Texas Tech will head into Austin with a quiet confidence about itself after Red Raider quarterback Tyler Shough led Tech to a convincing win over Florida International. Here are five things Texas fans need to know about Texas Tech:
In Tuesday’s Texas football media availability, Longhorn linebacker DeMarvion Overshown said he was wary of the deep-threat Texas Tech’s passing offense possesses. With quarterback Tyler Shough and wide receiver Erik Ezukanma, the Red Raiders certainly have the ability to stretch the Texas defense.
Shough’s preferred target this season has been Ezukanma, who is a massive target standing at 6-3, 220 pounds. Ezukanma leads Tech with 350 receiving yards on 16 receptions, a staggering average of 21.9 yards per catch. The highlight of his season was a 75-yard touchdown reception against Stephen F. Austin.
Ezukanma led all FBS receivers in receiving yards heading into Week 3 but is now ninth after a weaker showing against FIU. The receiver was sidelined for a big portion of the game, which explains why he wasn’t as effective. Tight end Travis Koontz has 10 receptions so far this season, the next most behind Ezukanma. Against FIU, Shough found Koontz for two touchdowns within the opening half of play.
Tech began the season without its preferred running back SaRodorick Thompson, who underwent surgery on his shoulder during the offseason. In his absence, Tahj Brooks has stepped up in a big way. Brooks has racked up 284 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
Thompson played limited minutes last week, only getting four carries. This week against Texas, Thompson should play a more prominent role in the offense as he works his way back to full fitness.
Which Shough will show up against Texas?
Shough excels at throwing the deep ball but has raised eyebrows with his questionable decision-making at times. The junior quarterback has been brilliant at times for Tech. Against FIU last weekend, Shough put up a jaw-dropping stat line. The Oregon transfer threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns, as he led the Red Raiders to a 54-21 win over FIU.
But against Stephen F. Austin, Shough left a lot to be desired. Against SFA, Shough only completed 12 of his 22 throws and was picked off twice. If Shough doesn’t play at his best, Texas’ secondary will be licking its chops. After all, he has yet to prove himself against the caliber of opposition of a Texas.
Monsters in the middle
Linebackers Colin Schooler and Riko Jeffers are the main men for the Raiders on defense. Schooler leads Tech in total tackles with 21, and Jeffers is just below him on the list with 13. Jeffers also has a sack and an interception to his name so far this season. Just like Arkansas, Tech can cause Texas some trouble in this regard.
Texas Tech has a couple of strong defensive backs in Reggie Pearson Jr. and Marquis Waters. Last weekend, Waters had a 72-yard pick-six against FIU. Pearson is the second-leading tackler on this defense, with 16 total tackles. Against Houston in Week 1, Pearson, Jeffers and two other Red Raiders had interceptions, as the defense led Tech to a 38-21 win over the Cougars.
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