Game Preview: Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Texas Longhorns

The Lede

Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-5, 5-3)
Texas Longhorns (10-1, 7-1)
November 24th @ 6:30 p.m.
DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium | Austin, Texas
Texas -14
58, Mostly Sunny

The Longhorns

A few years ago, defensive line coach Bo Davis went on a rant about the softness of the team that was taped without his knowledge and that it was maybe the right thing.

Davis’ words came during a tough time, but he said it with his chest because he understands that greatness cannot be born of timidity. Football isn’t for the weak of spirit or the faint of heart. Hell, Davis wasn’t the first coach to lob a few f-bombs at players to motivate them, and if some get their feelings hurt, there’s always the portal or a knitting class.

On that night and in the months that followed, Sarkisian and Davis hoped that one day it would be a player delivering the type of fire-and-brimstone speech after a disappointing loss, and over the past two years, several leaders emerged who did just that.

Roschon Johnson, Bijan Robinson and Keondre Coburn stepped to the front last season, and now we’re seeing it from linebacker Jaylan Ford, Ewers and defensive tackles T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II.

With running back Jonathon Brooks out with an injury, freshman runner CJ Baxter was more than sufficient against Iowa State.

The freshman started in place of the injured Jonathon Brooks in Saturday night’s 26-16 win at Iowa State. He rushed for 117 yards as No. 7 Texas (10-1, 7-1) held on to its first-place standing in the Big 12 with one game left in the regular season. Baxter averaged 5.9 yards over his 20 carries. Eighty-one of his yards came in the second half.

“I think (we saw) what we all know he’s capable of,” Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers said. “It’s cool to see, especially how young he is. Him coming in with the poise and him just being as comfortable as he was and not being too quick on cuts and following blocks and whatnot, it’s cool to see.”

Receiver Xavier Worthy left the Iowa State game early, but should be healthy for Texas Tech.

Junior Xavier Worthy left a 26-16 win at Iowa State this past Saturday with an undisclosed injury in the second half. Texas coach Steve Sarkisian told reporters on Monday, though, that he wasn’t concerned about any of the players who were injured in that game missing any additional playing time.

Offensive lineman DJ Campbell and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders were also on Saturday’s postgame injury report.

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian hopes to send Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark out with a bang on Saturday.

Sarkisian said he and Yormark spoke on Saturday in Ames, Iowa and that Yormark will be in Austin for Friday night’s Texas-Texas Tech game at Royal-Memorial Stadium.

But will Yormark’s presence serve as some sort of motivation? You betcha.

“I hope we put on a heck of a show for him,” Sarkisian added. The Longhorns can clinch a berth in the Big 12 championship game with a win, though they may already be in by kickoff if Oklahoma loses earlier in the day. “I hope when he watches us play, he’s proud because we’re in the Big 12 and that’s our conference right now.”

It is simple for Texas, win and play for the Big 12 title.

“This is a Big 12 championship game,” Sarkisian said on Monday. “We feel like we’ve been playing Big 12 championship games one week after another. We know the value of them. We know the importance of them. You never know how it’s going to shake out. And we just did not want to put ourselves in position where we were relying on other people. And so I don’t feel like in this week that I have to do more than that.”

Texas Tech running back Tahj Brooks and Texas defensive back Jahdae Barron faced off in high school and knows Brooks well.

All these years later, Barron doesn’t hold those losses against Brooks. In fact, Barron said that he and Brooks have a good off-field relationship and they last hung out at a birthday party for the Texas Tech standout’s nephew.

“We have times we have dinner together with family and things like that,” Barron said. “So it’d be good (to stop him on Friday). I go over there to the house when he comes in town, so it’d be good just to have the up on him and stuff like that at the table.”

The Red Raiders

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams asks if Texas is afraid to keep alive the football rivalry.

The Tech-Texas game this coming Friday night will be the last between the two football programs for the foreseeable future with Texas heading off to the Southeastern Conference at the end of the school year.

As the epicenter of college football increasingly narrows to the geography of the SEC and the Big Ten, the Red Raiders need the annual game against UT to drive visibility, the attractiveness of the schedule, ticket sales, credibility in the major polls and recruiting boosts.

