Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#385 Texas Tech vs.
#386 Texas
Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

It’s a Lone Star State showdown as a pair of Big 12 foes take to the gridiron in search of a victory. The Texas Tech Red Raiders are on the road as they travel within the state to face the Texas Longhorns Saturday afternoon. Texas Tech comes in off a 54-21 home victory over Florida International last Saturday in their most recent game. Texas bounced back from their first loss of the season as they demolished Rice 58-0 at home last Saturday in their previous contest. In the all-time series between the programs, the Longhorns have a commanding 52-17 edge and have won the last three meetings. That includes a wild 63-56 overtime win on the road in the most recent matchup on September 26, 2020.

Texas Tech Red Raiders Seek to Remain Unbeaten

Texas Tech shook off a slow start to bury Florida International at home in their most recent contest to run their record to 3-0 on the season. The Red Raiders now look to open up conference play with a victory as they make the in-state trip to face the Longhorns. Texas Tech trailed 7-0 late in the first quarter before tying the game at seven at the end of one. The Red Raiders broke the game open by outscoring the Golden Panthers 28-7 in the second quarter to take a 35-14 lead at the half and cruised the rest of the way. Texas Tech rolled up a 584-246 advantage in total offense, racked up 31 first downs while giving up 10 and held a 32:26 to 27:34 edge in time of possession. Each team turned the ball over once with the Red Raiders turning their takeaway into a pick-six.

The Red Raiders enter this contest 41st in the nation in passing offense with an average of 270.7 yards per game while they are 63rd in rushing offense by grinding out 170.7 yards per game on the ground. Texas Tech is 26th in the FBS in scoring offense by averaging 40 points per contest while they are 60th in scoring defense by allowing 21.3 points per game. Tyler Shough has completed 55 of 81 passes for 804 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions on the year. Henry Colombi completed his lone pass for eight yards while adding 22 yards plus a score on the ground. Tahj Brooks leads the team in rushing with 35 carries for 284 yards plus four touchdowns. Xavier White (18 carries, 128 yards, TD) is a solid second back in the system. In the passing game, Erik Ezukanma leads the team with 16 receptions for 350 yards and a score. Travis Koontz (10 grabs, 81 yards, two TD) and Kaylon Geiger (nine catches, 132 yards) are next in line. Jonathan Garibay has hit 15 of 16 extra point attempts and three of three field goal tries with a long of 34 on the season.

Texas Tech is a versatile offense that can batter you on the ground or pick you apart through the air. The Red Raiders are fortunate to see Shough establish an early connection with Ezukanma. He has 14 catches for 226 yards and two scores in his two games against Texas and if the Longhorns can’t keep him in check, it could push the Red Raiders to the victory here. Having a variety of weapons on that side of the ball makes Matt Wells’ group a dangerous one, especially after seeing how Arkansas carved up the Longhorns’ defense on the ground.

Texas Longhorns Hope to Start Big 12 Play With Victory

Texas bounced back from a road defeat where they were outclassed by Arkansas by whipping former conference rival Rice at home last week. The Longhorns hope that they can open up conference play with a victory in this contest. Against Rice, Texas jumped to a 16-0 lead after the opening quarter and never looked back. Their lead was 44-0 at the half and 58-0 after three quarters before a scoreless final stanza. Texas piled up a 620-272 edge in total offense, held a 26-14 advantage in first downs and overcame a 30:34 to 29:26 disadvantage in time of possession. Both teams turned the ball over once though Texas did record a safety.

On the year, the Longhorns are 99th in the nation in passing offense as they average 192 yards per game through the air while they are a solid 14th in rushing offense by racking up 245 yards per contest on the ground. Texas is 32nd in the FBS in scoring offense as they average 39 points per game while they are 47th in scoring defense by allowing 19.3 points a contest. Hudson Card was the starter under center when the season began and completed 24 of 39 passes for 314 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was supplanted by Casey Thompson, who is 24 of 31 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and one interception plus 51 yards along with two scores on the ground. The run game is anchored by Bijan Robinson, who has 52 carries for 299 yards and five scores. Roschon Johnson (12 carries, 142 yards, TD), Keilan Robinson (19 carries, 133 yards, TD) and Jonathon Brooks (nine carries, 63 yards, TD) are all dangerous options. Jordan Whittington leads the team with 13 catches for 152 yards plus a score this season. Xavier Worthy (10 grabs, 163 yards, TD) and Robinson (six receptions, 91 yards, TD) are the only other players with more than four catches this season. Cameron Dicker is 13 of 13 on extra-point attempts but just one of three on field goals with a long of 49. Bert Auburn has hit all three extra-point attempts without attempting a field goal thus far.

Texas has been very good with the run game this season but they are going to face a stiff challenge here. Texas Tech is sixth in the nation in rushing defense by allowing 54.3 yards per contest. The Red Raiders surrender only 1.7 yards per carry and they held a good Houston team to 77 yards on 35 carries in the opener. If Texas has the run game bottled up by the Red Raiders, that will put a lot of pressure on Thompson or Card, depending on who is under center for Steve Sarkisian, to shoulder more of the load.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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This is going to be a gut check for Sarkisian and Texas here. While the Longhorns bounced back from getting run over by Arkansas on the road by dispatching Rice with relative ease at home last week, they are facing a stiffer opponent than the Owls in this contest. Texas has to be able to move the ball on the ground in order to keep the pressure off their quarterbacks. That could prove challenging against a Texas Tech defense that is second in the Big 12 with 19 tackles for loss on the year. On the other side, the Longhorns have to find a way to slow the run game of the Red Raiders while keeping Ezukanma in check. These teams have been in close games of late with five of the last six meetings decided by eight points or less, including last year’s overtime clash. Texas may end up with the win at home here but if you’re playing the line, take the points and the Red Raiders here.

Prediction: Texas Tech Red Raiders +7.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Texas Tech has seen totals of 59, 50 and 75 points in their first three games this season. The Red Raiders had seen the under hit in three straight games and five of their previous six before going past the number last week against Florida International. Texas has seen totals of 56, 61 and 58 points in their first three games. The Longhorns have seen the over hit in their last two games and four of their last five entering this one. When these teams meet, fireworks tend to follow. In the last three meetings, we’ve seen 75, 73 and 119 points between the teams, with each going over the total. Look for this one to be a high-scoring affair where the winner cracks the 40-point plateau to push this over the mark.

Prediction: Over 61
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

Chris Kubala has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well. as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.