Saturday, September 2nd; 6:30 PM (CT); Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium; Laramie, Wyoming
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network
2022 Records: Texas Tech 8-5, Wyoming 7-6
Rankings: Neither team is ranked.
Series History: Wyoming leads series, 3-2
Last Meeting: Texas Tech 49, Wyoming 32 (1992)
Spread: Texas Tech (-14)
Fun Fact: These two teams met in the Sun Bowl in 1956 with Wyoming taking down Texas Tech 21-14.
QB TYLER SHOUGH
While Tyler Shough has widely been considered one of the better quarterbacks in the Big 12 Conference, the Arizona native hasn’t been getting the same respect as certain other quarterbacks in the league. Shough has been incredibly effective when on the field, however, there lies Shough’s biggest issue, staying healthy. Shough finished off his 2022 season throwing for 1,304 yards and a touchdown to interception ratio of seven to four. If the 6-foot-5 QB can stay healthy this season, Texas Tech should continue to get the hype it deserves as a dark-horse candidate in the Big 12.
DL JAYLON HUTCHINGS
Texas Tech’s defense has the capability to be the best defense in the league if they can fill a few holes from last season, and that all starts with the leadership of senior defensive lineman Jaylon Hutchings. Hutchings has been getting some serious NFL looks as a member of the same defensive line unit that produced a top 10 pick in DE Tyree Wilson, and while Hutchings won’t be directly tasked with filling in at Wilson’s position, the Red Raiders are going to need to find someone to move the pocket against solid offensive lines. The Big 12 Conference has some of the best interior offensive lineman in the country with Kansas State’s Cooper Beebe and West Virginia’s Zach Frazier, and while Hutchings should have some tough matchups in the near future, he has the ability to be a massive piece of the Red Raiders defense this year.
TE TREYTON WELSH
Here’s the thing about the 2023 Cowboys, the offense won’t be what takes them to a bowl game. The team lost stud running back Titus Swen last year and with an offense in need of some production, Wyoming will look to senior tight end Treyton Welsh. While Welsh didn’t rack up a ton of yards in 2022, he was an absolute threat in the red zone with five touchdowns on the year, averaging 14 yards per catch. With some major question marks at the wide receiver position, the Minnesota native will need to step up big time for Wyoming and try to take advantage of Texas Tech’s linebackers and safeties when possible.
LB EASTON GIBBS
Junior linebacker Easton Gibbs is a scary man in the middle of the field. Gibbs was one of the best linebackers in the Mountain West Conference last season flying sideline-to-sideline racking up a total of 121 tackles in 2022. Gibbs added three sacks on the season and makes up a major part of one of the better defenses in the country. While I do expect Tech’s offense to have the advantage over Wyoming’s defense, Gibbs is a player with the capability to throw a wrench into any play he sees fit, watch out for Easton Gibbs.
Red Raiders, this is your season. It seems like everyone and their brother has been picking the Red Raiders to contend as a dark-horse candidate in the Big 12 and it all starts here. Entering the second season under head coach Joey McGuire, if the squad wants to make it to Jerry World at the end of the season, they have to be flawless in the non-conference schedule. While Wyoming could become a thorn in McGuire’s side if things don’t get off on the right foot, week one provides an opportunity to prove supporters right, and the opportunity to prove doubters everywhere wrong.
This is going to be a battle. The Cowboys defense should have no problem climbing to the top of the MWC this season and when matched up with Texas Tech’s budding offense, sparks are set to fly. I do think that the Red Raiders have a pretty glaring advantage over Wyoming’s offense but if we can see a jump in quarterback play from senior Andrew Peasley, Wyoming could surprise people and make Texas Tech’s coaches sweat a little.
PREDICTION: TEXAS TECH 35, WYOMING 14
The matchup between Texas Tech and Wyoming looks to be one of the better matchups in week one of the college football season, and while it has the potential to become a close game, Joey McGuire isn’t going to let the first game of the season catch him off guard. Tyler Shough will come out dealing early and should put the Cowboys’ secondary in a pinch early. I do believe that the halftime score could look drastically different than the final score as I expect Wyoming to come out with a lot of energy in the first half, but fade back to normalcy in the third quarter. Tech rolls on to 1-0.