Texas Wins If
At first glance, it might seem like the key to a Texas victory is obvious: slow down the most prolific passer in the nation. Texas Tech’s junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes II has put up astronomical numbers this season, and if the Red Raiders had a few more wins, he’d be in the running for the Heisman Trophy. He’s accounted for 38 touchdowns this season, and is only two weeks removed from tying the NCAA record for total yards in a game.
But the teams to beat Texas Tech this year haven’t been the ones that shut the quarterback down. Mahomes is actually averaging over 150 more passing yards in losses than in wins.
However, in those losses, the Red Raider defense has allowed an average of 56.5 points per game. Mahomes is impressive, but even he can’t overcome a defense that is allowing that many points.
Texas wins if it takes advantage of Texas Tech’s porous defense and put points on the board. The Red Raiders have proven that they can score, but they have been unable to overcome their defensive struggles.
Texas Loses If
Texas loses if it loses the turnover battle. Texas Tech is potent whenever it has the ball, and the Longhorns cannot afford to give Mahomes any extra possessions.
Texas has been pretty solid with ball security all season, but coughed it up twice last weekend against Baylor. Luckily for the Longhorns, Texas Tech has not been good at forcing turnovers this year. Through eight games, the Red Raiders have only six takeaways, the lowest total in the Big 12. Buechele and the Texas offense should be able to score their fair share of points, but if the Longhorns turn the ball over and give the Red Raiders extra offensive possesions, it will be difficult to pull off a win in a hostile road environment.
The Longhorns also lose if they are unable to stop the opposition on third downs. Texas Tech is converting a remarkable 57 percent of its third-down conversions, by far the highest rate in the Big 12. Constant third-down conversions wear down a defense, something that definitely does not bode well for a weak Texas unit.
Texas definitely has the offensive weapons to win a shootout, but it still must be able to count on the defense to make a few stops. If the defense cannot step up and kick Texas Tech off the field on third downs, then the Longhorns will not be winning their second straight conference game.