Opponents to watch: Anderson, Jeffers lead way for Texas Tech

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Elise Bressler/Texas Tech Athletics

The Texas football team will travel to Lubbock this weekend to face Texas Tech at the Jones AT&T Stadium. With the current pandemic, the Red Raiders will not have their trademark home-field advantage. Judging from Texas Tech’s first game this season, an uninspiring 35-33 win over Houston Baptist, the team may have needed the extra boost from the crowd. 

Here are four Red Raiders players to watch for Saturday: 

No. 10 Alan Bowman — Quarterback
Just two years ago, Alan Bowman was regarded as one of the top freshman quarterbacks in the nation after being named as an honorable mention for the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. Since the end of the 2018 season, however, the injury bug has limited Bowman’s production. After playing in only eight games as a freshman before a collapsed lung ended his season, Bowman started only three games in his sophomore season before a shoulder injury forced him to redshirt. Now a redshirt sophomore, Bowman is poised for a breakout campaign in 2020 if he can stay healthy, many college football pundits say. 

No. 56 Jack Anderson — Right guard
A freshman All-American in 2017 and an All-Big 12 second team pick in 2018, Jack Anderson was well on his way to leaving for the NFL after three seasons before a shoulder injury abruptly ended his junior year. Now, as a redshirt junior, Anderson has expectations for another stellar year after being named to the 2020 All-Big 12 Preseason Team. The right guard out of Frisco, Texas, has lived up to the hype that surrounded him coming out of high school as one of the highest-rated recruits to ever sign with the Red Raiders. Anderson anchors an offensive line that will be charged with protecting quarterback Alan Bowman in Tech’s signature Air Raid offense. Anderson has the ability to stave off a Texas pass rush that accounted for eight tackles for loss in the Longhorns’ season-opening win over UT-El Paso.

 

No. 6 Riko Jeffers — Linebacker
Senior linebacker Riko Jeffers is the leader of the Red Raiders’ defense. In the season-opening win against Houston Baptist, Jeffers flew around the field and accounted for nine total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. A 2019 honorable mention All-Big 12 player, Jeffers will be tasked with filling the shoes of departed linebacker Jordyn Brooks, a first-round NFL Draft Pick for the Seattle Seahawks. The linebacker out of Garland, Texas, is looking to continue developing his leadership qualities after being named to the team captains circle as a junior. At 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 235 pounds, Jeffers has the physicality to rush the quarterback or drop back in coverage on slot receivers and tight ends. He will be tasked with trying to limit a Texas rush offense that poses a triple-headed threat in running backs junior Keaontay Ingram, sophomore Roschon Johnson and freshman Bijan Robinson.

No. 53 Eli Howard — Defensive Line
A redshirt senior out of San Angelo, Texas, Eli Howard enters 2020 with 30 career starts on the defensive line. Last season, Howard was the first Texas Tech defensive lineman to earn All-Big 12 honors since 2013. The defensive lineman has 19 career tackles for loss and was a preseason All-Big 12 pick for 2020. With a chunk of proven pass rushers gone from last year’s squad, Howard is being asked to step into an even greater role this season. He will need to provide consistent pressure to rush Texas senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger into throws that open up opportunities for the Texas Tech secondary on Saturday.