Texas Tech football: What the Red Raiders must do to beat Oregon

Texas Tech football: What the Red Raiders must do to beat Oregon
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Oct 29, 2022; Lubbock, Texas, USA; The Texas Tech Red Raiders cheerleaders celebrate scoring a touchdown against the Baylor Bears in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium and Cody Campbell Field. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After months of anticipation, the biggest non-conference home game that the Texas Tech football team has played in decades has finally arrived. It is also the best opportunity the Red Raiders will have to make noise on the national scene this year.

After this game, the next four opponents on the schedule will be unranked.  What’s more, if Kansas State stumbles a couple of times before the Wildcats come to Lubbock on October 14, they might not be ranked either when they tangle with the Red Raiders.

After playing Troy this week at home, KSU will have three losable games before heading to Lubbock. Next week they face a road test at Missouri before returning home to take on UCF on September 23.  Then, the Cats head to Oklahoma State on October 6th a week prior to coming to the South Plains. Though KSU will likely be favored in each game, it is not hard to envision a scenario in which Chris Klieman’s team loses a pair of those games to fall out of the polls.

After the KSU game, there is not another team on Tech’s schedule that is currently ranked other than Texas, which the Red Raiders face in Austin in the regular-season finale.  That makes this opportunity against Oregon such a potential turning point in the season.

Win this game and Tech will be close to being back in the polls (it is conceivable that the Red Raiders could even jump into the top 25 if they can score a resounding win this week).  However, dropping this game will send the team to 0-2, which would be a first for the program since 1990 and dampen most of the optimism that built throughout the offseason.

Preparing for this game, I couldn’t help but recall the similarities to the last time the Red Raiders made huge national news by knocking off a highly-ranked team in Lubbock.  The year was 2012 and Tommy Tuberville was still head coach of the Red Raiders (unfortunately).

Coming off of a 41-20 loss at home to No. 17 Oklahoma the week prior, few gave Tech a shot to beat No. 5 West Virginia.  However, on a windy day in Lubbock, the Red Raiders ambushed the Mountaineers behind the duo of QB Seth Doege and tight end Jace Amaro to the tune of a 49-14 drubbing.

Like Oregon this year, the 2012 WVU team had a Heisman Trophy contender at QB, Gino Smith.  However, after he completed just 30-56 passes for 278 yards with only one TD, his Heisman hopes were all but gone.  What’s more, that loss would be the first in a five-game skid for the Mountaineers that season.

Tech would follow that stunner up with a triple-OT win at No. 23 TCU the next week before dropping consecutive games to No. 3 Kansas State and No. 23 Texas.  However, there are some differences between this week’s showdown with Oregon and that 2012 win over WVU.

Most notable was that the Mountaineers were coming off of back-to-back shootout wins over No. 25 Baylor and No. 11 Texas, with the game prior to coming to Lubbock being on the road in Austin.  Thus, when they came to Jones Stadium, they had the excuse of being road-weary and beaten up.  Oregon should be fresh after an 81-7 laugher in their opener.

Also, that Tech team had played five games already that season helping to work out the kinks before trying to topple a high-profile team.  This year, Tech has only had one game to prepare for Oregon, and…well…it didn’t go quite as planned.

Still, Red Raider fans are hoping for another magical Jones Stadium night game this week. The program has not beaten another top-15 team at home since that blustery day in 2012 when the Mountaineers got their first taste of life on the Caprock.  Hopefully, that streak ends against Oregon and for that to happen, Tech will likely have to do the following.

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