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Texas Tech: Ringing the Victory Bells

Texas Tech football helmet on turf at Big 12 Media Days
Image Credit: Paul Tanner/PD Photography

Texas Tech came out with guns blazing last season in year one of head coach Joey McGuire's tenure in Lubbock. The Red Raiders won three out of their first four games, including a win over Texas, and kept fans glued to their seats in Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturdays last fall. They finished 8-5, winning their final four games, including a win over Ole Miss in the Texas Bowl.

This year, they return their entire offense and will begin the 2023 season ranked #24 in the USA Today Sports/AFCA Coaches Poll. And, season tickets for Texas Tech football are now SOLD OUT.


The Red Raiders Offense

The Red Raiders produced the 2nd ranked offense in the Big-12 (461 yards/game) in 2022 under offensive coordinator ZachKittley. In addition, they ranked fourth in the league in scoring offense, scoring 34 points per game.

Kittley’s offense was aggressive as they went for it on 4th down 52 times and converted 33 of those attempts, for a .635 conversion percentage. That was good enough to rank 16th in the FBS.

The quarterback room is led by Tyler Shough and also Behren Morton. Shough is a fifth-year senior but missed six games in the first half of last season. He passed for 1304 yards, 7 TDs, and 4 interceptions. In addition, Shough added four rushing touchdowns. Shough passed for 436 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT in a 51-48 win over Oklahoma.

Shough has been named to the 2023 Maxwell Award Watch List.

Morton played in six games in 2022 and passed for 1117 yards, 7 TDs, and 6 INTs. He threw for over 300 yards in back-to-back games:

· 379 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT in a 41-31 loss to Oklahoma State.

· 325 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs in a 48-10 win over West Virginia.

Tahj Brooks leads the running back corps. Brooks rushed for 691 yards and 7 TDs. He rushed for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns in the win over West Virginia. In addition, he rushed for three touchdowns in the season-opening win over Murray State.

Brooks has been named to the 2023 Doak Walker Award Watch List.

When it comes to catching a football, the Red Raiders return two of the best in Jerand Bradley and Myles Price. Both combined for 102 catches.

Bradley totaled 744 yards receiving and six touchdowns. He went over the century mark three times last season. In the win over Oklahoma, Bradley caught eight passes for 173 yards and a score.

Bradley has been named to the 2023 Biletnikoff Award Watch List.

Price totaled 513 yards and two touchdowns. Texas Tech also returns WR Nehemiah Martinez (32 catches, 394 yards, and 2 TDs) and Loic Fouonji (34 catches, 451 yards, 3 TDs).

The offensive line will be massive and returns three starters at 6-5 and over 300 pounds, plus Cole Spencer (he missed 2022 with an injury). C Rusty Staats transfers in from Western Kentucky. Staats was an All-CUSA selection. Staats has been named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List.


Texas Tech: Defenders of Raiderland

The Red Raiders lost their top defensive player in TyreeWilson to the 1st round of the NFL Draft. But they return six starters on defense, coached by Tim DeRuyter, that led the Big-12 in sacks with 31 and ranked 9th in the FBS in Red Zone defense.

They will be led by:

· DT Jaylon Hutchings: 50 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery. He also scored a rushing touchdown. Hutchings has been named to the Nagurski and Outland Watch Lists.

· DT Tony Bradford, Jr.: 32 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks. Bradford has been named to the Wuerfell Trophy Watch List.

· LB Jesiah Pierre: 40 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble.

· CB Malik Dunlap: 33 tackles, 1 INT, 12 pass breakups.

· CB Rayshad Williams: 1 INT, 37 tackles, 7 pass breakups.

· FS Dadrion Taylor-Demerson: 74 tackles (third on the team), 3 INTs, 5.5 tackles for loss, 5 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles.


The Red Raiders Schedule

Texas Tech plays the 14th-toughest schedule in the country, according to Phil Steele. Four games stand out to me. The Red Raiders host Oregon on September 9th, and Kansas State on October 14th. And, they travel to Kansas on Veteran's Day (November 11th) and then Texas on November 24th.

Shough has been named the starter at quarterback for the 2023 season. But can he remain healthy for an entire season? If he can, and if Texas Tech can split the four games listed above, the Red Raiders have the weapons on offense and the talent on defense to ring those victory bells to the tune of a 10-2 season.



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