Arizona State vs. Texas Tech: 3 Keys to Victory for Tech

Arizona State vs. Texas Tech: 3 Keys to Victory for Tech
Arizona State vs. Texas Tech

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The bye week is over, which means Red Raider football is back.

This week's opponent comes in off their first loss of the season to San Diego State -- the Arizona State Sun Devils.

We all remember how the game played out last year, it was a shootout in Arizona, where Tech lost 68-55, and Arizona State's Kalen Ballage ran for a NCAA Record eight touchdowns in the game.

So here are my three keys to victory for Texas Tech to beat Arizona State and start the season 2-0:

Run the Rock:  The last time we saw the Red Raiders in action, they ran the ball more than they passed it (40 running attempts to 35 passing attempts). So, by Tech doing that it opened more of the offense for senior quarterback Nic Shimonek. With Justin Stockton, Desmond Nisby, Demarcus Felton and Trey King all complementing each other in the backfield. I would look for the Red Raiders to keep handing the ball of more than they are passing it.

"Ideally that's what we want to do, we want to be 50-50 and last year we were way heavy on the passing," Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech football coach, said. "Obviously, we couldn't run the ball, and we relied way too much on Patrick (Mahomes) to get it done. So, this year there is a heavy emphasis on trying to be better at running the football. As long as we can do that, we will run it as much as we will throw it."

Contain the Sun Devil running attack: This one had to be here this week. Simply stated, Texas Tech must contain the Sun Devil running attack. Last year, Arizona State rushed for a total of 301 yards and seven touchdowns. Kalen Ballage lead the way for the Sun Devils with 137 yards on the ground and 8 total touchdowns (7 rushing and 1 passing). It was the “Sparky” formation that killed the Red Raiders last year, and they know they must stop it this year if they want to get the win.

"Yeah, I think we've taken a long, hard look at that," Kingsbury said. "I think after last year, the problems that gave us we've definitely had some focus on that, and hopefully we can do a better job of slowing that down this season."

Win the Turnover Battle: When you think of last year's game against Arizona State, (besides Ballage running at will) you think of Tech turning the ball over twice in critical moments of the game to the Sun Devils. Those at the end of the game, were the difference in the outcome. So, Tech knows the importance of winning the turnover battle this Saturday.

"It's huge. I felt like that was the difference in last year's game even though it got to be a shootout when you give up a safety and have two turnovers and they don't have, you're not going to win those games on the road," Kingsbury said. "Preached that all season. I think our team understands that that's going to be huge in every game we play moving forward is being able to win that turnover battle, so hopefully we can find a way to get it done."

Final Thoughts: Some members of the team might not say this, but this is a revenge game for the Red Raiders. They all remember how they felt after leaving Tempe, Arizona last year. Even defensive lineman Broderick Washington said, "It was embarrassing," talking about last year's game. So, the team needs to remember how they felt after last season, and take that mentality to the field.

If Texas Tech can keep these three keys in mind, I'd look for the Red Raiders to start the season 2-0.

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