LUBBOCK, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns hit the road for a (less) daunting trip to Lubbock, but expect the Red Raiders to give Tom Herman’s crew a challenge.
The Longhorns open the Big 12 portion of the schedule Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Jones AT&T Stadium with an expected capacity of 25%. Texas is a massive favorite to start the season 2-0 after their dominance over a powerless UTEP team and Tech’s close escape against Houston Baptist two weeks ago.
However, Longhorns coach Tom Herman has done his best this week to pump the brakes on the assumptions as the expectations from outside the Texas football program continue to climb about Texas football in 2020.
Two weeks ago, senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger distributed the ball around the yard to 10 Longhorns receivers in the season opener, compiling 45 points in a half of work. The offense, under new coordinator Mike Yurcich, looked great in the 59-3 rout. If there were any complaints, perhaps the Longhorns could have run the ball better.
Texas Tech’s game one performance looked like Texas Tech’s performances from the past. An offense that can score with anybody and a defense that will allow anyone to score. The Red Raiders needed to stop Houston Baptist on a two-point conversion to keep their lead and win the game 35-33.
It’s a common coaching cliche’ to say college football teams improve the most between week one and week two of the season. Texas expects to see a much-improved Texas Tech team on Saturday and a healthier team after the Red Raiders battled several COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the program during the offseason.
Tech is led by quarterback Alan Bowman, who posted similar passing numbers to Ehlinger during week one just with three less touchdowns. Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells will certainly have some surprises ready for a talented and untested Texas defense.
Lubbock has the reputation as an intimidating road trip, but it hasn’t been that way for Texas in recent years. The Longhorns have won five straight in Lubbock with the last loss coming in a fairly memorable game for both fanbases in 2008.
Most Longhorns fans can remember where they were in 2008 when Tech receiver Michael Crabtree pulled away from the Longhorns defense and shattered Texas’ hopes of reaching the BCS National Championship.
Two years ago, in Herman’s first trip to Lubbock, there was another wild ending between the Longhorns and Red Raiders. Texas created multiple turnovers for a 41-34 win, but they blew a 17-point lead in the last 10 minutes of the game. Ehlinger had to throw a touchdown pass to Lil’Jordan Humphrey with 21 seconds remaining to prevent the collapse.
Who knows if another wild finish is in store Saturday between the Longhorns and Red Raiders. However, this much is true — this will be the first chance to really learn anything about this year’s versions of Texas or Texas Tech.
How much did each team improve between week one and week two?