Here is everything you need to know about the Big 12 showdown in Arlington, Texas, between the Baylor Bears and Texas Tech Red Raiders.
11 a.m. Central Time, Saturday, November 11th, 2017, Arlington, Texas, AT&T Stadium
TV: Fox Sports Southwest | Mark Followill (play-by-play), Brian Baldinger (analyst), Lesley McCaslin (sideline)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network | Brian Jensen (play-by-play), John Harris (analyst), Chris Level (sideline)
Radio: Baylor IMG Sports Network | John Morris (play-by-play), J.J. Joe (analyst), Ricky Thompson (sideline)
Radio: Sirius 132, XM 83
Fun facts: The Bears have won five of the last six meetings and hold a 5-3 edge in the neutral site series. Also, both teams have scored at least 30 points in the last seven meetings.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Keke Coutee, wide receiver
Last week against Kansas State, matched his career high with 12 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns. It marked the third game this season Coutee has recorded at least 150 yards through the air, which leads all Big 12 Conference receivers heading into this weekend. Now they go up against Baylor which has a pass efficiency defense that is the second worst in the Big 12 conference.
Eli Howard, defensive end
Baylor’s offensive line isn’t very good and while the Red Raiders have not been getting to the quarterback consistently, Eli Howard is playing some of the best ball on the defensive line. The San Angelo, Texas native has started the past four games and has started to shine. He has two sacks and three tackles for loss over that stretch for Tech. He leads the team with 4.5 tackles for loss and his two passes deflected on the season have resulted in interceptions.
Terence Williams, running back
The Red Raiders are giving up 177 rushing yards per game in conference play. Williams has had an up and down season and has yet to crack 100 rushing yards on the year. This would be the game to do it. And last season in this match up, Williams torched Tech for 147 yards on 23 carries with two scores.
Harrison Hand, cornerback
Hand has been one of the many freshmen to see a bunch of playing time and has excelled. He has 40 tackles on the season and is top 5 in the Big 12 conference in passes defended with nine. Hand also had his first career interception last week against the Jayhawks. He’s a budding star in the Baylor secondary.
Who’s making a stop?
Both these teams rank outside the top 100 in the nation in total defense. Texas Tech ranks 108th, while Baylor is worse at 121st. Both teams will look to pass, pass and pass some more. Granted, both teams have also struggled to stop the running game, but both defenses are even worse defending the pass.
The difference could be that Tech takes the ball away, while the Bears do not. The Red Raiders are 15th in the nation in turnover margin, while Baylor is 109th. But when looking inside the numbers, the Red Raiders are +0 in the turnover margin since Big 12 play started. Over this four game losing streak, the Red Raiders are -2 in turnover margin. Meantime, the Bears are +1 over their last four games.
Another department the Bears have improved drastically is penalty yards. Baylor is second in the Big 12 to Iowa State in only having 40 penalty yards per game in conference play. Matt Rhule is teaching this young Baylor team to not beat themselves.
Red Zone defense
If Baylor wants to keep their momentum going from last week against Kansas, they need to get some stops, or at least force field goals, in the red zone. Baylor has the worst red zone defense in Big 12 play, as opponents have scored on 20 of 21 trips. The good news is that they’ve held opponents to only 21 trips to the red zone, which is fourth fewest in the Big 12 behind Iowa State, TCU and Texas.
Baylor 38, Texas Tech 35
I’m picking this game with my gut. Texas Tech continues to head in the wrong direction with a head coach who is fighting to keep his job, while Baylor just picked up its first win of the season and there are positive vibes inside the locker room in Waco. Plus, all these young players for BU who are now freshmen and sophomores have really become sophomores and juniors as they hit the tail end of the season and have picked up at least nine games of experience. Charlie Brewer should remain the starter, will make some plays with his feet and Texas Tech’s defense, which is getting worse and can’t rush the passer, won’t be able to stop him or an improving group of wide receivers.