The Texas Longhorns may own the all-time series by a wide margin, but in the last four meetings it’s been a back-and-forth matchup with the Texas Tech Red Raiders, with all four games decided by a single score.
Texas is looking to come away from Senior Night with a win, but the last two times the Longhorns hosted the Red Raiders for the final game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Texas Tech played spoiler. Conversely, the Longhorns have come away from Lubbock with wins in the last two visits.
Will the home-and-home trend continue or will the Longhorns be able to win back-to-back games against Tech for the first time since 2014? To get some insight into what the Red Raiders bring to the table, we reached out to Jeramey Gillilan (@JerameyDane) of Viva the Matadors (@VivaTheMatadors) to get some insider information.
BON: Jett Duffey was put in a bit of a tough spot three games into the season after projected starer Alan Bowman went out with a shoulder injury in the third game of the season and has been a bit of a mixed bag. When he’s good he’s really good, but he’s also had a few multi-interception games this season. What do you expect to see from Duffey on Saturday?
Viva the Matadors: The important thing I think people need to understand about Duffey is that he isn’t just a backup. Duffey was the fourth-string quarterback coming into the season — it was Bowman, then Maverick McIvor (who went out with surgery), then Jackson Tyner (Rice transfer, very bad), and THEN Duffey. As a fourth-string player, the production he’s given to this team after stepping in has been remarkable. Duffey proved early on that this isn’t the same turnover-prone Duffey we all came to expect.
In 2019 Duffey has been reliable in the pocket, exquisite at escaping pressure, and forces defenses to always be ready for his scramble. Last weekend against Kansas State we were playing to stay in a bowl game, and unsurprisingly Duffey balled out (aside from one interception that was his fault). With the way the Texas defense has allowed passing yards this season I expect that leaves a lot of room for him to put up good numbers. Now whether or not that culminates in W/L remains to be seen, but this is a pivotal game for Duffey. It’s his last game as the for-sure starter and if Duffey wants to be seriously considered for QB1 next year it’ll help to get the win Friday.
BON: One thing he has done is spread the ball around to four different receivers this year, with four players averaging right around 50 yards per game. Is that a product of the scheme or Duffey’s play style?
VTM: I think both can be true. As Duffey has grown into the collegiate-style of quarterbacking he has realized there’s a number of threats around the field he can utilize. Equally, new offensive coordinator David Yost knows what it means to slash opponents from a multitude of points; something we’re coming to call “death by a thousand paper cuts,” because his theories are turning into a more screen-them-to-death mantra and everybody is tired of it. Even Duffey:
Even Jett is sick of plays like these. Watch his reaction when the play call comes in. pic.twitter.com/YlwyNAO1mi— Sawyer (@Sowenpink) November 24, 2019
BON: Defensively, the Red Raiders do an incredible job of turning opponents over, ranking second in the conference in turnover margin, led by the pair of Douglas Coleman and Darmarcus Fields. How has Texas Tech managed to create these turnovers defensively?
VTM: Good scheming by defensive coordinator Keith Patterson and being blessed with some absolute dudes. Patterson built his defense around creating chaos in the backfield (LB Jordyn Brooks is one of the best in the nation in TFL) and by turnovers (Douglas Coleman leads the nation in INT), but this wouldn’t be as bearable a season defensively if we didn’t have the athletes that we do.
BON: Tech is 4-7 on the year, but is a collective eight points away from being 7-4 on the season. What do you think it’s going to take for the Red Raiders to flip those tight games?
VTM: *silent scream* Yeah this is a hard pill to swallow, but also not really? This is Matt Wells’ first year at the helm of the program, and while the losses will always be losses it’s a good marker that we are still fighting to win. Those losses boil down to bad play calling, mental mistakes, penalties, and things of the like — all things that can be fixed. If Wells is the right coach for Texas Tech then the offseason will be the prime time to address those issues and change them from the foundation and head into next year with a strong message: finish the fight. Ideally we’ll be up an upward trend.
BON: What’s one matchup you’re watching on Friday?
VTM: If somebody says anything other than Jordyn Brooks vs Sam Ehlinger then they’re not paying attention. These are two dudes that will be playing at the next level, are top tier in their position, and are the undisputed captains of their squad. Brooks’ ability to contain/pressure Ehlinger against Ehlinger’s ability to beat that contain/pressure might just make the difference in the late part of the game — where the past few matchups in Austin have been decided.
BON: What’s your prediction?
VTM: Look, this season has been hell for Red Raider fans, but I’m not about to concede to to the Longhorns here at the end of it. Look for Texas Tech to keep the streak alive in DKR this Friday and another Red Raider enters football legacy as we take down the Longhorns, 32-27.
2015: Jakeem Grant
2017: Justus Parker