This Game Breakdown was completed by Russ Morris and Ethan Nieporte.
Texas Tech and UT both have a short week to prepare as they will Battle for the Chancellor’s Spurs. This trophy was debuted in 2012 in honor of the “Texas Pride” series of games that lasted from 2012-2014. Texas Tech and Texas will meet for the 69th time in history and the 60th-consecutive year Friday afternoon in Austin. The Longhorns control a 51-17 all-time advantage in the series, which includes a 30-7 mark in games played in the state capital. Texas Tech enters this weekend's tilt at Texas with a 46-45-4 all-time record in regular-season finales, which includes a 13-10 mark during the Big 12 era (1996-present). The Red Raiders have closed the regular season with wins in three of the past four seasons after topping Texas in both 2015 and 2017 as well as Baylor in 2016. Texas Tech last entered its final game with bowl eligibility no longer in reach in 2016, which resulted in a 54-35 victory over Baylor in the final game of Patrick Mahomes II's career as a Red Raider. The Red Raiders are closing the regular season against Texas for only the fourth time in program history as the two schools previously rounded out the 2013 and 2015 campaigns against each other. Tech is 2-1 in those games. The Red Raiders will be looking to repeat its last two performances in Austin as Texas Tech topped Texas, 48-45, in 2015 and then 27-23 in 2017. It marked the first time Tech has won back-to-back games in Austin since the series began in 1928. The last two meetings against the Longhorns have come down to the final moments as Lil'Jordan Humphrey hauled in a 29-yard touchdown grab to give Texas the victory with only 21 seconds remaining a year ago. In the 2017 meeting, Justus Parker picked off a Sam Ehlinger pass with just over two minutes remaining, setting up a Cameron Batson touchdown grab from Nic Shimonek that was followed by a Douglas Coleman III interception to seal the victory.This will be the sixth time in the past seven years the two in-state rivals have entered the game unranked. At least one team entered the annual matchup ranked nationally in at least one poll in each of the previous 15 meetings from 1998-2012. The Longhorns were ranked 19th prior to Texas' 41-34 victory a year ago. Matt Wells is looking to become only the second head coach in program history to top Texas in his debut season, joining only David McWilliams (1986), who led the Red Raiders to a 23-21 victory in 1986, his lone year in Lubbock.
Texas Longhorns: 6-5; Big 12 (4-4)
The Longhorns return to Austin after a glorified beatdown at the hands of the Baylor Bears. They have a short schedule however as they face the Red Raiders on Black Friday. With their loss to Baylor the Bears clinched their spot in the Big 12 title game at AT&T Stadium in a rematch with the Sooners. Texas, as well as Tech, is looking to end their season on a high note and play for a decent paying bowl spot. As much as people like to dog on UT, Tom Herman is building something in Austin. The talent level and how they recruit is similar to that of Mack Brown. It took Mack two to four years before they were dominating on a consistent level. The majority of his teams came out of the old 2A-4A schools (Daingerfield, Jim Ned, Sonora, Aledo, Cameron Yoe, just to name a few). Currently with Herman the offense is high powered and explosive, but the defense needs a lot of help on the back end. A little side note on Todd Orlando, UT’s DC. Orlando was Well’s DC their first two years at Utah State. They are close family friends, and this could be an interesting game with both coaches knowing each other very well. Back to UT….the offense is led by Sam Ehlinger, and Collin Johnson. Sam Ehlinger is the heart and soul of the team, bottom line. As he goes, so does everyone else. Sam is very athletic, always mentally prepared, and has the ability to carry a team on his back. He will look to run the ball when nothing is available. Once he is contained, the next step is to contain their receiving core. They are led on the outside by Collin Johnson. Johnson is one of the three best receivers in the league with his size. His ability to go up and get what’s thrown to him is unlike any other with the exception of Cede Lamb. Defensively they are led by a solid front and linebacking core. Their secondary needs some help and that should happen this week with guys returning from injury. Their backers are all over the field and the D-Line is very disciplined. They are very aggressive will look for the slightest opportunity to strike. In terms of playing for something, the UT has already clinched bowl eligibility. The only thing they are playing for is seeding and a decent bowl bid to the Liberty, Music City, Texas, or Cheez-It Bowls just to name a few.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: 4-7; Big 12 (2-5)
