Texas Tech is a program that we had at, or near, the bottom in just about every one of our position rankings heading into the season. More so, Kliff Kingsbury was a lock to be fired after under-performing in West Texas pretty much since his arrival in 2013.
The first four weeks of the 2017 college football season have changed all of that. The Red Raiders built a 3-0 record including a Power Five win and an in-state road win at Houston last week. As is currently stands, Texas tech is an Oklahoma State win away from returning to the Top 25.
What To Know About The Texas Tech Defense
At the heart of the Red Raider Revival is recharged defense. Tech is seventh in the Big 12 in points allowed with an average of 26.3 per game. Nope, that’s not perfect but consider that they are just thirteen points off from Kansas State, who leads the conference in scoring defense, and most people expected them to be dead last.
Limiting opposing running backs to 3.2 yards per carry, Texas Tech is third in the Big 12 against the run. Linebacker Dakota Allen leads the defensive charge with 27 total tackles. The Red Raiders are allowing just under 120 rushing yards per game.
Against the pass, opposing quarterbacks are completing 64% of their passes. Tech’s defense is seeing an average of 43 pass attempts against them per game and have grabbed four interceptions to just three touchdowns allowed. Those four picks are spread out among four different players, and the Red Raiders have six sacks spread among six players as well. Defensive end Eli Howard leads the defense with 1.5 quarterback sacks.
What To Know About The Texas Tech Offense
As you would expect, the Red Raiders still like to sling the ball around the field. Tech is second in the Big 12 in pass attempts per game (43) and is completing those attempts at a rate of nearly 77% per game. Senior quarterback Nic Shimonek quietly had an impressive first month of the season. He’s thrown for 1248 yards and is averaging 9.98 yards per attempt. Shimonek has found the end zone 11 times through the air and has only thrown one interception.
Junior Keke Coutee is the target of choice, hauling in 28 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns. There’s a significant drop off from Coutee to the next in line where Dylan Cantrell has 14 receptions for 229 yards and two scores.
As a team the Red Raiders are averaging 4.4 yards per rush. Justin Stockton and Tre King are beating that with averages of 6.5 and 8.5 yards per carry respectively. Texas Tech runs the ball an average of 34 times per game and has scored five rushing touchdowns this season.
Defensively Oklahoma State struggled against the balance of TCU’s offense last week. The Red Raiders are top heavy with the pass which should allow for the OSU defense to play with just a little more freedom in pass coverage. The challenge will be to stall the Texas Tech rushing attack without the need of using extra personnel.
Offensively the Pokes only need to overcome themselves to be in position to win. Even with the improvements of the Red Raider defense, the Cowboys will be in position to score. Their ability to protect the football and shore up the right side of the offensive line will be vital to winning in Lubbock.