Big 12 Previews

TCU vs. Texas Tech: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Texas Christian

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our TCU vs. Texas Tech preview and prediction.

Game Info

2:30 p.m. CST; Saturday, November 7th, 2020; Amon G. Carter Stadium; Fort Worth, TX

TV: FOX Sports 1 (Eric Collins, Ben Leber)

Radio: WBAP 820 (Brian Estridge, John Denton); Texas Tech Sports Network (Brian Jensen, John Harris); Sirius 135, XM 389

Spread: TCU -9

Fun Fact: Four of the last five meetings between the two schools have come down to the wire with only three points or less as the margin of victory, including a pair of Tech victories in Fort Worth in 2016 and 2018.

 

Key Players

Texas Tech Red Raiders

QB Henry Colombi

His second-career start didn’t go as well as his first in a win over WVU. Tech was blown out by OU last week and Colombi struggled going 15/28 for 227 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and only 8 rushing yards on seven carries. Colombi got the starting role because of his mobility that Alan Bowman lacked, but he couldn’t get it going against OU. Colombi needs to get back on track for Tech to get back in the win column.

LB Riko Jeffers

Normally I’d put in Krishon Merriweather, who is the team’s leader in tackles per game. But he missed last week’s game against OU (inactive) and it’s not clear on his status right now. So that puts more pressure on the linebackers, including the veteran Jeffers, to step up and stop the TCU running game, but also needed to watch the mobile QB Max Duggan and also possibly handle pass coverage. Jeffers has 41 tackles on the season with .5 sacks.

TCU Horned Frogs

RB Darwin Barlow

Barlow had a break out performance last week with a team-high 16 carries for 117 yards and one touchdown. Barlow redshirted last season. He was a former four-star prospect in the Class of 2019 who was ranked as the No. 4 running back in Texas and a top-30 running back in the country. While five-star freshman RB Zach Evans is getting more attention and reps, it’s Barlow who might be the lead back right now.

LB Garrett Wallow

He’s the leader of the defense that hasn’t been up to Gary Patterson’s standards this year. Wallow ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 8.2 tackles per game, along with one sack on the season. Against Baylor last week he had five tackles, which snapped his two-game streak of double-digit tackles in a game. Wallow led the Big 12 with 125 tackles last season and was a First-Team Big 12 selection.

 

Key Storylines

Texas Tech Red Raiders

The Red Raiders need to do something that you usually wouldn’t expect a team to want to do against TCU: run the ball. And many probably don’t realize, Texas Tech is second in the Big 12 Conference with 4.6 yards per carry, while TCU is giving up 4.6 yards per carry, which is the second-worst mark in the Big 12. That is highly unusual for Gary Patterson. And as noted above, Henry Colombi has the ability to run the ball in a way Alan Bowman could not and that will need to show up on Saturday.

TCU Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs need to step it up in the passing game. TCU ranks seventh in the Big 12 in passing game efficiency, but they can break out against a Texas Tech team that ranks ninth in the Big 12 in pass defense efficiency and is giving up the most passing yards per game. While the running game is how Gary Patterson wants to get the offense going (see above), Max Duggan opening up the field will help Barlow and Evans on the ground.

Prediction

TCU 30, Texas Tech 27

As was pointed out in our “fun fact” these teams play close games lately. Four of the last five match ups have been decided by three points or less. I see this one going that way as well, but ultimately Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs will hold off the Red Raiders in the fourth quarter with a big stop. Tech will give up a couple of big plays on defense that will prove to be the difference in this game.

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