The Daily Texan spoke to Max Hengst, sports editor of The Daily Toreador.
The Daily Texan: Every year, no matter where the teams are, (this game is) always pretty close. What do you see from this Texas Tech team that has allowed them to play close games almost every week?
Max Hengst: It's really been (the Texas Tech) defense stepping up this year. I mean, (Tech) lost (its) starting quarterback Alan Bowman, and (they) have Jett Duffey starting now. He’s pretty good, but it seems like … they don't really throw the ball down the field too much. They kind of stick to screens and some short runs, but (the Texas Tech) defense has been stepping up. (They’re) leading the Big 12 with (senior linebacker) Jordan Brooks with total tackles, and then (senior defensive back) Douglas Coleman III leading the nation in interceptions. … I think it’s really going to come down to if (Texas gets) big plays on third down, or even big plays in general, because (Tech) tends not to really give up too much. But there's a couple of drives where they'll just give up like 40-yard plays, and it kind of kills them.
DT: This Tech defense that is able to make big plays and get some stops when they need to. How do you think they match up with a Texas offense that has really struggled the last few weeks?
MH: It's an away game in Austin, and (Tech has) only won one away game this season. So I feel like that might actually play a huge factor into the game, especially with UT-Austin having such a big stadium with tens of thousands of people, no matter how good or bad they're doing. So hopefully they just have the right mindset. I'm a little worried, it could go for them or against them, but since (Tech) just lost (Saturday they’re) not eligible for a bowl game. So I'm hoping that they don't give up on themselves. On the other side — this is officially the last game of the season, so they could have more motivation in a way.
DT: You talked about not being able to win on the road. What is it about this Tech team this year that has caused that?
MH: I think it could be a couple of things. (Tech does) have a new head coach. At the beginning when he first came here, he pretty much told the media, “We're doing a completely new offensive defensive scheme so it's like everyone's still learning to play.” ... (Tech has) had really slow starts at the beginning of games and end up heating up in the second half, so I feel like that plays a big factor. They can come back, but if you don't have a good start there’s really not too much you can do when you're down by three touchdowns.
DT: As far as Jett Duffey at the quarterback position. What problems does he present for defenses, specifically as a guy that can be a mobile quarterback?
MH: I think that's probably the biggest threat is how he's able to scramble and run the ball. There have been several games where he leads the team in rushing yards. Two games ago against TCU, even (Saturday), you'll probably see that against Texas too. … You'll see a player like, “Oh, that's a sack,” or “That's a tackle for loss,” and somehow he ends up getting 15 yards out of it, which is crazy. I've never really seen anything like it.