The Texas Longhorns and Texas Tech Red Raiders meet at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. This was the scene of an instant classic in 2008 between the Longhorns and Red Raiders. In one of the most anticipated games in Texas Tech’s history, the Red Raiders pulled off the upset over No. 1 Texas in a Saturday night thriller under the lights. Graham Harrell connected with Michael Crabtree with a second left on the clock to get the go-ahead score to win 39-33.
There isn’t a fan of either school who forgets that showdown. A lot has changed at Texas Tech since then, and we can say the same for Texas. Texas Tech hasn’t been the same program since Mike Leach was relieved of his duties, and Texas hasn’t been quite as competitive since the Colt McCoy era. Sure, the Red Raiders were exciting during the Patrick Mahomes era, but he had one of the worst defenses in college football history to work with.
And with the Longhorns, they’ve failed to live up to expectations time and time again. The pressure is up tenfold in Austin this season. Sam Ehlinger is a Hesiman hopeful and Tom Herman has no excuses. Herman hauled in a top-3 recruiting class last year. I think that fell through the cracks a bit, but Herman brought in a lot of talent that largely went unnoticed. Only Georgia and Alabama finished ahead of Texas in recruiting.
Ehlinger is a top-5 quarterback in the FBS in 2020. The 21-year-old is playing for a lot this season. There’s the Heisman and team success, along with an NFL contract. Scouts are evaluating Ehlinger closely and there is money on the line for him. So far so good, as he torched an inept UTEP defense.
Yeah it’s UTEP, but Ehlinger did what was expected of him. He passed for 426 yards and 5 touchdowns on 25 for 33 passing. Ehlinger thought the start was disappointing. After what Houston Baptists did versus the Red Raiders’ defense last weekend, I think Texas Tech will strongly disagree after watching tape of Ehlinger in that one. Head below for our free Texas vs. Texas Tech pick for September 26, 2020.
Texas Longhorns vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders NCAAF Week 4 Betting Odds:
Texas Longhorns vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Prediction:
Texas Tech got into a battle against FCS school Houston Baptist. The Red Raiders avoided an upset, as they edged out Houston Baptist by a score of 38-35. Bad openers can happen, but the way Texas Tech handled that game was particularly concerning. Houston Baptist passed for 567 yards and 4 touchdowns on the Texas Tech defense. There were wide receivers free all over the field for Bailey Zappe. They managed to stop the run, but Zappe just beat the Red Raiders over the top, even when they were dropping eight in coverage.
The defensive effort by Texas Tech reminded me a lot of when Patrick Mahomes was a Red Raider. Bad tackling and missed assignments all over the field. Now, partially to blame for that has to be a lack of an offseason program. At least 75 players on Texas Tech have tested positive for the coronavirus since June.
That hasn’t given head coach Matt Wells much of a chance to put everything together. Missed assignments are going to happen when there isn’t ample time to prepare.Texas Tech should show improvements on defense in this game and for future outings. However, they don’t catch a break with Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns on the schedule right after.
Ehlinger was efficient against a bad UTEP defense, and should be able to control the pace of this game with his arm. Instead of calling off the dogs last week, Herman allowed Ehlinger to air the ball out in the second half. He could have easily pulled Ehlinger, but the ball kept going deep. The Longhorns were up 45-3 at the intermission.
That gives me confidence that Herman will let Ehlinger pad the stats for his Heisman campaign if necessary on Saturday. Ehlinger passed for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns against Texas TEch in 2019. The most important thing for the Longhorns is not taking the Red Raiders lightly because of what Houston Baptist did offensively. If that happens and Alan Bowman comes to play, then the Longhorns will be in for a fight.
Running SaRodorick Thompson is scheduled to play after being arrested for street racing this week. The incident dates back to June, with Thompson arrested earlier in the week. He’ll play, but that can’t be good for the focus of this offense. Ultimately, I believe this game will come down to the hand of Bowman. He’s been fine, but the Red Raiders have seen a lot better quarterbacks come through Lubbock in the last 20 years.
Bowman passed for 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on 69.4% passing as a freshman, and then 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions as a sophomore on 65.6% passing. An injury cut his season short, but is hoping for a strong junior campaign. He was adequate against Houston Baptist with 430 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. Bowman completed 38 of 52 passes, which against a FCS defense, isn’t spectacular by any means.
The Longhorns went 8-5 last year, which came a season after Eglinger said “we’re back” following a Sugar Bowl win over Georgia. It was a disappointing season, but there were some good things to take out of the season. A 45-38 loss against LSU early in the season ended up being more impressive than it seemed at the time. I have confidence in Ehlinger leading the Longhorns to a potential Big 12 championship. If that’s the case, then Texas should be able to handle a mediocre Red Raiders team. I foresee a 48-24 win in favor of the Longhorns.