Football on the 40: Previewing Texas vs. Texas Tech

Football on the 40: Previewing Texas vs Texas Tech
Texas Longhorns vs Texas Tech | Image by Will Gallagher/Inside Texas

The Texas Longhorns football team is primed and ready to begin Big 12 conference play. The first three games of the season have shown Texas fans that the program is on track, but the Longhorns have yet to be tested on the road. That will change this Saturday as the Longhorns travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech.

The 2022 Texas football season started with three consecutive games in DKR Memorial Stadium. Texas began this season with a 52-10 win over ULM and continued in Week 2 with an impressive showing against a No.1 Alabama team. Following the gigantic Week 2 matchup, Texas again performed nicely on the field with a win against an experienced but overmatched UTSA team. Texas has started this football season 3-0 against the spread.

The Longhorns appear to be much improved from last season on the defensive side of the ball, allowing only 16.7 points per game. Sarkisian’s offense is also performing well despite injury challenges at the quarterback position. Texas is averaging just over 37 points per game, and star running back Bijan Robinson has totaled 311 rushing yards, five rushing TDs, and one receiving TD so far this season.

Texas’ first big test in Big 12 conference play comes on the road this weekend against Texas Tech. As of Wednesday this week, the No.22 Longhorns are favored to defeat the Red Raiders by 6.5 points. Texas Tech already has a win against a ranked opponent at home after beating then-No.25 Houston in 2OT. Last week the Red Raiders lost on the road 14-27 to No.16 NC State.

Similar to the Longhorns, the Red Raiders have already had some turnover at the quarterback position. Prior to the season, Tyler Shough (former transfer from Oregon) was named the starter by Tech head coach Joey McGuire. Shough left the first game versus Murray State early in the second quarter with a left shoulder injury. Backup quarterback Donovan Smith has taken over at the position since Shough’s injury.

Smith has had mixed results since the injury to Shough with 7 passing TDs and 5 interceptions; Smith has also given up 10 sacks. The Tech offense has struggled to establish their running game with only 305 rushing yards through three games, accounting for 21% of their yards offensively. Despite an unbalanced offensive attack and turnover troubles, the Red Raiders are sure to pose a challenge. The Red Raiders are averaging 475 yards and 36.7 points per game.

Tech’s defense has displayed a serious ability to stop the run, having only allowed one running back this season more than 60 yards on the ground. The matchup between Tech’s defense and the Texas rushing attack is likely to determine the outcome of the game.

So far in the 2022 season, both Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson are averaging over 6 yards per carry for Texas. If Robinson and Johnson are able to maintain their production, Texas should cruise to a win in Lubbock.

Faltering at the start of conference play would be a huge loss for Steve Sarkisian’s Longhorns. At Football on the 40, three out of four of us are picking a win for the Horns.

Football on the 40 is a weekly Texas Football podcast hosted by several deeply passionate Longhorn football fans and longtime friends Kevin Mathis, Jake Robinson, Andrew Harris, and Bowen Cai. Football on the 40 profiles the highs and lows of the Texas fan experience and dives deep into upcoming Texas games, weekly betting odds, and picks across college football. New episodes are posted every Thursday during the college football season on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Football on the 40 is produced by Hamilton Leiser.

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