This week we have a battle of the interior against our fellow Texans at Tech. I always look forward to playing Tech, especially when they are in Austin. Those Tech sonsabetches drink like fish when they get into a wet city, which usually provides entertainment for us local folks.
But on to what you are interested in – who is going to win the game this weekend and why? There are some Longhorn fans (one in particular, who I had a rather long GChat ‘discussion’ with regarding most of the following) who think Texas is going to lose this weekend. The argument:
- Tech has the number 1 passer in the nation.
- Tech has the number 1 and 4 of the top ten receivers in the nation.
- Texas has some pretty significant injuries.
- Texas has a less than stellar pass defense.
- Tech does have a “weak” run defense, but less than half of Texas’ yards are rush yards.
- Tech has the No. 7 pass defense in the nation.
- Oh, and the best we’ve played are the Number 56 and 57 pass defenses. (OU and KState)
- Texas’ top rushers are:
- Jamaal Charles (awesome.)
- Colt McCoy (really?)
- Vondrell McGee (if only he could get more plays…)
- John Chiles (WTF!?)
- Texas has corners that are around 5’10, and they have receivers that are 6’2.
If you look at it that way, it looks like perhaps he has a point. This doesn’t bode well for Texas. We’ve got one key rusher and we’re facing the best past defense in the nation. That makes it tough for us to get points on the board. On the other side, as far as defending this air bombardment, there is a reason I didn’t list our pass defense’s rank. (Just comfort yourself in knowing that it is better than Texas A&M’s.) Who cares about our rush defense – Tech isn’t going to run it.
However, I still think the Longhorns will come out on top this year. Why? I’m so glad you asked.
The big, big reason I believe this is because of Tech’s current record. They have 6 big games this year. They’ve got two left with Texas and Oklahoma to finish out the end of the season. The other four ‘big’ games were Colorado, Mizzou, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Three losses and a W against Fran&Co. So who exactly has Tech been smacking around with the air attack and pass defense? I give you the list of Tech’s prestigious wins this season: SMU, UTEP, Rice, Northwestern State, Iowa State, and Baylor.
Don’t get me wrong, Texas certainly hasn’t played a list of powerhouses, but I think our schedule is stronger than Tech’s. If we had that same schedule, I think our numbers would be a bit different.
A closer look….
Passing – Advantage: TEXAS TECH
This is certainly Texas Tech’s strong point. Gimmick offense it may be, however, it is working for them. Graham Harrell has put up 4412 yards, completing 73.5% of his passes. Yes friends, that is 441 yards per game in the air. Harrell has several options, but hooks up most frequently with 5 WRs led by the kingpin, Michael Crabtree. Crabtree has 1512 yards this season, averaging 150 yards a game. Amendola is close behind with 1014 yards, at 100 yards a game. The rest is split between Eric Morris, Edward Britton and Grant Walker, who collectively have less yards than Crabtree.
Texas on the other hand splits the offense a little more evenly between passing and rushing. Colt McCoy has completed 65.6% of passes for 2632 yards, that’s 260 per game. Colt connects primarily with Nate Jones, Quan Cosby and Jermichael Finley (628, 519, and 500 yards respectively.)
However, to make things a little more even, the Masked Wino has done an excellent comparison of situations in similar games.
Passing Yards (Texas/Tech)
Iowa State 298/460
Oklahoma State 282/646
You’ll see here that Tech certainly has more yards on us for similar opponents.
Rushing – Advantage: Texas
Tech’s top three rushers garner a measly 725 yards (Shannon Woods, Koby Lewis, and Aaron Crawford). Texas on the other hand has many more rushing weapons, led by Jamaal Charles with 1192 yards. The top 5 rushers for the Longhorns have 1959 yards this season. Take a look at the head to head comparison provided by TMW.
Rushing Yards (Texas/Tech)
Iowa State 216/29
Oklahoma State 307/72
Texas seriously outnumbers Tech in this department, which should come as no surprise to you.
Offensive Summary, Advantage: Texas Tech
So as far as offense, Texas is half and half and Tech is the airball. If we look at the head to head chart (for similar games of course), Tech has the advantage – but not by much.
Total Offense (Texas/Tech)
Iowa State 514/489
Oklahoma State 589/718
Additionally, first downs are very important, and Texas Tech takes that cake as well, again by very little. I think that means that this will be a defensive battle. Who can hold who to less yards?
Pass Defense – Advantage, Texas Tech
Briefly, Texas has some issues to overcome on defense – but I have been pleased with our growth this year. Is it where I’d like us to be at this point in the season? No, but progress is progress. Does this little discussion here mean I think we have the best defense in the world, no it doesn’t, but I do think it has what it takes to beat Texas Tech.
Tech has allowed 1783 yards on the pass, that’s 178 yards per game. That is a low number. We split our offense, and we have 260 per game. Texas on the other hand has allowed almost 250 yards per game. Again, the Texas D has some issues. However, when we take a closer look at TMW’s chart, it doesn’t look nearly so lopsided.
Opponents’ Passing Yards (Texas/Tech)
Iowa State 135/187
Oklahoma State 430/244
Rush Defense – Advantage: Texas
On the rush, Tech has held opponents to 1663 yards this season. Nearly half of those yards came during the three losses this season. (Hence, my other key point: the rush is the key to beating Texas Tech.)
Texas held opponents to only 1011 yards. Two teams were held to less than 10 yards (Rice being -11.)
For the head to head on similar opponents, Texas’ strength on defending the rush becomes clearer.
Opponents’ Rushing Yards (Texas/Tech)
Iowa State 93/100
Oklahoma state 164/366
Defensive Summary, Advantage: Texas
Opponents’ Total Offense (Texas/Tech)
Iowa State 228/287
Oklahoma State 594/610
Opponents’ First Downs (Texas/Tech)
Iowa State 14/17
Oklahoma State 29/29 Baylor 19/21
On total defense, Texas has the clear advantage holding the same opponents to less first downs and less total offense. Texas Tech does have a primarily pass offense, but without a solid rushing threat they will have trouble exploiting our defense. Pass defense may be our weakest point, but Texas has a rush/pass offense that Tech may have trouble defending. This isn’t our first rodeo with Tech, and you can bet that we’ll be ready.
Texas will win this game. We have the overall defensive advantage and a serious weapon in Jamaal Charles. The rushing attack is the key to beating Texas Tech.
Texas also has the X-factor and the home field advantage. It causes me near cardiac arrest every game, but even if we are down at halftime we will make adjustments and we will come back and win.
Texas Keys To Winning This Game:
-Pressure pressure pressure on Harrell.
-Make them earn all offensive yards, so no broken tackles. After the first hit, our opponents usually eek out another 3-4 yards until another defender jumps in.
-Rush, rush, pass pass. Wear out their pass defense and expose their joke of a rush defense.
-Colt, we normally give you two credits per game for interceptions, fumbles etc. I’m going to have to ask you to not do that at all, okay?