The Texas Longhorns are ready to kick off conference play against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. To help us preview the matchup, we reached out to Michael Macon (@MikeMacon23) of Viva the Matadors (@VivaTheMatadors) to help us preview the matchup.
Burnt Orange Nation: Texas Tech had to grind it out against UH and SFA, but blew out FIU in Week Three. What clicked between the second and third games that helped them dominate?
Michael Macon, Viva the Matadors: Really it boils down to the offensive line. The first two weeks of the season displayed an offensive line that was out of sorts and couldn’t pass block to save their lives. Against FIU, they controlled the line of scrimmage and quarterback Tyler Shough had time to find his receivers running free. That gave Tech a one-two punch of run setting up the play-action pass game.
BON: The Red Raiders bring to Austin one of the best run defenses in the conference, giving up just 1.73 yards per carry. What’s been the key to their success defending the run?
VTM: The linebacker group is just insane. Riko Jeffers and Colin Schooler were dominant enough, but the group has tremendous depth. Teams have just not been able to get past them. The most success running the ball has been trying to attack the perimeter, but the secondary has been coming down hard in run support.
BON: Sophomore running back Tahj Brooks was an integral part of the first two games, but was more limited in game against FIU. What is the expectation for him in Austin?
VTM: SaRodrick Thompson has only appeared in one game as he just was cleared from a shoulder injury suffered in the spring. That opened the door for Brooks to run through. He is a physical, no-nonsense back. The running back group is extremely crowded, all three backs will get serious touches, including Xavier White. Expect the group as a whole to put on a show, as for Brooks individually I expect he will break off another long run.
BON: What’s one storyline you’re watching on Saturday?
VTM: Can Tech pass protect? The offensive line has turned in one good performance in that regard. If they protect Shough, the offense is balanced and very dangerous. If Shough is forced to run for his life, the offense will struggle to consistently drive down the field.
BON: What’s your prediction?
VTM: I’ve gone back and forth with this game. On the one hand, Texas is on paper the most talented team in the conference. On the other, Tech holds a lot of favorable matchups. After a lot of talk, and a lot of pure homerism, Texas’ vulnerable run defense will not be able to stop Tech as the Red Raiders control the game start to finish.
30-17 Tech. Wreck em!