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2019 Season

Preview: Texas Tech Hosts TCU for Potential Bowl Spot

Red Raiders and Horned Frogs look to take control of Big 12’s 7th Bowl Spot.

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Getty Images - Ronald Martinez

Since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012, these two teams have met seven times resulting in some serious fireworks (literally). Texas Tech leads the Big 12 series 4-3, four of those games being decided by only three points, and one 82-27 beat down in 2014 where TCU ran out of fireworks in Fort Worth.

The following year, the number 3 ranked Horned Frogs traveled to Lubbock, pulling out a last-second thriller of a victory after Aaron Green ran under a tipped pass in the endzone with 23 seconds to play. The 55-52 Tech loss still haunts my dreams, I can relive that play from the student section like it was yesterday.

This meeting has far less intrigue nationally, but the team that comes out on top will be in the driver’s seat to make a bowl game as the 7th and (most likely) final team from the conference. Texas Tech is coming off a decisive victory in the “Battle for the Basement” against West Virginia and TCU lost a heartbreaker in triple overtime in the “Revivalry” against Baylor.

Game Details

  • When: Sat, Nov 16, 11:00 AM CT
  • Where: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
  • Forecast: High of 64, Mostly Cloudy
  • TV/Stream: ESPN 2/WatchEPSN
  • Betting Line: TCU -3.0 O/U 55.5

TCU Horned Frogs (4-5)

Entering this game, the Horned Frogs are coming off a strong defensive performance that saw them hold the Baylor Bears to nine points in regulation before giving up 20 points through three overtimes. Right now, TCU leads the Big 12 in total defense, giving up a mere 320.7 yards per game to opposing offenses. Despite allowing so few yards, however, the Horned Frogs have been prone to give up plays that lead to touchdowns, and TCU is allowing just around 26 points per contest.

True freshman quarterback Max Duggan helms the offense. He’s had an up-and-down year, as you would expect from any first year player, but has definitely shown some play-making ability. TCU likes to rely on their running game primarily in order to try and move the ball, and running back Darius Anderson, who’s averaging six yards per carry, is one of the best in the league.

Sufficed to say, TCU’s passing game is one of the primary weak spots on this team. That was especially true against Baylor last week, where there were multiple drops among Horned Frog wideouts that would have led to touchdowns. In a game that ends 9-9 in regulation, that is certainly a big deal.

TCU Keys To The Game

Commit To The Run Game: This is the type of game where TCU should be able to rely on their defense to travel with them on the road. They need to vary up their run game, and stick to it from the opening gun. That will help them control time of possession and slow the game down, something will help keep the crowd out of the game.

Win Turnover Margin: This should be absolutely key for the Horned Frogs to get the victory in Lubbock. Against Baylor, they were able to get takeaways, which is something that TCU doesn’t always do well, but they also gave it away as well. That can’t happen this week, and the Horned Frogs need to make sure they do give Texas Tech any advantages here.

Prediction

Texas Tech is always a salty team at home, and they’ve had some of their best performances this season in Lubbock. Both teams will be fighting for bowl eligibility in this one, and I do not think that there is much separating this two teams in terms of their level of on-the-field play. That would normally tempt me to go with the home team, but I do believe that the Horned Frog defense is ready to hit its stride at the end of the season. This will be another low scoring affair, but I think TCU wins by a field goal.


Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-5)

Matt Wells got a much-needed win in Morgantown last week, but a quick start on offense masked recurring issues on both sides of the ball. Over the last two games, the Texas Tech defense has given up 498 passing yards to Austin Kendall/Seth Doege and 415 yards to Carter Stanley. Those are a couple of names that weren’t included in the “Best QBs of the Big 12” discussion at the beginning of the year, but they racked up the yards against our suffering secondary.

On the other side of the ball, the offense has started quickly, getting out to a 17-0 lead at Kansas and a 35-10 lead against West Virginia. From there, the offense has seemed to sputter, whether it is halftime adjustments by the opponent or a conservative approach with the lead, the trend is a little concerning.

For Wells’ first season and a loss to Kansas, the Red Raiders are in a position to actually make this season a success. A win against TCU and knocking off either Kansas State or Texas would land Texas Tech in a bowl game and a 4-5 conference record. This would match the most conference wins under the Kliff Kingsbury era, who never topped the .500 mark. Of course, if Tech drops the final three games, they are left with a 2-7 conference record and a lot of people questioning the coaching staff.

One positive for Texas Tech is all the rostered quarterbacks are now healthy and cleared to play. I would expect Duffey to continue to start, which, in my opinion, he has earned this season. The official plan is for Alan Bowman and Maverick McIvor to both redshirt this season which leaves Bowman the ability to play in one more game and McIvor the chance to play in all three while saving the year of eligibility. If Duffey struggles down the stretch, expect to see McIvor get some reps.

Texas Tech Keys To The Game

Force Turnovers – The defense is suspect against the passing game, but has succeeded in forcing turnovers. TCU freshmen Max Duggan threw three interceptions against Baylor last week which plays into Keith Patterson’s aggressive scheme. Winning the turnover margin will be the key to the game.

Stay on the Gas – The playbook was finally opened up against West Virginia and the Red Raiders had success. Against TCU, the offense will need to keep pressure on the TCU defense and not go conservative and allow easy second-half stops.

Prediction

TCU is a road favorite in this one, but Max Duggan is nursing an injury on his throwing hand that looked to bother him last week. This is a big game for bowl eligibility purposes, I expect Gary Patterson to have the TCU defense ready for the Red Raiders. Texas Tech will force a turnover or two but will come up short on offense and drop this one at home to the Horned Frogs.

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