Texas wins if… it exploits the weakness of the Texas Tech defense. The Red Raiders defense is ranked No. 87 against the run, giving up an average of 297 yards on the ground during their current four-game losing streak. Before the disaster against Oklahoma State, the Longhorns offense had found a bit an identity, steamrolling their opponents on the ground and reeling off six straight wins. With Jonathan Gray sidelined to an Achilles injury,
Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and the offensive line are going to have to shoulder the load Thanksgiving night. A dose of freshman backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes could also help give the Longhorns an advantage. A few series from him early in the game to get a solid zone-read attack set up could be a weapon the Texas Tech defense has no answer for, similar to the way Kansas State deployed Daniel Sams and John Hubert against the Red Raiders en route to an emphatic 49-26 victory. If the Longhorns can get creative in setting up their rushing attack and get Brown and Bergeron up and running, they should be able to extend their current winning streak over the Red Raiders to five games.
Texas loses if… the defense doesn’t tackle well. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is explosive, ranking No. 13 in the country in total offense while averaging 37.5 points per game. They are capable of beating you over the top with their athletes, such as tight end Jace Amaro and wide receiver Eric Ward, but they will also lull a defense to sleep, dinking and dunking their way down the field. The Longhorns defense cannot let a seven-yard completion turn into a 60-yard completion if they want Thursday night to go according to plan. With the current situation on the offensive side of the ball, the Longhorns will have to win a grind-it-out type football game, not engage in a high-flying shootout. Texas loses if they can’t generate a pass rush and don’t tackle soundly on defense, which would represent the fourth straight loss the Longhorns have had on senior night.