Texas Tech travels to Austin on a short schedule following another disappointing loss to K-State as the get ready to face the Texas Longhorns. With the loss to K-State Tech is now eliminated from bowl eligibility. It was a solid defensive performance the entire game with both defenses making plays giving each team an opportunity to win. Both offenses didn’t make any noise until the second half. For the first time since 2015 and 2017, the fans were treated to offensive fireworks. Duffey played another good game and finally made great reads with his legs. He threw for over 300 yds and rushed for 57 yards on nine attempts. If there is a competition for the starting job next year, this game and the loss at Baylor are great auditions for him. If he can build on this performance and limit his mistakes against UT. Then that should make for an interesting game. As far as the defense goes, Tech has to get off the field on 3rddown. Teams are averaging about 56% on third downs while Tech is averaging only 36%. Sure, the offenses are in the Big 12 are going to score, but in key situations they have to be stopped. Jordyn Brooks is still leading the conference in tackles and TFLs and is now a semi-finalist for the Butkus award. As far as the injuries from the previous weeks are concerned, Wells stated in his pregame presser yesterday that they are day to day. The Red Raiders should come into this game feeling great and worry free. They should fight like a hobo. “I'll fight a man with three children and a nice house any day over a man that's living out of a car. A desperate man is a dangerous man,” said Art Briles. Briles made this comparison back in 2014 when Tech entered Black Friday with a 4-7 record and nothing to lose and almost pulling out the victory over the Bears but fell short 48-46. This type of mentality could favor the Red Raiders seeing as how a bowl game is no longer in reach. They should play loose and take some chances since this will be our bowl game. Expect an interesting game on Friday.
Thanksgiving Slate of Games
This Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the weekend have some interesting games in the NFL and college football. A couple games have playoff implications and in the NFL there is one game at about 3:15 that could have future ramifications.
In the greatest rivalry in all of college football #5 Alabama travels to Jordan-Haire Stadium to take on the #13 Auburn Tigers. Auburn is looking to get into a New Year’s Six Bowl Game while Bama is hoping to be the fourth seed in the playoffs. Auburn finally has a QB for their future in Bo Nix. He is scrappy and athletic. Nix and the defense will make the game interesting.
In the NFL the Cowboys will host the Bills in a Super Bowl rematch. Dallas has an opportunity to widen the gap over the Eagles for the division on Thursday with a win. Dak has been outstanding for the Cowboys this year, but there are some things in his game that need some work. With his ability to extend plays Dak must take the opportunity to run the ball when there is nothing available. If he can do that against a decent Bills defense that ranks 15th overall, they should take care of business. Now to the elephant in the room for the “Boys”. This game could determine a lot about Garett’s future in Dallas. If they show up unprepared against this Bills team that gives up about 21 points per game, this will be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Dallas enters Thursday with a 6-5 record and the Eagles play the Dolphins on Sunday. If the Cowboys drop this game, there will be a tie for first place in the division. After Thursday Dallas travels to Chicago and hosts the Rams before playing the Eagles again. As mentioned earlier, this game could have future ramifications depending on the outcome.
Saddle Tramp News:
Our new guys are basically done with pledge ship! They’ve finished all their tests and are just waiting for Final Review when we get back from Thanksgiving Break. When we get back from break, we have Final Review and new Executive Board Elections on Monday (2nd), Carol of Lights on Tuesday (3rd), then the Carol of Lights Bell Tower Tours on Wednesday (4th). It’s a busy week and that’s not even mentioning studying for Finals. But nonetheless, we are thankful for this week to spend time with friends, family, and getting a chance to relax before the busyness of finals.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM THE SADDLE TRAMPS