LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Red Raiders are coming off their first win in the Matt Wells era, and are now gearing up for their first night game of the season as they host UTEP.
Vegas odds say Texas Tech enters the game as 34.5-point favorites to beat the Miners.
So, here are my three keys to victory for the Red Raiders to beat the Miners and start the season 2-0.
Stop UTEP’s rushing attack: In their first game of the season, Miners running back Treyvon Hughes ran onto the scene. The senior had a career day in the Miners opener against Houston Baptist, as he scored more touchdowns (2) in a single game than he had in his entire career (1) while averaging 6.3 yards per carry. And, when you look at the tape - Hughes running style is focused on getting downhill and not worrying about cutting or anything fancy. So, if the Red Raider defensive line and linebackers have a similar game to last week, they should be able to limit UTEP’s rushing attack.
“He’s a big, solid, physical back. He’s downhill. He’s not making too many moves,” Broderick Washington said. “He’s trying to get north and south right now. But with our running backs, it’s pretty much the same thing. They’re trying to get downhill. They don’t make a lot of moves. I feel the preparation we have leading up into the game will be pretty good for us. We’ll be ready for them come Saturday.”
Throw the rock: To be simple, the Red Raider offense should destroy the Miner secondary. Last week against Houston Baptist, the UTEP secondary gave up 300 yards and two touchdowns through the air on 27 completions. With Alan Bowman looking like he was in mid-season form in the 45-10 blow out win over Montana State, I would expect the Red Raiders to throw the football with a healthy dose of the running attack.
"I 100% respect UTEP. We'll have to play better than we did Saturday to win the game this week," Matt Wells said. "Our guys have to understand that. I believe in how we're going to practice on Monday. This afternoon is the most important thing I'm worried about right now. The rest of the preparation, as soon as I get out of here, start continuing to game plan. But the preparation this afternoon and the practice is all I'm worried about, then tomorrow morning 6:30 game plan, install meeting. That's all that's on my mind. All that needs to be on the players' minds. We have to instill that as an attitude to them, it's all about us, what we do, how we prepare. You don't just wing it on game day and roll the ball out and win. That doesn't happen, I don't believe. I don't believe you can do that once we get to this league. Everything we do has to be the same or equal or more investment every single week."
Don’t overlook your opponent: Last week this was one of the keys, and yet again - here it is. After taking down their FCS opponent (Montana State), the Red Raiders are now set to host a struggling FBS program in UTEP. The Miners went 0-12 in 2017 and won just one game, last year. Plus, their victory over Houston Baptist gave them their first victory at the Sun Bowl since November of 2016... Those aren’t stats that you would want, so it is vital that the Red Raiders don’t over look the Miners and take care of business.
Final Thoughts: Texas Tech is still getting used to their new coaching staff, but I think they will be just fine against UTEP. Vegas says Texas Tech is a heavy favorite, and so this should be an easy day to keep sharpening things up.
Devin's Prediction: 65-20 Texas Tech wins
Pete’s Prediction: 55-10 Texas Tech wins