After Texas Tech put on a brilliant offensive performance last week and almost upset No. 4 TCU, more and more people are starting to realize that this team should not be too much undermined.
Baylor, on the other hand, has been criticized for not playing truly tough opponents. Assuming Patrick Mahomes plays, the Bears could be in trouble this Saturday.
Mahomes took a hit last week in the game versus TCU and had to wear a brace for the rest of the game. While his mobility was limited, he still threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns despite the hurt left knee. He is assumed to be a game-time decision from Kliff Kingsbury’s comments from Tuesday’s practice.
If Mahomes plays, the Baylor defensive backs are doomed. Last year, Mahomes, as a freshman, threw for 598 yards and six touchdowns against this exact same secondary in a 48-46 loss in Arlington.
This year, he has led the Red Raiders to be nationally ranked No. 2 in passing offense and No. 5 in total offense. Each receiver is a threat, as five different receivers have at least two touchdowns on the year.
To assist Mahomes, the running game is taking off for the first time in years for this team. DeAndre Washington is averaging 8.2 yards per carry in 2015 and is coming off of a four touchdown performance last week.
Conversely, Baylor’s defense (especially the secondary) hasn’t been playing too greatly. From missed tackles to blown coverages, this defense needs to be sharper entering Big 12 play.
As ESPN’s Max Olson pointed out Wednesday, “The Bears’ rate of forcing three-and-outs is down. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 60 percent of their passes. With just six takeaways, Baylor’s turnover margin entering Big 12 play is zero.” In addition, Texas Tech is highly ranked in third-down conversions, first downs, total offense, and TFLs allowed and will cause problems for the Bears.
However, Texas Tech is going to need a miracle to stop Baylor’s offense. The Red Raiders have given up an averaged 300+ yards per game in the air and 250+ yards on the ground.
To go against that, Baylor leads the nation in rushing yards a game (379.7) and passing touchdowns (17) through three games. No one on Texas Tech has proven to stop the hands of Corey Coleman, the speed of KD Cannon, or the athleticism of Jay Lee.
While this could be one of the highest scoring games ever, one defense will have to step up to win this game – and it looks like Baylor has the advantage in this department.
Pass rushers Shawn Oakman and Andrew Billings will make it tough on a limited Mahomes and offensive line that has only given up one sack all year and possibly force some bad throws (which is something Mahomes has seemed to avoid all year).
Last year, Baylor won this matchup against a burnt-out Texas Tech team that had nothing to prove while Baylor was hungry for a playoff spot. This year, Texas Tech is out to prove that it can be a legitimate team as Mahomes has established himself as a dominant force.
Get used to the phrase “And that’s another touchdown” because you may hear it about 15 times during this shootout. Except, I say you hear it a few more times in Baylor’s favor as the Bears take home the trophy (yes, there’s an actual trophy this year).