

Advantage: Texas

The Longhorns have been showing a lot of three-man fronts recently, but that has not diminished the pass rush. Sophomore defensive end Caleb Bluiett is spending an increasing amount of time in the backfield, and the defensive tackles have played brilliantly.

The Red Raider defensive line has only registered four sacks on the season, but this can be overlooked if the run defense does its job. It hasn’t. Opponents have romped for 246.1 rushing yards per game — the eighth highest figure in the nation.  

LB

Advantage: Texas

The Texas linebackers keep improving as the season goes on. They have performed admirably against some of the best rushing attacks in the nation, and seniors Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond have combined for six sacks on the season.

If there is a strength to be found in the Texas Tech defense, it is the linebackers — Pete Robertson to be specific. The junior has wreaked havoc against the run and the pass, and he has accrued a team-leading 58 tackles to complement his eight sacks, which are also a team high.

DB

Advantage: Texas 

The defensive backs looked like the pride of the Longhorn defense early in the season, but they have struggled in their last two contests, and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford still insists on playing his best cover corner, senior Quandre Diggs, as a nickelback.

The Longhorn secondary has struggled in recent weeks, but Texas Tech’s has been historically awful. The Red Raiders just conceded 480 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns in an 82-27 collapse at the hands of TCU.

ST

Advantage: Texas Tech

Jakeem Grant is averaging a solid 24.7 yards per return. Kicking and punting have both been strengths for this team. Junior kicker Taylor Symmank has booted 11 punts inside the 20-yard line, and senior kicker Ryan Bustin has hit on 7-of-8 attempts.

The Longhorns played another game without a terrible special teams gaffe, but their performance was still underwhelming. Senior punter William Russ has been one of the few reliable players for this unit, but he averaged just 37.1 yards per punt against Kansas State.