When: 6:00 p.m. on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock
Records: Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0), FIU (1-1, 0-0)
Last Meeting: Texas Tech defeated FIU 56-3 on Sep. 10, 2005, in Lubbock
TV: Big 12 Now on ESPN+
What’s at stake?
Texas Tech has now been the victor of two close games — one that built momentum and excitement, and another that seemed to deflate it. The Red Raiders victory against Houston developed a sense that this team was as good as advertised. The six-point win over Stephen F. Austin at home brought fans back down to earth. It’s time for the Red Raiders to figure out who they are, and then prove it. There have been talented individual performances on both sides of the ball and plenty of reason for optimism. In their last non-conference game of the year, the Red Raiders needs to iron out the wrinkles and find themselves.
Florida International took a talented Texas State team to overtime just last week. The Panthers don’t jump off the schedule as a team that presents a huge threat, but neither did Stephen F. Austin. There’s plenty of talent on their roster that Texas Tech needs to be prepared come Saturday.
When Texas Tech has the ball
After an off-season full of talk about the Air Raid, the Red Raiders are coming off one of their worst passing games in recent years. Tyler Shough was just 12-of-22 for 174 passing yards against Stephen F. Austin. He also threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. The Red Raiders only ran 50 yards of offense, but they need to capitalize more frequently than they’ve shown early.
Texas Tech’s 12 pass completions tonight ties the lowest amount they’ve had in a game since 2000.
The 22 pass attempts were the fewest amount by a TTU offense in a game since 2000.
— Ryan Mainville (@RMainvilleLBK) September 12, 2021
Tahj Brooks has been one of the most impactful surprises for the Red Raiders early into 2021. Brooks has tallied 237 rushing yards and four touchdowns in just two games so far this season. As SaRodorick Thompson continues to heal from shoulder surgery, Brooks has quickly emerged as one of the conference’s best runners. If he can continue the dominance in this game, it may be time for the Texas Tech coaching staff to consider a two-back rotation.
When FIU has the ball
All eyes need to be D’vonte Price. The running back is strong, big and fast. Price has lit the stat sheet on fire to start his senior year, averaging 9.9 yards per carry. He’s totaled 276 yards and three touchdowns already. Running behind the strong offensive line that he has only makes him more dangerous.
Quarterback Max Bortenschlager is off to a solid start as well, recording 525 yards and four touchdowns in his two starts. They aren’t world-burning numbers, but it’s enough to make the passing game respectable. The attention diverted to him only makes Price a greater threat.
If this game would’ve been played after the Houston contest, I wouldn’t have hesitated to predicate a 25+ point victory for Texas Tech. But after the shakiness against Stephen F. Austin, I will gladly be more conservative. Even so, Texas Tech is clearly the better team. They need to protect the football and develop a rhythm on offense, but they’re still good enough to win this game. Containing Price will be the key factor in how close this game ends up being, but nonetheless, Texas Tech should end its non-conference slate undefeated.
Score: Texas Tech 38, FIU 20
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