Not only games against UT. We’ve focused on Tech’s desire to continuing playing the Longhorns, but playing Texas A&M every year would be even better. Renewing that series, with its evenness, with all its close games and fantastic finishes, would be just as meaningful.

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Nathan Giese writes about Mason Tharp, Behren Morton, Monroe Mills, Charles Robinson, Haydon Wigington, and student assistant Braiden Martin bonding over a hunting trip

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Nathan Giese writes that Texas Tech will be relatively healthy heading into this game with Texas.

Head coach Joey McGuire said Monday receiver Myles Price (shoulder), defensive back Tyler Owens (ankle) and linebacker Bryce Ramirez (neck) should each return to the field after not suiting up against the Knights.

Defensive tackle Jaylon Hutchings (knee) and safety Dadrion Taylor-Demerson (groin) each left Saturday’s game but are expected to be ready to go against the Longhorns.

McGuire said Taylor-Demerson is the closest to being a game-time decision, though he was active during the team’s Sunday workouts.

Offensive lineman Cole Spencer (toe) suited up for Saturday’s 24-23 win over UCF but did not play. McGuire said Spencer will travel to Austin with the team but is unlikely to be used outside of an emergency situation. Spencer is expected to be ready for Texas Tech’s bowl game, whenever that is.

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams answered questions, one of them was where Texas Tech would go bowling.

Force me to make a prediction now, and I’d expect one of the two bowls in the Metroplex — the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 23 in Fort Worth or the First Responder Bowl on Dec. 26 in Dallas — to take the Red Raiders.

Tech’s DFW alumni base, and the routine trip for fans in West Texas, make Tech attractive for those games. The Independence Bowl has had Tech twice, but not recently, so I think their representatives probably would like to have the Red Raiders again on Dec. 16 in Shreveport, Louisiana, but Tech might be off the board before their turn to pick.
The above is assuming Tech loses on Friday at Texas. If the Red Raiders spring an upset, maybe the Liberty Bowl in Memphis or the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix come into play, or even a return engagement with the Texas Bowl.


Texas is a pretty distinct advantage, the Longhorns are clearly the better team.

The Texas defense has been dominant and if you want to know why Texas has done so well this year, it’s the defense. They are better than Texas Tech in almost any metric and not by a little bit, but by a lot. If anything, this game will maybe be close because the offenses won’t go off.

The Texas offense has been better, but the Texas Tech defense and the Texas offense are comparable. This should be a battle and I am wondering if Texas Tech and DeRuyter can delivery yet another strong performance and hold another offense to less than what the stats say that they can do.

Advanced Stats:

Texas Tech Offense vs. Texas Defense:

Texas Tech Defense vs. Texas Offense:

Odds and Ends

At the 25:30 mark, head coach Joey McGuire is asked what he’s thankful for and praises his team for not giving up the fight after a poor start, crediting Tim DeRuyter and the defense and also crediting Zach Kittley and the offense.

The quote is one that you’ve known, which is that McGuire doesn’t run or really like the Air Raid offense and you’ve known that you’re not watching the Air Raid offense.

“As much as I don’t claim to be an Air Raid type offense, I just want to be a tough offense and find ways to win games. Zach Kittley and his staff have found ways to put us in games that really are outside the box in terms of what we thought we were going to be to what we are right now. So I’m thankful for those guys to continue to grow and it comes down to just find ways to win the game and I’m thankful for that.”

I know that this isn’t a revelation to any of you, but if you needed to hear it, it’s there.

We can’t do Thanksgiving without Tony Bradford, Jr., the Mayor, handing out 200 free turkeys to the community. Someone famous once said, you get what you give.

Game Prediction

I don’t like Texas Tech chances, but I like them a lot better with this ball-control type of offense and the defense playing much better. The 14 point spread means that Vegas thinks that this is basically a blowout, but 73% of the money is on Texas Tech. I’ll be brave to think that Texas Tech beats the spread (which went from 12.5 to 14), but Texas to win the game.

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