We are just a day away from the NCAA sports fan’s version of Christmas morning. Texas Tech football fans will have to wait all day to open their biggest present, though.
It will be worth the wait as the Red Raiders will open the season with a true test, a road game at Wyoming. This will mark just the third time in the last ten seasons (including 2023) that the Red Raiders will face a team from the FBS ranks in week one.
Back in 2021, Tech and Houston met in Space City at NRG Stadium. That day, two key members of the 2023 team led the way to a 38-21 win.
In a game that saw Houston pull out all the stops, including a surprise first-quarter onside kick, to jump out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, Tech would storm back for a convincing win thanks to 231 passing yards and two total TDs from Tyler Shough and 134 rushing yards and two more TDs from Tahj Brooks.
The only other year in the past decade that saw the Red Raiders open with a true test was 2018, which also featured a neutral-site game at NRG Stadium. However, that one did not go as well.
Facing an Ole Miss team loaded with NFL talent, especially at the wide receiver position (DK Metcalf and A. J. Brown for starters), Kliff Kingsbury’s final team at Tech was woefully outmanned in a 47-27 loss.
The only memorable performance from the good guys that day was the unexpected showing of true freshman QB Alan Bowman. Taking over in the first quarter for injured starter McLane Carter, Bowman threw for 273 yards and a TD in his first-ever college game.
The rest of the season openers since 2014 have come against the likes of Central Arkansas, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Eastern Washington, Montana State, Houston Baptist, and Murray State; all FCS programs.
This season will not see Tech have its annual bloodletting of a team from the lower division of the sport until week three when Tarleton State comes to Lubbock. Instead, 2023 opens with two significant tests as Oregon comes calling to Jones Stadium in week two.
That marks the first time since 2010 that Tech will not have an FCS opponent in one of the season’s first two games. That year, Tech opened with SMU and New Mexico and did not face an FCS team until game 11 when Weber State took a 64-21 beating in Lubbock at the hands of Taylor Potts and the Red Raiders.
In other words, there are no opportunities to ease into the season this time around. Rather, Joey McGuire’s team must fire on all cylinders quickly.
So let’s take a look at what we want to see from the Red Raiders in Laramie, Wyoming on Saturday. Here are three statistical goals for Texas Tech to aim for.