Here is everything you need to know about the Big 12 showdown in Austin, Texas between the Texas Longhorns and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Date: Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, 7:00 p.m. Central Time, Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadiu
TV: FOX | Tim Brando (PxP), Spencer Tillman (analyst), Holly Sonders (sideline)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network | Brian Jensen (play-by-play), John Harris (analyst), Chris Level (sideline)
Radio: Longhorn IMG Radio Network | Craig Way (play-by-play), Roger Wallace (analyst), and Quan Cosby (sideline)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 132/XM 199
Fun facts: Texas Tech won the last meeting in Austin 48-45 in 2015. But dating back to the start of the series in 1928, Texas Tech has never won consecutive road games against Texas as the Red Raiders are just 6-30 all-time in Austin.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Nic Shimonek, quarterback
Texas is more vulnerable against the run than the pass, so Shimonek needs to bounce back from last week’s letdown against TCU and have a big game. It was by far his worst game of the season, as Shimonek was just 17/33 for 137 yards with zero touchdown passes to one interception.
Dakota Allen, linebacker
Allen will need to lead the front seven in stopping the run, which what Texas wants to do, all day, every day. At least this Texas team. Allen is second on the team with 80 tackles, with 4.5 tackles for loss. But he also can drop back and play the pass, if needed, and has two interceptions on the season.
Sam Ehlinger, quarterback
The depth chart says Ehlinger OR Buechele. Is anyone really buying that after last week’s performance? Ehlinger dominated West Virginia on the ground and through the air. He had 9 carries for 68 yards and finished 12 of 19 for 136 yards with two touchdowns to one interception.
DeShon Elliott, safety
Elliott was named to several midseason All-American lists and has become a leader in the secondary, especially with the suspension of Holton Hill. Elliott has gone three games without an interception, his longest stretch of the season. He should have some opportunities against Tech’s passing attack.
When you get to the final week of the season, motivation matters in these games. Texas clinched its bowl berth with a win last week against West Virginia. Meantime, Texas Tech needs a win to reach a bowl game this season. Plus, Kliff Kingsbury may be coaching for his future in Lubbock. But his Red Raiders did not put together a very inspiring performance against TCU last week in a 27-3 loss. Also, how does Kingsbury coach? Passive or aggressive? He’s been passive far too often this season. And if he’s coaching for his job, just go balls to the wall.
Clayton Hatfield’s missed 23-yard chip shot field goal against TCU completely swung the momentum of the game last week. Does Kingsbury even attempt field goals? He was asked this during the Big 12 teleconference, as The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel cited the Eagles who lost their kicker and went for it on most fourth downs in field goal range and kept going for two-point conversions. If I’m Kingsbury, that’s what I’m doing on Friday. Also, if you know you’re not attempting field goals, you can and will adjust your play calling accordingly. Kingsbury would be wise to do this.
Can Tech get its offense back on track?
As noted above, the Red Raiders were awful on offense last week. If Texas Tech can’t get the passing game going, then it’s going to be a very long night for Texas Tech. The defense is improved over last season, but I don’t see any way they can stop the power run attack of Texas, especially given that UT’s offensive line is getting healthier with the return of Connor Williams.
Texas 31, Texas Tech 17
Texas has been on a roll as of late and quietly has won three of its past four games. Meantime, Tech is stumbling to the finish line and does not appear to have any kind of fire in its belly. Tech is not going to be able to slow down Longhorns rushing attack and the UT secondary will have no problem reading Nic Shimonek. Davante Davis, who replaced the suspended Holton Hill, looked much improved last week against West Virginia after a shaky game against Kansas. Texas goes into bowl season on a roll and wins this game, while Tech ends the season 5-7.