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Texas Tech vs. Baylor Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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QUICK LOOK: Texas Tech Red Raiders

Here we go again. It’s BU-TT time, y’all.

MATCHUP: Baylor Bears (4-3, 2-2) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-3, 2-2)
LOCATION: Lubbock, Texas
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears at Texas Tech Red Raiders 2022
OPPONENT’S SB NATION BLOG: Viva The Matadors (VTM)
ODB QUICK HITTER: BUTT.
GAMEONPAPER PREVIEW: BUTT.
COLLEGEFOOTBALLDATA.COM TEAM PAGES: Baylor | Texas Tech (these still come up for 2021, so use the drop-down menu for 2022)
WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE: BUTT.
GAME NOTES (INCLUDING DEPTH CHART): BUTT.
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: BUTT.
SPREAD: Texas Tech -3 (opened at Baylor -1 on Sunday), O/U 63
TV COVERAGE: ESPN2, 6:30 PM CT
UNIFORM: ???

First up, let’s hit the Cinematic Recap of Baylor’s 35-23 Homecoming win over Kansas, just to get the vibes right:

WEATHER (IN LUBBOCK):

You can’t talk about the weather for this game without talking about time, and the time of this game will play a major role in the outcome, I think. This will be a night game in Lubbock at which Texas Tech will be honoring Pat Mahomes while its fans wear all black. We’ve done an all-black game before (and it isn’t even one of our primary school colors, like it is theirs), and the environment tends to get pretty crazy. That’s before you even consider that it’s Texas Tech, which is pretty crazy, anyway. This game is going to be weird.

But weather (aside from time) shouldn’t be the reason, although it will be a little chilly by the time the game ends. Here’s the forecast from Wunderground.com:

That’s going to be a pretty beautiful day to throw tortillas beat Texas Tech with little to no wind, temperatures in the 50s through the game, and basically no chance of rain.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Both teams are 4-3 going into game 8 and 2-2 in conference play, something I don’t think many would have predicted. Both probably feel a little differently about it, though, considering the expectations coming in.

Baylor 2022 Schedule

G Date Time Day School Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
G Date Time Day School Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
1 3-Sep-22 7:00 PM Sat (10) Baylor Albany Non-Major 69 10 1 0 W 1
2 10-Sep-22 10:15 PM Sat (9) Baylor (21) BYU Ind 20 26 1 1 L 1
3 17-Sep-22 12:00 PM Sat (17) Baylor Texas State Sun Belt 42 7 2 1 W 1
4 24-Sep-22 12:00 PM Sat (17) Baylor Iowa State Big 12 31 24 3 1 W 2
5 1-Oct-22 3:30 PM Sat (16) Baylor (9) Oklahoma State Big 12 25 36 3 2 L 1
6 13-Oct-22 7:00 PM Thu Baylor West Virginia Big 12 40 43 3 3 L 2
7 22-Oct-22 12:00 PM Sat Baylor Kansas Big 12 35 23 4 3 W 1

We talked a little about how rough this schedule so far has been (in retrospect, and not because of difficulty necessarily, but because of how we played) last week. It doesn’t look a lot better now, particularly after BYU got pantsed by Liberty, and WVU, by Texas Tech. Oklahoma State’s win over Texas is a good one for us—as is every Texas loss, in my opinion—and it’s not like Kansas is a bad team. I actually believe the opposite; they are quite good.

The question before us is whether beating that Kansas team the way we did will act as a springboard for the rest of the season or still shows flaws that may prove our ultimate undoing. You can make an argument both ways, and I’ve seen people do it. For my part, although it seems extremely obvious to say, I’d feel a lot better had we gone into halftime up 35-7 (as we should have) and then run away and hid the rest of the game, rather than eventually let Kansas get back to 28-23 before scoring our final TD. But that though process takes something away from Kansas, doesn’t it? I said we “let Kansas get back” rather than break their will when the reality is that they fought back because they aren’t the Kansas of old that would allow their will to be broken. A win is still a win, right? And we covered the spread, didn’t we? And all that domination in the first half to make what should have been a 35-7 lead possible happened, right? Let’s go with that, because good things absolutely did happen in that game, and if Baylor can replicate those good things in Lubbock, I like our chances.

Texas Tech 2022 Schedule

G Date Time Day School Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
G Date Time Day School Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
1 3-Sep-22 8:00 PM Sat Texas Tech Murray State Non-Major 63 10 1 0 W 1
2 10-Sep-22 4:00 PM Sat Texas Tech (25) Houston American 33 30 2 0 W 2
3 17-Sep-22 7:00 PM Sat Texas Tech (16) North Carolina State ACC 14 27 2 1 L 1
4 24-Sep-22 3:30 PM Sat Texas Tech (22) Texas Big 12 37 34 3 1 W 1
5 1-Oct-22 12:00 PM Sat Texas Tech (25) Kansas State Big 12 28 37 3 2 L 1
6 8-Oct-22 3:30 PM Sat Texas Tech (7) Oklahoma State Big 12 31 41 3 3 L 2
7 22-Oct-22 3:00 PM Sat Texas Tech West Virginia Big 12 48 10 4 3 W 1

Opponents aside, I am struck by the similarity in the seasons for Baylor and Texas Tech so far from a record perspective. Both teams started out 3-1—we lost to BYU, they lost to NC State—before dropping two in a row and then bouncing back this past week. We even share a common opponent in those losses—Oklahoma State—with somewhat similar-looking losses, although Tech’s was on the road. The similarity breaks down in the other games, where Tech beat Texas (a win that looks better now than even it did at the time), lost to KSU, and trounced West Virginia at home. We beat ISU on the road, lost to West Virginia on the road (in what I am hopeful will end up being our worst game of the season), and beat Kansas at home.

