Rivals Texas Tech, Texas set for Big 12 opener

Field Level Media

September 22, 2021 at 12:46 pm.

Undefeated Texas Tech will head south to face once-beaten Texas as both teams begin Big 12 Conference play Saturday in Austin in a dustup that’s sure to be hard-hitting.

There’s no love lost between the Longhorns and Red Raiders, with five of the past six games in the series being decided by eight points or less.

Texas (2-1) dismantled Rice 58-0 last Saturday behind a rushing attack that produced 427 yards. Bijan Robinson racked up 127 yards and three touchdowns while Roschon Johnson added 112 yards on three carries.

“(We need to bring) that physicality to the run game this week,” Robinson said. “When we run the ball well and effectively, then it is hard for the other team to stop us and hard for the other team to get adjusted to it.

“That Rice game was good for us to get our minds right and our minds back for the Big 12 Conference. It’s just good to have that kind of confidence and understanding that we are going to play a really good team.”

Fourth-year quarterback Casey Thompson, making his first start since he was a senior in high school in 2017, hit on 15 of 18 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Texas scored touchdowns on seven of the eight possessions with Thompson in the game, and in eight of its 10 drives.

The Texas defense – which was gouged by now-No. 16 Arkansas for 333 rushing yards in a 40-21 loss on Sept. 11 – allowed Rice just 284 total yards of offense.

The Red Raiders (3-0) will head to Austin after an impressive 54-21 home win over Florida International last Saturday. It’s the first time Tech has started 3-0 since 2017.

Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns in the win, going 26-of-35 on his throws to 11 different receivers.

“It was just part of the progression,” Shough said. “Guys are getting open. I feel like our chemistry is going to do nothing but get better.”

Something has to give on Saturday. Texas loves to run the ball, and Texas Tech moved up to No. 9 in the FBS in rushing defense after the FIU game, giving up an average of 57.3 yards per game.

“We certainly know that it’s going to get much tougher starting this week,” Tech coach Matt Wells said. “We recognize that. We know that.”

Texas leads 53-17 over the Red Raiders in the all-time series between the schools, with victories in 10 of the past 12 matchups. The Longhorns won 63-56 in overtime in Lubbock last season.