The 69th meeting of these two teams takes place the day after Thanksgiving as both the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Texas Longhorns look to end their season on a high note. For Texas Tech, this game does not have any post-season implications, as the Red Raiders are unable to qualify for a bowl with their seven losses. Still, the team in red and black has a chance to upset the Longhorns in Austin, a feat that would mark their third win in a row on Texas’ turf, and give Matt Wells something to brag about heading into the off-season.
Friday’s game has implications for the Longhorns, who would improve their potential bowl placement with a win and end the season above .500 in Big 12 play (currently they are 4-4 in league play) for the third straight season under Tom Herman. The Longhorns entered their 2019 campaign with title hopes, but they’ve really struggled down the stretch as they’ve lost three of their last four – all on the road – and are looking finally rebound at home.
Look for this to be good contest after all of that turkey and stuffing, though, as both of these teams have been in close games all season – four of Texas Tech losses were decided by a possession, and the Longhorns have been in six single possession games. The last four meetings between the Red Raiders and the Longhorns, in addition, have had a margin of victory of 5.5 points.
- When: Fri, Nov 29, 11:00 AM CT
- Where: Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX
- Forecast: 60 Degrees, Thunderstorms
- TV: FOX
- Betting Line: UT -9.5 O/U 63.5
Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-7)
The Red Raiders are coming off another close loss, stop me if you’ve heard that before. Without bowl hopes, I am interested to see if Matt Wells can get the Red Raiders motivated. There are already rumors in the Twittersphere about potential QB transfers (Duffey, Bowman, I have even seen McIvor mentioned), will the players show up for a meaningless game, or will the Red Raiders roll over in Austin?
Wells might have more riding on this game than we realize, a loss will end the season at 4-8 and 2-7 in conference, while an upset win results in a 5-7 season and 3-6 in conference. Neither is ideal, but the latter is at least a little separation from rock bottom in the conference. Who knows what a win and some confidence heading into the offseason can do for current players and recruits on the fence between schools.
Things always get a little weird over Thanksgiving in Austin, I expect nothing less this year.
Texas Tech Keys To The Game
Open Everything Up – Tech has nothing to lose. Fake punts? Surprise onsides? Trick plays? I’m here for it. I would like to see Yost pull out all the stops and have a little fun on offense.
Don’t Give Up Big Plays – Bringing the house on third and long just hasn’t worked late in the season. Tech covered well against Kansas State when Patterson dropped back and played coverage. Patterson needs to change things up, bring pressure sporadically on early downs and let the defense get off the field on third down.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Unfortunately, I don’t think much will change for the Red Raiders this week, I expect the same type of offense from Yost and a back-breaking defensive play at some point in the second half. Tech drops another one-possession game.
Texas Longhorns (6-5)
After almost getting held without a touchdown against the Baylor Bears last week, the Longhorns are reeling offensively and need to rebound on that side of the ball in order to win this game. Texas is currently averaging 30 points per game going into this contest when they were at one point putting up points into the 40s against opponents.
Much of that regression has stemmed from the inability of Texas to run the ball effectively and keep opposing defenses honest. In the seven games where the Longhorns have thrown the ball more than they’ve run it, they are 2-5, with the two wins being against Louisiana Tech and Kansas. That should tell you that despite having a quarterback who will go down as the best passer of this decade, the Longhorns are better when they can establish themselves on the ground.
Getting their running game going will be imperative for Texas, who like to get the ball to this season’s headlining wide receiver Devin Duvernay. The senior already has over 1,000 yards on the year, so look for him to be targeted often. At least, the Longhorns will try to do that if they can keep Ehlinger, who has been sacked more than any other Big 12 quarterback, off the ground.
Texas’ defense has been a work in progress for much of the season, but have actually played some of their best football as 2019 comes to a close. Youth and injuries have played a part in that, but generally the Longhorns have been able to stuff opposing rushing attacks better than stymie them through the air.
Texas Keys To The Game
Pass To Setup The Run – If the Longhorns come out and just try to Texas is 6-1 this season when they average 4.8 yards per carry or more, meaning they’ll have to be successful on the ground in this one. Instead of trying to just run right at the Red Raiders, the Longhorns would be better served throwing against what’s been a vulnerable Texas Tech secondary in order to open up their running game.
Make The Offense March Down The Field – Texas Tech has been at their most dangerous this season when they’ve been able to get some big plays, so if the Longhorns want to give themselves the best chance defensively, they need to make Jett Duffey and the Red Raiders offense march down the field a few yards at a time. That will give the Longhorns their best opportunity to force a third down where they can try and make some stops.
Frankly, I’m not sure what it is about these two teams that the visitor has been able to win the last five. As with any streak like that, I tend to think it’s got to end at some point, it’s just a matter of when. This year, there’s not a lot that separates either team, and it’s difficult for me to see how the Longhorns cover that 10 points that they’re currently favored to win this game by. Still, I will say that Texas is able to break this streak by making one or two more plays than Texas Tech, who I think will cover that two possession spread.