When Texas Tech takes the field at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium to battle the Texas Longhorns for state bragging rights, students may need a second glance to process Tech’s new look.
The Red Raiders will unveil new “Lone Star Pride” uniforms made by Under Armour for this edition of the rivalry between Tech and Texas.
Senior quarterback Seth Doege is ranked seventh nationally among Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks for passing yards with 317.5 yards per game and leads the nation in passing touchdowns with 30.
Doege said it is important the Red Raiders fine-tune their rushing game, focusing mainly on preventing turnovers.
“It’s going to be a big week for us to execute and then work on winning man-to-man routes and protecting and running the football,” Doege said.
Texas’ defense is allowing more than 440 yards per game, earning them a ranking of 96th in the nation for total defense. The Longhorns are ranked even lower — 108th — in rushing defense, surrendering an average of 218 yards per game.
Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said the Longhorn defense appears decent in most areas except for stopping the run.
“The thing Texas has done is they’ve played pretty well other than people running the ball,” he said. “You look at the West Virginia game — and we played West Virginia the week after — we were worried to death about stopping the run. They had one guy that rushed for 200 yards. Their rushing defense is what’s giving them some problems.”
Tech’s defense remains ranked near the top in most defensive categories. Tech is ranked 12th in total defense, however, after allowing Kansas State to rush for 193 yards last week, the Red Raiders have slipped down to 27th in rushing defense.
There also is an obvious rivalry aspect present between Tech and Texas.
Senior safety D.J. Johnson said being from Austin and also being a senior only elevates the importance of this weekend’s game against Texas.
“I’m from Austin. It’s huge for me,” he said. “We haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here. I take this a little personal. So we just have to go out there and continue to play. I’m going to continue to do my job as a senior leader and player on this team to make sure that I’m assignment-sound and I’m keeping us motivated and being inspirational in every way that I can.”
This could prove problematic for the Red Raiders as Texas’ offensive attack also is built around the Longhorns ability to run the football and run it often. Texas’ rushing attack ranks 32nd among all FBS schools, averaging 197 yards per game on the ground.
Johnson said he chooses not to worry about what the Longhorns may or may not do on offense. Instead, he thinks Tech’s defensive focus needs to be on creating turnovers to keep the pressure off of the offense.
“We know what we’re capable of on defense,” he said. “The most frustrating thing about us is — I always talk to our guys — I mean, right now, it seems like we’re the best defense with no turnovers. We haven’t gotten many turnovers in games, and that’s a battle you have to win. You give another team turnovers, and if we’re not getting turnovers against good teams, you’re not going to win those games.”
Sophomore running back Kenny Williams alerted Tech fans and people across the nation on his Twitter account that sophomore tight end Jace Amaro will be active for the game against the Longhorns. Amaro missed two weeks of game action after an injury sustained in the Homecoming win against West Virginia.