The Texas Longhorns are going bowling for the first time since the 2014 season, but their work is far from over this season if they truly want to turn a corner. A win Friday over the Texas Tech Red Raiders would guarantee the first winning season and best conference record since Mack Brown’s final year on the Forty Acres.
This year’s Texas Tech team is a shadow of their former selves, and struggle to find success anywhere this season.
After a punishing 2-6 run in conference, the Red Raiders sit at 5-6 on the year and are fighting for bowl eligibility, a winning season, and possibly the job of head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Their performance a week ago against the TCU Horned Frogs did not do anything to improve their situation.
Tech was completely outclassed against a banged-up TCU squad and came away with a 27-3 loss on Senior Day. They managed just 327 total offensive yards, and their lone field goal came halfway through the first quarter.
The Red Raiders’ lone bright spot against TCU was running back Justin Stockton, racking up 21 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown, bringing his season total to a team-high 649 yards and four touchdowns. Stockton is also a threat to catch the ball, hauling in 23 passes and one receiving touchdown this year.
Quarterback Nic Shimonek shares the backfield with Stockton and is yet another Texas Tech signal caller to put up big numbers. The senior is No. 8 in the country in passing yards with 3,451, 28 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
His favorite target, Keke Coutee, joins a long lineage of high-producing Texas Tech receivers. He sits No. 7 in the nation with 1,074 receiving yards, in addition to his nine receiving touchdowns. He sits just 69 yards shy of turning in the tenth-best receiving performance in school history. Another 100-yard game would vault him ahead of program-great Michael Crabtree for the eighth-highest total for the program.
Just as in years-past, the Texas Tech defense struggles to stop their opponents in all areas of the game. The Red Raiders are in the bottom of the nation in both total defense, No. 106, and tied for No. 99 in scoring defense.
Their defensive issues have been most-evident during their 2-6 Big 12 season. The Red Raiders are allowing 34.88 points and 449.75 yards per contest in their eight games, with an -14.83 point differential in their six conference losses.
If the Texas offense capitalizes on Tech’s poor defense, builds on its performance against West Virginia and minimizes their mistakes in the pass defense, they can improve their bowl stock and send the senior class out with a win.