Red Raiders to Watch

Matt Warden

Seth Doege: The Big 12 may be ruled by big names like Geno Smith and Collin Klein, but there’s a quarterback in Lubbock making big waves. Seth Doege has compiled top-tier numbers through nine weeks of the season. He has passed for 2,540 yards and 30 touchdowns to only eight interceptions. Completing an impressive 70 percent of his passes has made Doege a consistently reliable captain for the No. 3 passing attack in the country. As a senior, Doege makes up for his 5-foot-11 frame with excellent experience. Doege has passed for over 200 yards and compiled at least a 120 passer rating in all but one game this season. His statistics are proof that despite his team’s disappointing performances against Oklahoma and Kansas State, Doege can hurt just about any defense with his arm. The Longhorns should look to pressure Doege and add to his sack total — which stands at 11 so far — if they want to slow down this prolific offense.

Eric Ward: The leading receiver for the solid Tech offense is junior Eric Ward. Ward has caught 41 passes for a team leading 517 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. He is coming off his best performance against No. 2 Kansas State in which he caught 11 passes for 161 yards. Ward should be a dangerous option for Doege to look for after coming off a career day against the best team in the Big 12. Ward is an average-sized receiver at 6-foot-1, 204 pounds, but his 12.6 yards per catch indicate that he has elite speed. Texas continued to have problems tackling even against a vastly inferior Kansas team and Ward could create many of the same problems.

Darrin Moore: The senior is the second leading receiver on this Red Raider offense, having amassed 440 yards and eight touchdowns with a team-leading 43 catches on the season. Moore is not the first option in the passing game, but his size seems intriguing given what Texas’ game plan will likely be in this game. The Longhorns have had problems tackling and stopping big plays and will look to marginalize the speed of Texas Tech’s receivers to slow them down. Moore is a guy who stands a tall 6-foot-4 which makes him a matchup nightmare for the small Texas defensive backs. Moore is averaging 10 yards per reception which shows he can pick up yards after the catch. If the Red Raiders can establish their passing attack early on, look for Moore to show up big especially in the red zone. Wearing down their speed will leave open long passes down the field for Moore to go up and get over smaller defenders.

Cody Davis: Although Texas Tech is known mostly for its offense, players like Cody Davis bring recognition to the defensive unit of the Red Raiders. The senior safety is clearly the leader of this defense as he currently leads the team with 64 tackles and three interceptions. These numbers demonstrate his ability to wrap up ball-carriers in addition to covering receivers when needed. At 6-foot-2, 202 pounds Davis is a bigger safety who can make things hard for the speedy receivers of the Longhorns. If Texas is looking to establish its offense on the ground or through the air, Davis is a guy who must be accounted for in both scenarios. 

Kerry Hyder: Texas is a team with perhaps the best defensive line core in the country and all eyes are on them every game. A man on the Texas Tech defensive line should have at least one eye kept on him at all times in this game however, Kerry Hyder passes the eye test, coming in at 6-foot-2, 281 pounds. He is a big defensive tackle who plugs up the running lanes well and causes trouble for quarterbacks when he gets into the backfield. The junior leads the team with four sacks and nine and a half tackles for loss this season. The Longhorns garner much of their success from their solid running game, so Hyder should be a guy they need to keep out of the backfield. With the quarterback situation a bit unclear for Texas at the moment, Hyder could complicate things even more with the pressure he will bring. Texas needs to keep its eyes upon him at all times.