Game Preview: Tarleton State Texans vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

A bit late.

The Lede

Texas Tech Red Raiders (0-2, 0-0)
Tarleton State Texans (2-0, 0-0)
September 15th @ 6:00 p.m.
Jones AT&T Stadium | Lubbock, Texas
No Line
83, AM Showers

The Texans

I won’t lie and say I’ve watched or studied much, if any, Tarleton State football other than 10 minutes of highlights. TSU is in the purple jerseys. The Texans are a spread team with a quarterback that does a good job of recognizing single and double coverage as well as some running backs with some speed. They did a good job on defense, but do look small (in comparison to other football teams).

The Red Raiders

I’m still not sure what Texas Tech is, I feel that Texas Tech is between a team that is an offensive juggernaut with a flair for passing the ball deep with their huge wideouts and shifty inside receivers all the while having the ability to pound the ball offensively? Or a defense that is stingy when it matters, full of sure-tacklers that takes the ball away from opponents.

I’m just not sure. I am usually pretty patient when it comes to the quarterback position and I know that head coach Joey McGuire said that Texas Tech isn’t losing games because of the quarterback position, but it isn’t winning any because of that position either. And I feel bad for Tyler Shough, earlier this week he posted the Man in the Arena quote, which is basically an attempt to force-field himself and if you’re not willing to play, then you have no room to criticize and that’s not how this works. You don’t get to insulate yourself from criticism because we (i.e. fans) don’t play. That doesn’t work here, it doesn’t work in the pros, and it just doesn’t work elsewhere.

Texas Tech hopes to have Dennis Wilburn back at right guard and safety C.J. Baskerville as well. Questionable is Tyler Owens and hopeful are running back Cam’Ron Valdez and defensive end Joseph Adedire.

After the Wyoming game, I wrote something to the effect of when you have a top 10 NFL Draft type of talent, don’t let anyone tell you that this is easy to replace and Don Williams has written something similar, advising that the two new edge rushers aren’t Tyree Wilson as it simply hasn’t been accurate:

So I feel bad for Myles Cole and Steve Linton, who were built up in the offseason to an irresponsible degree. Texas Tech led the Big 12 in sacks last season. Through two games this year, the Red Raiders are 0-2 with three sacks, none from defensive edge players. Tech has two quarterback hurries, none from edge players.

“That’s our challenge to both of them,” defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter said Monday. “Both of them, we believe, have a lot of talent. They’re playing well within the scheme, but they’re not productive enough, and in our defense, our edges, our Star (field safety/outside linebacker), those players have to make a lot of plays for us to be as good as we should be on defense.

“I think both those guys are probably a little bit disappointed in their production. It’s something we work on every week, in their fundamentals of get-off, pass rush, (counter moves), things where they can make plays and we anticipate that, with more reps, they’ll get better at that.”

On the other hand, it appears that linebacker Ben Roberts has done well as he was forced into duty because of the injury of Jacob Rodriguez:

“I was a little nervous (starting against Oregon), because yeah, I missed 15 practices,” he said. “I didn’t have very many under my belt, but I trusted the process. I prepared like I was the starter for both weeks, Wyoming and this game, so I was prepared.”

Roberts played 70 snaps and graded 84 by the coaching staff.

“I was really happy with the way Ben played,” defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter said. “It was his first time getting a lot of significant snaps against a really explosive, highly talented offense. The game seemed to slow down for him. He was really productive, did a nice job communicating and kind of confirmed in our minds why we think so highly of him.”


There are no advanced stats for Tarleton State, but what I decided to do was to take what I thought were last week’s stats and compare with this week. There is a caveat, which is that I am 99.9% sure I saved my spreadsheet that I work off of last week, but can’t be certain because my computer automatically restarted on Wednesday night. What I can say with 100% accuracy is that the “This Week” numbers are accurate.

Advanced Stats Last Week This Week
ESPN FPI 31 32
FEI Rank: 48 48
Sharp FB Beta-Rank 37 28
Kelly Ford 34 35
Offense Last Week This Week
FEI 49 45
Sharp FB 47 35
Drive Efficiency 51 13
Explosive Drives 40 58
Play Efficiency 20 69
Negative Drives 89 62
Effective Rush 109 82
Effective Pass 20 20
Defense Last Week This Week
FEI 20 68
Sharp FB 53 18
Drive Efficiency 85 6
Explosive Drives 6 31
Play Efficiency 8 94
Negative Drives 109 55
Effective Rush 68 27
Effective Pass 48 12

Odds and Ends

The uniforms are outstanding, just about everything is perfect, from the original double-t to the gray facemask and the color combination. A++

One of the things that I sort of forgot about, but have remembered now is that with Oregon’s final drive, I can’t say that this happened every play, but for a large portion of Oregon’s 4 minute or so drive, they employed 3 tight ends and just sort of imposed their will on the Texas Tech defense. It was sort of inevitable watching and knowing what was going to happen.

Just to remind you, next Saturday I’ll be running in a 50k in Jacksboro on Saturday morning and hope that I can be done by game-time at 2:30 for the West Virginia game. The weather at least looks better than it has been, low of 70ish and high of 90ish, which is better than a week ago where we were still hitting 110+. I feel both over-trained and under-trained all at the same time, I haven’t had time to get in really long runs of 20+ miles, but over the past 5 weeks I’ve been able to get in 40 to 46 mile weeks. I’ve also never run an entire 50k, usually walking the uphills, but this is a pretty flat course, only 1,400 feet of gain and loss and so I’m going to try to run the entire thing.

The Deion Sanders thing at Colorado almost seems like performative wrestling at this point, with different coaches playing the part of heel or villain and all seems a bit contrived. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fun, but it’s more fun when I think that it all seems like it’s wrestling, the action is real, but the storylines are contrived.

I follow a lot of running things and one of them is a former forensic accountant named Kofuzi who runs his own YouTube channel now and he went to the World Athletics Championships in Hungary and he’s got footage from some of the event that’s really fun to watch and pretty unique. World class athletes are one of the more amazing things.

Game Prediction

This should be nothing else but a 30 point win. I don’t know that there’s a ton else that should happen here other than the defense should dominate up front, but am concerned about whether or not that will happen. Same thing for an offense that I’m not sure what they are.

I’ve railed about the running backs not getting the ball and that will probably change this week. It’s fine that Shough is an effective runner, but there’s something about imposing your will with your running backs that makes the whole “imposing your will” somewhat important. Again, I get taking advantage of what the defense gives you, but at some point you need to be who you are and the other team has to adjust to you.


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