Back in the early 2000s Texas teams all followed a very similar pattern for the season. They’d lose to Oklahoma in October and drop one other game either in the non-conference or toward the end of the year that would invariably be the difference between having a Big 12 title/BCS season or not. The three-game stretch following the Oklahoma game could always be counted on to supply a three-game winning streak as the Longhorns adjusted to whatever deficiencies Bob Stoops had made apparent for them.
Ever since Mike Leach stepped on campus in Lubbock, the Red Raider offensive identity often revolved around a fast-paced offense predicated on the forward pass. Second-year head coach Matt Wells and his offensive coordinator, David Yost, are no different. In their first season, the Red Raiders were 10th nationally and 1st in the Big 12 in plays per game, per TeamRankings.com.
The Longhorn defense was gashed in the first half by the Red Raiders, conceding touchdowns on Tech's first two offensive drives and 21 points in the first half overall. Fortunately, a Jett Duffey unforced wet ball fumble while Tech was driving for another score (Bimage recovered on the UT26) bailed out Orlando and the Longhorn defense from potential halftime crisis mode. Duffey also missed an open receiver in the end zone and didn't spy an uncovered Tech receiver before the snap later near the goal line. No Longhorn defender was within twenty yards. Fortunately, Texas got the time out before Duffey noticed.
Early on it appeared as though Texas hadn't really come into this game with any heart or interest in finishing the year strong. Then Sam Ehlinger hit Malcolm Epps for a 36-yard gain and finished with a 10-yard TD run of his own to put Texas back in the game at 14-6 (they missed the XP). The Texas offense started to come alive and after they found the on switch they kept going and poured it on for a 49-24 win.
The Red Raiders have won their last two in Austin and Texas narrowly won last year in Lubbock, but Tech is also a 4-7 team who are 2-6 in Big 12 play. They're also 1-4 outside of the tortilla ridden confines of Jones Stadium in Lubbock. Tech has been a scrappy loser - four of their lost Big 12 contests have been by three points or less and only OU blew them out (55-16).
Texas head coach Tom Herman would prefer to talk about going 1-0 versus Texas Tech on the day after Thanksgiving. With the way Texas’ season progressed following two straight losses on the road to Iowa State and Baylor, he’s not really able to talk about TTU. More pressing issues are at hand for a coach whose hopes for a Big 12 Championship appearance became more and more unlikely as the month of November went on.
At the end of last season, Texas Tech fired the ever upwardly failing Kliff Kingsbury who immediately went to USC oops the Arizona Cardinals - because what NFL franchise wouldn't covet a college head coach who went 19-35 in Big 12 play? - and hired Utah State's Matt Wells, fresh off of his best season coaching the Aggies to a 10-2 record in his sixth year with the program.