Game Preview – Baylor vs Texas Tech
The Texas Tech Red Raiders face the second straight top five team this week in the Baylor Bears. Here's everything you need to know about the game.
The game is in Arlington at AT&T Stadium (AKA Jerry's World). Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. CT. Texas Tech is the nation's only program to face two top-five nationally ranked opponents in its first five games of the 2015 season.
This game will be the Big 12 opener for Baylor, who is 3-0 with a bye week under their belts.
The game promises to be an exciting one. Both schools rank in the top 10 in total offense, passing offense and scoring offense. They also rank one and two nationally in plays longer than 40 yards.
The two teams met last year in Tech's last game of the season. Tech nearly pulled off the upset, but eventually fell to the Bears 48-46. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes had 598 yards and six touchdowns in the game.
Ian Sadler, Pat Mahomes and Dylan Cantrell are all unknowns for this week. If they all play, Tech has a chance. I don't think they will all play. I'm going to make the rest of these predictions with the assumption that Mahomes will be the starting QB.
Tech will be able to run and pass on Baylor. Rice, SMU and Lamar all had moments of success against a Baylor defense that does not seem as strong as it has been the past three years. If Mahomes is able to run freely, he will be able to get large chunks of yards on the read option with the Bears playing undisciplined defense.
The passing game will once again be prolific, but the difference of the game will be the Texas Tech rushing attack. The Red Raiders need to have at least 30 rushing attempts to set up the passing attack and protect Mahomes' health.
Run and hide.
Last week I discussed the Tech defense's 'bend-but-don't-break' mentality. They did that against TCU and it almost worked. In fact, if it weren't for a tipped ball at the end of the game, the defense would have had a goal line stand for the win. As we all know, that did not happen. This week against Baylor, the mentality will be: 'Just try and get in the way once in a while.'
The Baylor Bears rank no. 1 in the NCAA in total offense, with their yards per game number being more than 100 yards than anyone else. They run for 379 ypg (1st) and pass for 369 ypg (7th). Seth Russell, the Baylor quarterback, has a rating of 218.9.
I don't think the Bears will run for 400 yards against the Red Raiders. Not because of defensive prowess, but because they won't have garbage time at the end of the game.
The defense will make enough stops to keep it close, and if they can get some turnovers the Red Raiders might be in a position to win the game.
I'm going to pick Texas Tech to cover in this game, which is a fancy way of picking them to lose the game. The line is +17 for Tech, and the game has an over/under of 88.5.
The Bears will get to 56 in this one and Tech will break 42. That's an over and a Tech covering the spread for those following along.
You can listen to the Texas Tech-Baylor game on 1340 AM.