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Big tests coming up for Texas Tech

The SportsXchange

Rising in the polls to No. 10 (Associated Press) and No. 9 (USA Today), Texas Tech now gets down to the meat of its schedule.

With a trip to Oklahoma coming up Saturday (Oct. 26) followed by games against Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Baylor and then the regular-season finale at Texas, the unbeaten and 7-0 Red Raiders will soon learn if they are legitimate contenders or pretenders in the Big 12 race.

They are 3-0 in conference play with two of the wins coming on the road, including their last outing at West Virginia.

"Just embrace the challenge," coach Kliff Kingsbury said when asked about the approach he wants his players to take on the road. "You've got to bring your own energy.

"Anytime you go on the road, things are stacked against you, and this group has done that and been a resilient group so far. So, hopefully, we'll continue to grow.

"And this will be a huge challenge."

In their last outing, the Red Raiders passed a big test when they lost an early 13-0 lead and trailed 27-16 late in the third quarter.

They then scored three unanswered touchdowns for the 37-27 victory over the Mountaineers.

"Never felt panic, and that is a tribute to those guys," Kingsbury said. "But we just knew what we had to do, and we hadn't done it to that point.

"We knew we had plenty of time to get it done."

NOTES, QUOTES

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

--Junior TE Jace Amaro, whose 2012 season was cut short by injury, has made up for it since with 56 receptions for 742 yards this fall. With nine catches in the win over West Virginia, Amaro has had at least eight receptions in six consecutive games.

--Junior RB Kenny Williams needs to produce enough in the running game to keep the Oklahoma defense honest. He has only 256 rushing yards for the season, but 138 has come in the last two games.

--Senior DE Kerry Hyder is among the leaders in the Big 12 in tackles for loss with eight solo stops and four assists and his 33 total tackles. He also has forced two fumbles.

--Senior LB Will Smith has team highs in total tackles (47) and solo stops (33). He also is the team leader in sacks (3.5) and has two quarterback hurries as well as credit for breaking up one pass.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Definitely a good win. But if you remember, we didn't finish too high after that." -- Senior DE Kerry Hyder, asked his memory of Tech's 2011 win at Oklahoma, which was followed by five consecutive Red Raider losses.
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