Sat Nov 03 08:32am EDT
By Adam Rosen
1. RUN, RAIDERS, RUN
Texas is 111th overall in rush defense this season. I won't try to figure out the problems of the Texas defense. Rather, I'll simply suggest the Texas Tech offense should run the ball down the Longhorns' throats on Saturday.
Kansas quarterback Michael Cummings was 3 of 9 for 39 yards passing, yet the Jayhawks were still in position to win before squandering away the victory. This was mostly due to a career high performance from junior running back James Sims.
Every available statistical reference will reiterate the Longhorns' struggles on defense this season, specifically against the run as well.
Texas is allowing 259.8 yards per game against conference opponents, which ranks dead last in the Big 12 and is 53.3 YPG behind Baylor's tackling dummy of a defense.
In rushing plays from scrimmage of over ten and 20 yards, the Longhorns rank 122nd and 123rd in the entire country, respectively.
The Tech rushing attack has slowed to a mere 3.46 yards per carry in conference play this season and after back to back road games against physical fronts, the ground game faces the perfect opportunity to breakout and carry the offense to victory on Saturday.
2. REDUCE RED ZONE TOUCHDOWNS
David Ash's bashing by fans and media for his performances against Oklahoma and Kansas has largely overshadowed the fact that this Longhorn offense isn't all that bad.
In fact, Bryan Harsin's squad has been one of the most efficient and oft visited offenses in the nation this season when it comes to scoring drives in the red zone.
The Longhorns rank 13th overall with 41 red zone drives and 3rd overall with 80.49 percent of those drives being converted for touchdowns.
Consequently, the Texas defense has been so horrendous this season that the Longhorns can ill afford to take three points instead of seven against an elite offense like Texas Tech's.
If the Red Raider defense, which ranks 54th overall in red zone touchdowns allowed, can hold the Texas offense to a few field goals, it could be all Tech needs to outscore the rival Longhorns.
3. REMOVE TARP FROM NASCAR
The Longhorn defense is loaded with talent, no doubt about that. However, despite the perceived talent in Austin, the fact of the matter is this defense has vastly underperformed all season (which might be the understatement of the year).
Saturday shouldn't be any different for the Burnt Orange defense either if the Red Raiders ratchet up the NASCAR offense.
Texas Tech's offense is averaging nearly 74 plays per game on offense against conference opponents. The Longhorns have allowed 48, 63 and 50 points against teams that have surpassed that total of plays in Big 12 play.
Manny Diaz's defense is giving up 0.56 points per play in conference play. If you multiply that out against Tech's average plays per game in the Big 12, Tech should be in line for about 41 points against the Longhorns. If you do the adverse calculations for the Texas offense against the Red Raider defense, the Longhorns should be in line for about 33 points on Saturday.
Eight games is enough of a sample size to know what you're getting from a football team and three quarters the way through the season, the Texas defense hasn't been able to stand up against copious amounts of pressure.