Saturday, November 18th, 2023 4:00 p.m. CT; Jones AT&T Stadium; Lubbock, Texas
Radio: AM 740/FM 96.9 The Game (Marc Daniels, Gary Parris, Scott Adams); Texas Tech Sports Network (Brian Jensen, John Harris, Chris Level)
Records: Texas Tech (5-5, 4-3); UCF (5-5, 2-5)
Last Week: Texas Tech 16, Kansas; UCF 45, Oklahoma State 3
Series History: First matchup between teams
Last Meeting: N/A
Line: Texas Tech (-3.0)
Fun Fact: While Saturday’s game marks the first time these two programs have faced one another, the game provides the start of a unique matchup for the future of the Big 12 Conference.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
RB TAHJ BROOKS
Senior running back Tahj Brooks has had a resurgence over the past few weeks and has torn up each defense he’s faced. Brooks has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in each of the past three games. Had it not been for him falling two yards short against Kansas State in Week 7, Brooks would have been a 100-yard rusher in each of his last eight games. The Texas native has totaled 226 carries for 1,170 yards and eight scores in his senior campaign.
LB BEN ROBERTS
What Texas Tech linebacker Ben Roberts is doing as a freshman is unbelievable to watch. The Texas native is one of the best tacklers in the Big 12 Conference and currently sits in third place in total tackles among league members. Roberts has tied Oklahoma linebacker Danny Stutsman with 81 tackles on the season which trails only UCF’s Jason Johnson and Oklahoma State’s Nickolas Martin. Roberts has also recorded two forced fumbles an interception and half a sack in 2023.
RB RJ HARVEY
Don’t look now, but UCF’s senior running back RJ Harvey is heating up. Harvey is fresh off of a big performance against Oklahoma State with 24 carries for 206 yards and three rushing touchdowns on the day en route to a 45-3 blowout win. Harvey is one of the most explosive athletes in the Big 12 Conference and can flat-out fly, as seen on a 92-yard rushing touchdown against the Cowboys. Texas Tech will have to attempt to corral the Knights’ rushing attack with some dangerous athletes.
DE TRE’MON MORRIS-BRASH
The Big 12’s second-place sack artist plays for UCF and his name is Tre’Mon Morris-Brash. Morris-Brash has recorded 8.5 sacks this season which trails only Houston’s Nelson Ceaser with nine. Morris-Brash’s 8.5 sacks also earn him a spot in the top 15 for most sacks recorded this season at the No. 14 spot. The Virginia native also adds in 44 solo tackles this season in addition to his impressive year as a pass rusher.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
Is this team bad, or did injuries define the year? Beating a team like No. 16 Kansas after losing by two scores to BYU makes a weird amount of sense for the Red Raiders this season. The team has been one of the most inconsistent groups in the country and continues to go through hot and cold waves in 2023. Joey McGuire’s squad entered this season with serious hopes of a Big 12 title appearance but after a date with the injury bug and some tough breaks, TTU finds themselves at 5-5.
Did we witness a change in momentum for UCF last week? The Knights played their best game of the season by far against the 15th-ranked Cowboys in Week 11 which begs the question of, what is the actual norm for UCF? Are they the team capable of putting up nearly 600 yards of total offense against one of the top 15 teams in the country, or are they the team that loses by 29 to Kansas? This weekend’s matchup with Texas Tech is a great opportunity to prove what kind of team the Knights are.
PREDICTION: UCF 49, TEXAS TECH 44
This game is vintage Big 12 to me. Both Texas Tech and UCF saw major boosts in their offensive attack in Week 10 alongside somewhat average defenses at best. I like the idea of this being a classic shootout game between John Rhys-Plumlee and Behren Morton. While I do expect Texas Tech to take the lead at some point in the game, I think UCF will capitalize on their momentum and take it to the Red Raiders in Week 11.