October 30, 2013

The scouting report is in on the Red Raiders

When newly-hired Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was brought to Lubbock this past offseason, many expected a lot out of the first-year offensive guru immediately, but not many expected a 7-1 start.

That's exactly what the coach has done with a couple of walk-on quarterbacks and left overs from the Tommy Tuberville era, just as he did a year ago in College Station with a kid named Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies.

As has always seemed to be the case with the Red Raiders, there aren't many names you'll recognize from Sportscenter or award watch lists, yet they've gotten the job done every time this season up to their first loss in Norman last weekend.

Let's break down what to expect on Saturday when the Pokes head southwest to the west Texas plains.

The Red Raiders boast the fifth-ranked offense in the nation, though they're 800 yards behind leaders Oregon and Baylor. They've done it with a pair of quarterbacks in walk-on stud Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb, with the latter expected to start on Saturday. Webb has thrown for 1,812 yards, and has an impressive 7.91 yards per attempt average after eight games, placing his team's passing offense as the third-ranked unit in the nation. Tech doesn't necessarily rush the ball well, with a pair of rushers in the 200-yard range in leader DeAndre Washington and Kenny Williams, but just as the red and black has always done it, their pass game opens up the little rushing support they need.

Kingsbury's squad isn't just the offensive juggernaut that it was in former coach Mike Leach's days, they can play defense too. They rank 26th in the nation in points allowed at 21.1 points per game on average, and have held opponents under 24 points in all but three games this season. Linebacker Will Smith is the man that does it all, with 56 tackles and 3.5 sacks so far this season.

Catching the rock
Tech has talent everywhere at receiver. Eight of their receivers have caught at least one pass for 40+ yards this season (compared to three for Oklahoma State). They also have eight receivers who have double-digit receptions this season, as well as eight receivers with touchdowns. It's safe to say this unit is two and three-deep across the board, and we could see some record-breaking numbers put up if Oklahoma State's offense is clicking along with Tech's.

It's been ugly
The Pokes have ravaged this squad the past few years. They've beaten them the last two seasons by a combined 125-27 score, including a 66-6 beat down in 2011 at Jones-AT&T Stadium.

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