Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the BYU Cougars.
Saturday, October 21; 6:00 p.m. CT; LaVell Edwards Stadium; Provo, UT
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network (Brian Jensen, John Harris, Chris Level); BYU Radio (Greg Wrubell, Hans Olsen, Mitchell Juergens)
Records: Texas Tech (3-4, 2-2); BYU (4-2, 1-2)
Rankings: Texas Tech (NR); BYU (NR)
Series History: Texas Tech leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Texas Tech 21, BYU 20 (1940)
Line: Texas Tech (-4.5)
Fun Fact: This is only the second meeting between these two and this will be Texas Tech’s first ever trip to Utah for a football game.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
RB Tahj Brooks
If Texas Tech wants to win football games, then they need to feed this man. Early in the season, the offense went away from the running game for some reason. Then they finally realized just how special Tahj Brooks really is. He is averaging six yards per carry and is the Big 12’s second-leading rusher with 786 yards only behind Texas running back Jonathan Brooks. For whatever reason, Texas Tech didn’t give him the football against Kansas State despite averaging nearly six yards per carry in that game. This offense is playing with their backup and third-string quarterback. They should be making Tahj Brooks the main feature of this offense to help out those young quarterbacks.
LB Jesiah Pierre
Believe it or not, this defense has some good players on it. And Jesiah Pierre is one of those guys. He is a veteran linebacker who has started nearly 20 games and is the leading tackler for this Texas Tech defense. Jesiah is fourth in the conference in total tackles (50) and is averaging a little over eight tackles per game. I expect him to be everywhere on Saturday.
QB Kedon Slovis
Since the BYU offense is one of the worst rushing offenses in all of college football, that means that this game will rest on the shoulders of quarterback Kedon Slovis. While Kedon has shown some decent flashes this season, he has been below average for the majority of the year. His touchdown to interception ratio isn’t bad but his accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. Kedon is completing just 56.8% of his passes this season. He is going to need to do better than that against Texas Tech.
LB Max Tooley
Since fellow linebacker Ben Bywater is out for the season, it will be up to Max Tooley to help turn around this defense that struggled against TCU last weekend. Max is the team leader in tackles (44) and is also BYU’s active career leader in interceptions alongside Jakob Robinson.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
What is the status of Behren Morton? The young quarterback suffered an injury in the first half against Kansas State last week and never returned. As of now, he is a game-time decision. If he isn’t able to go, then Tech will turn to third-string true freshman quarterback Jake Strong who threw three interceptions against Kansas State in the second half. No matter who plays on Saturday, this offense needs to find a way to get Tahj Brooks the football. If not, then I don’t like their odds of winning this game.
Can BYU shake off that TCU game? Last weekend the Cougars were embarrassed by the Horned Frogs in their 44-11 loss. The offense was bad, and the defense had no answer for TCU’s backup quarterback. This game is going to determine how the rest of the season plays out for this team because if they don’t respond then it is going to be a long second half of the year.
Prediction: BYU 24, Texas Tech 21
I don’t know how BYU is going to get the job done but they will. They are a different team at home than they are on the road, and I am just not sure if Texas Tech’s backup quarterbacks will be ready for the wild crowd in Provo. I expect BYU to bounce back and get on the right track and shake off that ugly loss from a week ago.