LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Red Raiders are hitting the road for the first time under head coach Matt Wells when they take on Arizona on Saturday.
Texas Tech hasn't faced the Wildcats since 1989 but has an overall record 26-4-2 against Arizona.
So, here are my three keys to victory for the (2-0) Red Raiders to defeat the (1-1) Arizona Wildcats.
Don't get into a track meet: Both head coaches said in their press conferences on Monday that they believe that this game will be a track meet. No doubt, there will be big plays and a lot of scoring, but if you are Texas Tech - you don't want a track meet. Now, Coach Wells says he isn't afraid of being in a track meet, but a track meet would kill all the confidence/momentum that the Red Raider defense has built. So far this season, the Red Raider have been stellar at getting off of the field on third downs (opponents are 4 for 31 on third down) and Tech will want to keep that trend going, this week.
"Yeah, and I'm not scared to get in a track meet with them," Red Raider Football head coach Matt Wells said. "Don't get me wrong. We were talking about trying to play defense earlier. That's what that was in relation to. Our defense doesn't want to get into a track meet with them, nobody does. We don't want to get into a track meet with anybody, and then we're certainly going to face similar teams in the Big 12."
Don't lose yourself on the road: For the first time this season, we will see the Red Raiders in action in a different stadium when they take on Arizona. So, it is important that the Red Raiders don't reinvent the wheel, and stick to what they know - otherwise, they might find themselves in trouble in someone else's house.
"It's the best opponent we've played all year," Wells said. It will be the hardest environment because it's our first game on the road, certainly know that. I've been in that stadium and that crowd's loud. Been in there at a Bowl game, as an opposing coach on the other sidelines, yeah, it will be the biggest challenge we've had all year."
Slow down Khalil Tate: Coming into this game, the Red Raider defense has been solid but really hasn't been tested against a power-five offense yet. So, coming into the game - I think it will be a shootout in the desert, lead by two of the nations top passers in Alan Bowman and Khalil Tate. Tate is a dual-threat quarterback that busted out onto the scene in 2017 but struggles when he has pressure on him. Get this, last season when he was under pressure - Tate completed less than 40-percent of his passes. So, it is vital that the front seven gets some pressure, forces him to scramble, and if they can do that - then they could possibly capitalize on an interception.
"Arizona will be the most talented team we've played so far," Matt Wells said. "Obviously their skill is really good. Khalil Tate has been there for several years. Very familiar with him. Dual-threat guy. Throws the ball very well and when he pulls it and runs, he's a threat to hit a home run every single time."
Prediction: I am surprisingly confident in the Red Raiders heading into their first road game of the season. According to Vegas, Texas Tech is a two-and-a-half point favorite to beat the Wildcats, and I think Red Raiders will exceed that. Arizona has a good offense, but I am not convinced that their defense will be able to contain Texas Tech. So, I am going Texas Tech routes Arizona, 45-27 to close out non-conference play.