Everything You Need to Know About the Texas-Texas Tech Thanksgiving Game
Thanksgiving week is here. Texas Tech will play Texas on Thanksgiving this Thursday, November 26. The game will be on at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1, so turn that TV toward your dinner table so you can watch the game while catching up with your uncle.
Ahead of the game, Texas coach Charlie Strong is making waves online for some comments he made about Texas Tech during his weekly press conference.
"Very good offensively, very explosive. Defensively we are going to have a lot of issues," Strong said. "One of the stats that's really alarming is on 3rd down they are no. 1 in the country. We have not been able to get off the field on 3rd down. It's been a problem for us. We need to play good at home."
Twice during Strong's press conference, he assured the Longhorns media that he was going to have to get his players excited. "It's Texas Tech, but it's big for us," he said, drawing a collective grimace from West Texas.
Defensively, UT is ranked 119th in 3rd down defense, letting teams convert 47 percent of the time. One of the only teams worse than UT is Texas Tech, who clocks in at 125th in the nation and a 51 percent conversion rate. The Texas Tech offense, like Strong mentioned, is no. 1 in the nation on 3rd down conversions. UT is 84th, only converting 37 percent of the time.
These 3rd down match-ups will be the difference in the game.
Coach Kingsbury held a press conference on Monday too, but did not have as many things to compliment as Coach Strong.
"They're one of those teams that's talented enough to beat anybody in the country on a given day," Kingsbury said. "You've seen that with some of the games they've had, and I think they struggle with the consistency similar to what we have with some of their younger players, but all very talented. You know you're going to get their best shot Senior Day."
Speaking of Senior Day, does UT have any Seniors? Did they not all leave or get kicked off the team when Strong got there? From what I can tell, there are 10 guys that will be playing and are seniors, two of which are receivers. So it's hard to justify their impact in the game.
Even with Texas being incredibly excited for this game, I think Texas Tech will be able to score. The key will be to score early. In Charlie Strong's era, Texas is 0-11 when the other team scores first. Tech has had trouble starting fast on the road (like in Lawrence), but I do not think that Tech makes that mistake twice.
Patrick "Mahonies" Mahomes needs only 89 yards to get to 4,000 on the season. If the game starts fast, he will surpass that total in the first quarter and he'll be the 7th Texas Tech QB to do so and the first since Seth Doege, who did it in 2011 and 2012.Mahomes at 3rd all time on the career yardage list.
The running game will continue as DeAndre Washington needs 92 yards to pass Byron Hanspard for 5th best on the single season rushing yard list -- an ultimately meaningless stat that would still be very cool for Washington to accomplish.
Before the Kansas State game, I was going to write about how the Texas running game was going to run for 300-plus yards and how the defense was going to lay down in Austin and bide its time until 2016. Then, the defense showed life against K-state, a potent running game AND they got to rest a week.
It may be a small sample size, but I think the defense from the first half of the first quarter against Oklahoma State and the second half of UTEP and the K-state game is going to show up in Austin and will make UT's offense uncomfortable.
It also helps that James Gray and D'Onta Foreman are likely to be out on Thursday and the offensive line is dealing with new injuries as well.
That does not mean Strong is out of weapons. "J-Gray is banged up a little, so we're gonna go with 25, and then Johnson and Bernard," Strong said. "Right now, 25 will be our key guy."
No. 25 being Chris Warren, who has not played much since Texas lost to Cal -- partly due to ankle injury, and partly due to the emergence of Foreman as the lead back in the Longhorns attack.
The game being in Austin, the history, the records...it all points to Texas winning another game.
Tech is due, though.
Kliff and his squad are due for a signature win. A win in Austin gives them that. Even if UT is down.
The recreational betting line is -2 for UT, and I'll give them 8 points for the DKR affect. Still give me Tech straight up.
Final score prediction: 35 - 25 Texas Tech