Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Oregon Ducks.
Saturday, September 9; 6:00 p.m. CT; Jones AT&T Stadium; Lubbock, Texas
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network (Brian Jensen, John Harris, Chris Level)
Records: Texas Tech (0-1); Oregon (1-0)
Rankings: Texas Tech NR; Oregon No. 15 (AP)
Series History: Oregon leads, 2-0-0
Last Meeting: Oregon 16, Texas Tech 13
Line: Oregon (-6.5)
Fun Fact: Texas Tech starting quarterback Tyler Shough transferred in from Oregon after spending 2019-20 with the Ducks. This will be his first time facing his former team.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
QB TYLER SHOUGH
After suffering a heartbreaking loss at the hands of Wyoming in Week 1, Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough will have to shake off the bad vibes and get back in the saddle to face his former team, who is bringing quite a squad to Lubbock. Last week, Shough suffered the first loss of his career as a starter at Texas Tech, but played very well all things considered, completing 31 of 47 attempts for 338 yards and three scores. His one mistake of the game, a second-quarter pick, did turn into seven points for Wyoming. Oregon’s defense presents a much bigger challenge in Week 2 though, and Shough will need to avoid costly turnovers if Tech is going to pull off the upset.
LB JESIAH PIERRE
LB Jesiah Pierre was expected to become the leader of this defense coming into 2023, and that proved to be the case on Saturday, as he led the Red Raiders with 14 tackles, including 10 solo stops. However, starting linebacker Jacob Rodriguez will now be out for 4-6 weeks, forcing Pierre to play the WILL LB spot going forward. As one of the better athletes on the TTU defense, Pierre will still make an impact, but will Joey McGuire and Co. bea able to fill Pierre’s position at SAM? Only time will tell.
QB BO NIX
Before the 2023 season even started, Bo Nix’s Heisman campaign was launched, with a billboard being put up in New York City last month. Now, Nix is living up to the hype, at least in his first game of the season. In an 81-7 win over Portland State on Saturday, Nix completed 23 of 27 attempts for 287 yards and three touchdowns, before he was pulled from the game. Now, coming into Lubbock, Nix and the Ducks will hope to pick things up where they left off a week ago. After Texas Tech gave up 35 points to Andrew Peasley and the Wyoming Cowboys, Nix has got to be licking his chops.
DE JORDAN BURCH
After spending three relatively unfruitful seasons with South Carolina, Jordan Burch decided to hit the transfer portal and try his luck with the Ducks. As a former five-star prospect in the Class of 2020, Burch exhibits elite measurables at the defensive end position, standing at 6-6, 290 pounds. While he only recorded three tackles in last week’s game, I have a feeling that we might see the resurgence of his career begin during a prime-time game in Lubbock. If that proves to be the case, it won’t be good news for Tyler Shough and the Texas Tech offensive line.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
How does Joey McGuire’s squad regroup after a tough loss? There was so much hype surrounding this Texas Tech team coming into the season. Folks were talking about the Red Raiders being Big 12 contenders and possibly even dark horse playoff contenders. Hypothetically, everything is still in front of them, as they could still easily turn things around and win a Big 12 crown, and if things break right, compete for even more. However, that’s going to take them turning things around this week. An 0-2 start would not be ideal, especially with games against K-State, TCU, UCF, and Texas still on the docket.
Will Saturday night be the Bo Nix show? Since his arrival in Eugene, Nix has morphed into the player that Auburn fans had hoped he would be and then some. Last season, Nix completed 71.9% of his passes for 3,593 yards and 29 TDs to just 7 INTs, plus he added 504 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. If he picks up where he left off last week and plays a full game at that pace, Texas Tech’s defense is going to have a hard time keeping the Ducks off the board. This will be a major test for the Red Raiders’ defense, especially with rotation change at linebacker.
PREDICTION: Oregon 41, Texas Tech 29
Perhaps I’m reading too much into what I saw from each of these teams last week, but I was not impressed with Texas Tech’s performance on the road. The offensive line still struggled to move the ball in the running game and the defense was porous against an offense that ranked 110th in scoring offense (21.2 ppg) and 113th in total offense (313.6 ypg) a season ago. That, combined with Oregon’s improved play at the line of scrimmage and a Heisman contender at quarterback is simply too much opposition for me to feel confident in the Red Raiders this week. I could be wrong on this one, but I’m going to roll with Dan Lanning and the Oregon Ducks here.