Game Preview: Texas

Game Preview: Texas

Texas Tech Football Texas Tech Football

LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech will play under the Jones AT&T Stadium lights for a second-straight week Saturday when the Red Raiders host No. 15 Texas in a 6:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will serve as Senior Day as Tech will honor its 26 seniors prior to kickoff.
 
The game will broadcast to a national audience on FOX with Tim Brando on the call alongside analyst Spencer Tillman and sideline reporter Jon Morosi. Fans can also find the game on any streaming device by using the FOX Sports Go app.
 
The Texas Tech Sports Network will also broadcast the game over 46 affiliates throughout the state of Texas and New Mexico as Brian Jensen will have the call alongside analyst John Harris, sideline reporter Chris Level and engineer Steve Pitts. The radio broadcast can also be heard on Sirius channel 113, XM channel 199 or via the TuneIn app.
 
Tickets for Saturday's Celebrate America game are still available for purchase online or by calling the Tech Ticket Office at 806-742-TECH.
 
INSIDE THE TEXAS SERIES

Texas Tech and Texas will be meeting for the 68th time in history and the 59th-consecutive year Saturday when the Red Raiders host the Longhorns at Jones AT&T Stadium. The Longhorns control a 50-17 all-time advantage in the series, which includes a 20-10 advantage in games played in Lubbock.

The Red Raiders have won two of the past three meetings against their in-state rival as Texas Tech secured a 48-45 victory in 2015 and a 27-23 win a year ago. Tech had not previously won back-to-back games in Austin in school history.

Texas Tech will be looking for its first win over Texas at home since the thrilling 39-33 victory in 2008. The Longhorns were the top-ranked team in the country before Graham Harrell found Michael Crabtree on a 28-yard touchdown strike with only one second remaining. Tech will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of that team this weekend.

The Red Raiders will be looking for back-to-back wins over Texas for the fifth time in program history and the first time since the 1997-98 seasons.

Kliff Kingsbury is 2-3 during his tenure against Texas. He needs one more win to rank second all-time among Tech head coaches for wins over Texas, trailing only Spike Dykes (6).

 
TEXAS CONNECTIONS

John Bonney will be familiar with almost every player on the Longhorns' roster as the senior transferred to Texas Tech midway through preseason practices in August. Bonney transferred from the University of Texas where he recorded 87 career tackles along with an interception, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and 14 pass breakups over 37 games, including 15 starts.

On the Texas Tech staff, defensive backs coach Clay Jennings was on the Texas staff just two years ago as he spent the 2016 campaign in the same role with the Longhorns.

Strength and conditioning coach Rusty Whitt served one year as a graduate assistant at the University of Texas from 1996-97. He earned his master's degree in kinesiology during that time.

 

PARKER SHOCKS TEXAS WITH INTERCEPTION IN 2017 WIN

Justus Parker changed the course of Texas Tech's season a year ago against Texas as he picked off Sam Ehlinger and returned it 52 yards deep into Longhorns territory with only two minutes remaining. It was Parker's fourth and most important interception of the season. Texas Tech scored the go-ahead touchdown shortly after as Nic Shimonek found Cameron Batson on a 16-yard strike in the corner of the end zone. Texas Tech secured the victory on Texas' next drive as Douglas Coleman III stepped in front of an Ehlinger pass at the Tech 20 yard line.  

 
NEWS & NOTES

Texas Tech continues to rank among the nation's offensive leaders as the Red Raiders are second in passing offense (375.6 yards per game) and then ninth in both scoring (42.7 points per game) and total offense (522.1 yards per game). Tech is also second nationally with 256 first downs.

The Red Raiders are averaging 42.7 points per game, which ranks ninth nationally and second in the Big 12. Texas Tech is currently on pace to average at least 40 points per game for the third time in a four-year stretch and the sixth time in school history.

A victory over Texas would mark Texas Tech's second win over a ranked opponent this season. The Red Raiders had not previously notched multiple wins over top-25 foes in a season since Kliff Kingsbury's debut in 2013.

Texas Tech is tied with both West Virginia and Oklahoma for the fewest fumbles lost in the Big 12 this season with three. That number ranks tied for seventh nationally.

Texas Tech has scored in 90 percent of its red zone appearances this season (45-of-50), which is a drastic improvement on a year ago where drives resulted in points on only 69.4 percent of red zone entries. Tech currently ranks 21st nationally and second in the Big 12 for red zone offense after finishing 125th in the country and last in the league in 2017.

