Most of us Red Raider fans are probably still mad about last week, but it’s time to move on folks. Tech has an opportunity to change things in a big way tomorrow night when they host the 7th ranked Sooners.
For all the complaints about Texas Tech football since Kliff Kingsbury has been here, the one that I think is most legitimate, and also a bit confusing, is the lack of big game performances at home. I don’t think this is necessarily all Kliff’s fault, but Jones AT&T Stadium used to be a place opponents, no matter their record or ranking, feared. Now, I could probably write a book on why it is The Jones hasn’t had that same intimidating feel to it since the Pirate roamed the sidelines. But the most obvious reason is simply lack of opportunity. A number of variables need to line up to get the perfect atmosphere at The Jones… First, and most importantly, Tech has to have at least a pretty good team. As loyal as Tech fans are, they don’t always show up when the product is lacking. I don’t really blame them for that, not everyone is like me and willing to make themselves miserable by watching every snap of a blow out loss… And although there is still much that could go wrong for the Red Raiders this season, this is at least a pretty good team. So expect Lubbock to #getweird tomorrow night for the first time in awhile. The second ingredient for waking up The Jones, night game. With the fall of Texas Tech happening during the middle of the SEC “dominance” *rolls eyes* and an array of changes in TV deals, it’s been a struggle to get a night game in Lubbock for a few years now. Third, quality of opponent. Again, Tech fans are pretty loyal. But they aren’t going to #getweird against just anybody. With #7 OU coming to town, this one is covered as well. The fourth one is a wild card, but might be the X-factor for this crowds ability to ramp up the weirdness. It’s Halloween weekend folks, same weekend as that glorious night in 2008 when Crabtree made the most famous catch in Texas Tech history to defeat the then top ranked Longhorns. Every Tech fan remembers that crowd atmosphere, even for those if us that were not there… The weirdness was one point, scary costumes, horrifying face paint, and most importantly, the most raucous and impactful student section I think I have ever seen.
So, tomorrow night checks all the boxes for a vintage Texas Tech crowd atmosphere. But obviously, it will take more than that to defeat the Sooners…
We all know the question marks for this Texas Tech team coming off of the ISU loss… Shaky offensive line play, inability to run the ball, and defensive penalties. But what I haven’t heard much in the lead up to this game is the questions for OU. Like how he last good team the Sooners played beat them and got their DC fired… Since then they have blown out both TCU and Kansas State. Obviously, the TCU game has to be acknowledged here, seeing as they had FAR less trouble with the Horned Frogs than Texas Tech did. But I’d caution against trying to compare some of these match ups simply because of how quickly things have changed from week to week in the Big12 this season. For example, Tech blew out Oklahoma State in Stillwater, then Oklahoma State upset the Longhorns last week, this doesn’t mean that Texas Tech won’t have any trouble with the Horns in a couple of weeks. But the point remains, OU has not proves that they have answered the questions on defense that lead to the firing of Mark Stoops. Offensively, I can’t lie, there aren’t really any glaring holes… They are right there with West Virginia, maybe ahead of them, as the top offenses in the conference. This will be a huge challenge for Tech’s defense.
So expect this game to be, probably, pretty high scoring. It’s crazy to say this about a Texas Tech football team, but I think the lower the score of this game, the better chance Tech will have. I do not like this offenses chances to stick with Kyler Murray in a shootout. With the the Chiefs/Browns (Mahomes/Mayfield) matchup on Sunday, everyone is talking about the classic 66-59 game in 2016. Im extremely confident that this game will not be like that one. This offense is going to have to slow things down. They have to establish the run game. The defense will, again, have their hands full. They’ll need to limit big plays, and get a couple turnovers. Obviously, OU presents a different challenge than ISU did, but I think if the defense plays like they did last week (minus the penalties) they’ll have done their part.
I don’t know that it would be fair to call this a must win for Kliff as far as his job security is concerned, but winning it would likely take him fully off the hot seat. Even with a couple of big wins this season, Kliff still lacks the big home win. The field storming thriller that used to be a yearly occurrence at The Jones.
I think Bowman bounces back with a nice game. De’Leon Ward steps up in the run game, and Antoine Wesley makes his presence felt as usual. Defensively, Tech will have a “bend don’t break” mentality and limit OU to FGs. They’ll have to force a couple of turnovers as well… In the end, Clayton Hatfield hits a game winning FG as time expires.