Rivals Texas and Texas Tech have plenty to play for on Friday night. The visiting Red Raiders need a win or they will miss a bowl game for the third time in four seasons.
The Longhorns became bowl-eligible last week and want to build on their end-of-season momentum. “I think that’s what makes this game so important, is that momentum,” first-year Texas coach Tom Herman said. “We need to build on the momentum that we have right now. We’ve got confident kids in that locker room and winning this one would go a long way to building upon that.” Texas will lean on its defense - which is allowing 19.4 points and 355.9 total yards in Big 12 Conference play - to slow the Red Raiders. Texas Tech averages 35 points and 475.1 yards but struggles in the red zone are a concern.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox. LINE: Texas -10.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (5-6, 2-6 Big 12): Nic Shimonek has thrown for 3,451 yards and 28 touchdowns, while junior Keke Coutee (1,074 receiving yards, nine touchdowns) needs 69 yards to crack the school’s single-season top 10 in receiving yards. Leading rusher Justin Stockton (649 yards, four touchdowns) recorded his fifth career 100-yard game last week and the Red Raiders should have injured Tre King (575 yards, four touchdowns) back this week. Texas Tech ranks 127th out of 129 FBS teams in red zone offense (64.7 percent), failing to score inside the 20 with four turnovers on downs, five turnovers and eight missed field goals.
ABOUT TEXAS (6-5, 5-3): Herman said freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger (1,564 yards, nine touchdowns, five interceptions) will start but sophomore Shane Buechele (1,344 yards, six touchdowns, four interceptions) will get some snaps during the game. The return of left tackle Connor Williams helped the Longhorns rush for 233 yards last week behind Daniel Young (270 yards, two TDs) and Ehlinger (333 yards, two TDs). Junior defensive back DeShon Elliott, who is ranked second nationally with six interceptions to go along with 57 tackles, was named one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award.
1. Texas junior P Michael Dickson, who leads the nation with 48 yards per punt after breaking the school record at 47.4 yards last year, is one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award.
2. Texas Tech leads the Big 12 with 23 takeaways and has forced at least one turnover in each game for the first time since 2009.
3. Texas LB Breckyn Hager (18 tackles, four sacks) will miss the first half Friday after being ejected last week for targeting.
PREDICTION: Texas 38, Texas Tech 20