Texas Tech has scored in each of its last 14 visits to the red zone as the Red Raiders have found points in all but three of their 29 drives inside the 20 during Big 12 play.

Texas Tech has been successful on third and fourth downs this season on both sides of the ball as the Red Raiders currently rank 11th nationally in fourth down defense (.333), 12th in fourth down offensive percentage (.692), 22nd in third down offensive conversion (.453) and 30th in third down defense (.338).

The Red Raiders have not previously closed their home schedule with consecutive games against ranked opponents since 1998 when Texas Tech hosted No. 18 Missouri on Oct. 31 and then No. 18 Texas two weeks later. Tech split that two-game stretch, falling to Missouri, 28-26, before shocking the Longhorns, 42-35, to secure an Independence Bowl bid.

Dating back to the start of the 2002 season, Texas Tech is 39-13 in night games at Jones AT&T Stadium, a 75.0 winning percentage. Under Kilff Kingsbury, Tech is 8-5 in home night games with wins in four of its last seven games under the lights.

Texas represents the third-straight opponent for the Red Raiders that is currently ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll. Texas Tech has dropped each of its last two games, falling to Iowa State, 40-31, in Ames and then No. 7 Oklahoma, 51-46, last weekend at home.


 
WESLEY AMONG NATION'S BEST

Antoine Wesley ranks among the top breakout performances from the first half of the season as the junior currently ranks second nationally with 1,176 receiving yards and receiving yards per game (130.7) this season. Wesley entered this season with 12 catches for 146 yards over his first two seasons. He was added to the Biletnikoff Award watch list a few weeks ago, which is presented annually to the nation's top receiver regardless of position.

In addition to ranking second nationally in both receiving yards per game and overall receiving yards, Wesley also ranks third among FBS receivers in receptions per game (7.8) and 19th in all-purpose yards per game (130.4).

Wesley entered the single-season top 10 for receiving yards versus Oklahoma as he is now one yard shy of matching Carlos Francis (2003) and Jarrett Hicks (2004) for eighth all-time. Another 100-yard performance this weekend versus Texas would move him as far up as fifth on the chart. Two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree set the single-season school record with 1,962 receiving yards in 2017. Wesley will need 253 additional yards to match former teammate Keke Coutee for second place.

Wesley's 199 yards against Oklahoma marked his third game of 150 or more yards this season, which leads all power-five wide receivers. Wesley is the first Red Raider to notch at least 100 receiving yards in three-straight Big 12 games since Jace Amaro did so over four-consecutive games (Iowa State, WVU, OU, OSU) midway through the 2013 season.

 
SPECIAL TEAMS WATCH

Australian punter Dominic Panazzolo has limited opponents to only four returns this year over his 45 punts, 20 of which have been downed inside the 20. Panazzolo is averaging 42.6 yards per punt so far this year, just above his 41.4 clip from his debut in 2017.

Texas Tech leads the Big 12 and is tied for third nationally with only fourth punt returns allowed this season. Opponents have combined for 19 yards on returns this season as Panazzolo has not had a punt returned longer than 12 yards during his career (105 career punts).  Behind Panazzolo, Texas Tech currently ranks 24th nationally and third in the Big 12 for punt return defense.

texas Tech's special teams performance has earned both Panazzolo and Clayton Hatfield extra recognition this season on national watch lists. Panazzolo is a candidate for the Ray Guy Award (top punter), while Hatfield is already a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award (top place kicker).

Hatfield has been among the most accurate kickers in college football this season as he is 12-of-13 on field goal attempts and a perfect 48-of-48 on PATs. Hatfield currently ranks tied for nationally with a .923 field goal percentage as he is one of 20 candidates for the Lou Groza Award.

Hatfield has opportunity to solidify his name as one of the top kickers in school history this season as the senior is currently third all-time with 45 career field goals. Hatfield will need to connect on five additional field goals in 2018 to match Ryan Bustin's career record of 50 field goals from the 2012-14 seasons.

Hatfield has connected on 45-of-53 field goal attempts over his career, which is good for an .849 average. He leads Big 12 players and ranks fourth nationally in career field goal percentage among active kickers with at least 30 attempts.

 --TECH--

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