Texas Tech, TCU at crossroads ahead of matchup
Through six up-and-down weeks, Texas Tech and TCU have alternated taking some lumps with showing some positive signs.
Now the two middle-of-the-road Big 12 teams collide with both standing at a crossroads in terms of clinging to bowl game hopes once this strange, pandemic-affected season reaches the finish line.
The Red Raiders (2-4, 1-4) head to Fort Worth to take on the Horned Frogs (2-3, 2-3) on Saturday afternoon at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
One team will round the corner with some momentum against a manageable schedule. The other could be left searching for motivation.
“We’re always playing for this year,” said Texas Tech coach Matt Wells, whose team absorbed a humbling 62-28 loss to then-No. 24 Oklahoma last Saturday.
“You’re looking for the future, but you’re also coaching for the right now and you’re recruiting for the right now and there’s a balance of that.”
For the Red Raiders, the “right now” is a final four-week stretch with three games against teams that currently have losing records — Saturday at TCU, Nov. 14 against Baylor and Dec. 5 against Kansas.
Tech had seemingly taken a big step in the right direction with a 34-27 victory against West Virginia. A promising start versus the Sooners quickly unraveled, though, as OU peppered the Raiders with 48 first-half points and finished with 559 total yards. Texas Tech turned the ball over three times, allowed two sacks and never got back in sync as the Sooners rocked and rolled.
“We started out the way we wanted to with a well-executed first drive, but it just went down from there,” Wells said. “Three turnovers in the red zone, those were self-inflicted. Coming off of that, we did not play well on the defensive side and that was a credit to them. We dug ourselves way too big of a hole in the second quarter.”
TCU encountered a different wave of emotions on the way to a 33-23 triumph against Baylor. The Frogs gashed the Bears’ defense for a season-best 247 rushing yards en route to constructing a 30-0 lead. TCU has topped 200 yards rushing in both victories this season.
Quarterback Max Duggan credited the Frogs’ offensive line for the kind of grind-it-out performance the team may have to rely on against the Red Raiders.
“Our O-line battled,” Duggan said. “They’ve been through a lot and I know a lot of people say a lot of things about them. But we’ve got a lot of guys up there who are warriors and they worked really, really hard. … They did a phenomenal job.”
Added TCU coach Gary Patterson, “This last week we talked about getting better at running the football and we did that. We just need to put both of those together up front offensively. If you can run the football, it opens up the passing game. We’ve got to be able to do that.”
Especially this week facing a Texas Tech defense that is dead last in the Big 12 in pass defense, allowing 339.2 yards a game. Duggan is third in the league in completion percentage (68.1 percent) and has thrown only one interception in 138 attempts.
–Field Level Media