But like our last opponent, even though we are coming into this game in somewhat similar places, I guarantee you Texas Tech feels a lot better about their situation, in the first year of Joey McGuire’s tenure and coming off that big win over West Virginia, than we do. Add to that all the histrionics they are pulling out for this game, and I think we will see a motivated, excited Texas Tech team that thinks it can win this game (and is favored to do so) on Saturday night.

A quick look at this game from the matchup page on GameonPaper.

I want to point out that in last week’s Quick Look, I teased the idea that KU’s rush defense could “open the door for Richard Reese to have a big day,” then he went out and ran for 186 and 2 TDs on 31 carries. Unfortunately, a repeat performance looks somewhat unlikely, as Texas Tech’s rush defense is significantly better than Kansas’s was, but we can get into that more below.

ADVANCED STATS MINI-PREVIEW:

Baylor vs. Texas Tech F+ Rankings

Rk Team F+ OF+ Rk DF+ Rk FEI Rk SP+ Rk
Rk Team F+ OF+ Rk DF+ Rk FEI Rk SP+ Rk
25 Baylor 0.87 0.77 27 0.79 27 0.39 29 13.2 22
37 Texas Tech 0.65 0.63 32 0.56 38 0.38 31 7.8 42

Baylor sits at 25th in the latest F+ rankings, ahead of Texas Tech at 37th but with little room between them. The teams look fairly similar in how the advanced stats see them—an offense that is probably slightly better at this point than the defense, but neither with an obvious hole. It is interesting that this doesn’t exactly carry over to EPA, which has Baylor’s offense significantly better than Tech’s, and Tech’s defense moderately better than Baylor. The GameonPaper breakdown is interesting in that respect.

Also, though both teams appear to be pretty strong against the run, Baylor is horrible against the pass on defense, and that’s all Tech really wants to do.

From this I think we can take that Tech will throw early and often, as McGuire probably knows our weaknesses better than anybody that isn’t still in Waco, and he will be playing with house money, so to speak, in attacking us. You can expect that Texas Tech will be aggressive on offense and will try to take advantage of their crowd and home environment. Baylor will have to weather that storm and improve significantly in pass defense and the pass rush.

Another thing to keep in mind is tempo: Texas Tech plays with a lot of it. They are #1 in the country at 87 plays/game and have gone over 100 offensive plays three times this season—against Houston, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia. Two of those games were wins. Tech may try to lure us in to a shootout that they think they are well equipped to win. I’m not sure that’s in our best interest.

PLAYERS TO KNOW:

So we have a little bit of a QB controversy going on in Lubbock right about now. The preseason starter, Tyler Shough, got hurt at some point, giving way to Donovan Smith, who has played in all 7 games so far and leads the team in passing. But Smith, in turn, gave way to Behren Morton, who has played most of the last two games against OK State and WVU. All indications are that even with Smith healthy and ready to go, Morton is currently their QB1 coming off Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. VTM appears to think he’s QB1 for the foreseeable future, so there’s that. Morton (whose name I’m going to misspell as Morten at some point for no apparent reason, just apologize for that now) has a 62.9% completion percentage on the season with 886 yards passing, 5 TDs, and 3 INTs. He wears #2.

Other Players:

  • RBs SaRodorick Thompson (#4) and Tahj Brooks (#28)—Texas Tech’s top 2 rushers this season with 369 and 322 rushing yards, respectively. They’re coming off their best combined game of the season against WVU that saw the team rush for 239 yards.
  • WRs Xavier White (#14) and Jerand Bradley (#9)—Texas Tech’s top 2 receivers this season with 409 and 359 receiving yards, respectively. Both have 3 TDs on the season and about the same number of receptions. Myles Price (#1) should probably also be on this list since he is tied for the team-high in receptions with White at 31 and is #3 in receiving with 309 yards. Tech spreads the ball around quite a bit and has 8 different players with more than 100 receiving yards this season, 6 with more than 200.
  • DE Tyree Wilson (#19)—Tech’s leader in tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (6.5). Wilson was basically a non-factor in last year’s game but has put up solid stats this season, primarily in three games—NC State, Kansas State, and Murray State. So it would appear that since we aren’t a State school, we should be ok? I’m not sure; he’s really good.
  • MLB Krison Merriweather (#1)—Tech’s leader in tackles and the senior lynchpin of their defense. You knew when Joey went over there that they’d be better on defense, he having served his entire college career under defensive-minded coaches at Baylor in Rhule and Aranda. Guys like Merriweather and Wilson have made it a possibility this soon.

INJURY NEWS:

I’ve got my eyes peeled for Texas Tech news, but there’s little out there so far.

For Baylor, the big question will be whether WR Monaray Baldwin can come back after an injury against Kansas. If not, the offense will be much more limited. RB Craig Williams is expected to play, but RB Taye McWilliams is not. OL Khalil Keith made his season debut against Kansas and played well, so our OL depth is getting back where we want it to be.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING / OTHER NEWS:

(Has Baylor 30-27, which I would gladly take.)

Seems to agree with the theme that we have a serious problem in pass defense but also doesn’t love the Tech success rate through the air? As coin-flippy a game as coin flips get, seems like.

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