Here is everything you need to know about the Red Raiders’ upcoming game in our Texas Tech vs. Houston Preview.
3:15 p.m. Central Time, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas
TV: Fox Sports Net (Joe Davis, Brady Quinn, Bruce Feldman)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network; Sirius 83/XM 83
Fun Fact: Texas Tech and Houston will turn the clocks back Saturday when the two former Southwest Conference foes meet at Jones AT&T Stadium. It will be the fourth meeting between the two schools since the SWC disbanded following the 1995 campaign as the Red Raiders are 2-1 in those games during that stretch.
QB D’Eriq King
King is now fully in control of the offense and has flashed solid dual-threat ability through two games. He’s completing 59% of his passes with 566 passing yards and seven touchdowns to zero interceptions. On the ground, he’s done what’s necessary with 64 rushing yards, but already three rushing touchdowns.
DT Ed Oliver
What more can you say about the former five-star prospect who chose Houston over some of the top programs in the country? He is considered to be in the Heisman conversation and while he’s still looking for his first sack of the season, last season’s Outland Trophy winner already has 18 tackles.
McLane Carter’s status is still uncertain for Saturday’s game after suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 1 vs. Ole Miss. That would leave the offense once again in the hands of true freshman Alan Bowman. He performed admirably in relief against Ole Miss (29/49, 1 TD) and got a nice confidence boost against Lamar (22/25, 2 TD). But Houston is the real deal and it won’t be a cake walk for whoever is at quarterback due to a great Tech D-Line with Oliver, Jerard Carter and TCU transfer Isaiah Chambers.
LB Riko Jeffers
He hasn’t started either game, but he’s done a great job so far leading the team with 13 tackles and three tackles for loss, along with a forced fumble. The sophomore from Garland, Texas is giving the unit even more depth behind Jordyn Brooks and Dakota Allen, which will be needed against Houston’s offense on Saturday.
The Cougars surprised the Arizona Wildcats 45-18 last week behind four passing touchdowns from King and nearly 300 rushing yards. Tech’s defense was vulnerable, as seen Week 1 against Ole Miss, when the Red Raiders gave up over 300 passing yards and 200 rushing yards. Kendal Briles, who helped lead the offense under his dad, Art, at Baylor, and then last season with Lane Kiffin at FAU, is one of the great offensive minds (like his father was) in the sport. If Houston can get on the board early and often and force possibly a true freshman QB in Bowman to try and beat you with his arm and keep up, it could be a long afternoon for the Red Raiders.
Tech needs to go back to old Kliff Kingsbury football and try to sling it around. Arizona got blown out last week, but did throw for 400 yards. Houston has to replace its top two tacklers at linebacker and has some question marks in the secondary. I know Kingsbury is focused more on the running attack this season, like last season, but there is something to be said for trying to take advantage of your opponent’s weakness. Also, whoever is quarterback is going to need great protection by the offensive line against Ed Oliver and Co.
Prediction: Houston 38, Texas Tech 35. Houston isn’t just some Group of 5 school looking for an upset. They’re a legit team and Tech’s win last week over Lamar proved nothing to me. This team has concerns on both sides of the ball and Houston has the defensive line to win the line of scrimmage against TTU’s offensive line, while Kendal Briles will know what he’s facing in a Big 12 defense.
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