Scenarios: Texas Tech

Jillian Kushner

Texas wins if…

The offense can move the ball. One of the biggest hits in the 38-20 loss at West Virginia was losing sophomore running back D’Onta Foreman to injury. He has since undergone surgery on the injured finger, but his status for Thursday’s game against Texas Tech is unknown. Foreman will either be out or will play when he is not 100 percent healthy. Regardless, Texas’ offense needs to find a way to make up for this loss. The Longhorns have a talented running back in senior Johnathan Gray, who ran for 56 of Texas’ 277 rushing yards against West Virginia. Another offensive option is for Texas to throw the ball. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard was 11-for-18 against West Virginia with two interceptions. While these incompletions were the fault of both the quarterback and wide receivers, the receivers dropped too many balls. Texas has a handful of talented receivers on the roster who never touch the field. Texas needs to swap out players if the starting receivers drop balls or appear exhausted. Heard could make some big plays downfield with freshmen receivers Ryan Newsome and DeAndre McNeal, which would make up for Foreman’s absence. The Longhorns don’t need to rely solely on the four receivers they have used all season. Heard and the coaching staff need to focus on the passing game if the running game is not working Thursday.

The defense can make stops. Texas Tech can put up a lot of points in 60 minutes. The Red Raiders scored 52 points in their loss to TCU. Texas Tech put up 66 points gainst Iowa State — the team that shut out the Longhorns. The Red Raiders are the No. 1 pass offense in the Big 12, No. 2 in points per game and No. 3 in yards per game. Texas Tech’s 6-5 record is misleading — this is a better team than it seems on paper. Texas has to stop this fast-moving offense. The Longhorn defense allowed a combined 58 points in the past two games.  Texas Tech put up 59 points against Kansas State last week alone. The Texas defense needs to be aggressive early and constantly throughout the game. This Texas Tech team will tire a defense and use that to its advantage. 

Texas loses if…

It continues to play like it has the last three games. While Texas defeated winless Kansas 59-20, that type of play would result in a loss against most other teams. The 24-0 shut-out loss at Iowa State and the 18-point loss at West Virginia exposed Texas’ weaknesses. If the Longhorns play like they have been, the Red Raiders will target those weaknesses.