The Texas Tech Red Raiders picked up an important upset victory two weeks ago, beating West Virginia 34-27 to end a three-game losing streak, but could not carry that momentum into last week's game against Oklahoma. Following the 62-28 loss to the Sooners, Texas Tech is now 2-4 overall and 1-4 in Big 12 Conference play. The road to .500 is difficult and travels through Fort Worth this week for a date with the TCU Horned Frogs, which built a big early lead in its rivalry game with Baylor last week and held on for a 33-23 victory to improve to 2-3, both overall and in-conference.
Texas Tech at TCU
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 7, at 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: TCU -9.5
When Texas Tech Has the Ball
Texas Tech made a quarterback change from Alan Bowman to Henry Colombi ahead of the West Virginia game. Colombi, in his first season with the Red Raiders following a transfer from Utah State, was efficient in his first career start, completing 22-of-29 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown without an interception. However, last week was more difficult, as the junior completed 15-of-28 pass attempts for 227 yards, and though he tossed two touchdowns and averaged 8.1 yards per attempt (up from 6.0 the previous week), he was also intercepted twice. Factoring in two earlier performances in which he relieved an injured Bowman, Colombi has completed 70 percent of his passes for 755 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Receiver Erik Ezukanma has been a steady performer for both quarterbacks, and he ranks second in the Big 12 with 71.7 receiving yards per game. Overall, Ekukanma leads the Red Raiders with 32 receptions and 430 yards across six games, and his three touchdown catches rank second to teammate KeSean Carter's four. Carter missed two games against Iowa State and West Virginia, and caught just one pass for eight yards last week, but was impressive early and has hauled in 22 passes for 223 yards to date. Five other Red Raiders have tallied more than 100 receiving yards this season, including T.J. Vasher (14 rec., 163 yds., 2 TDs), who has also been limited to four games and missed last week.
Running back SaRodorick Thompson is tied for second among Big 12 running backs with 15 receptions this season, on which he has gained 69 yards. Thompson ranks fourth in the conference in rushing at 63 yards per game on the ground and has accounted for 378 rushing yards and six touchdowns while averaging 5.6 yards per attempt.
When TCU Has the Ball
TCU quarterback Max Duggan returned quickly from a preseason health scare, playing in all five games for the Horned Frogs including starts in each of the last four. Duggan has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 1,040 yards and five touchdowns with only one interception and has averaged 7.5 yards per attempt, which ranks third in the league. The sophomore can also help himself as a runner and has gained 175 yards and scored three times on the ground while averaging 2.9 yards per carry — a number tamped down by TCU's 16 sacks allowed this season, which is the second-most in the Big 12 and more than all but 20 FBS programs.
Duggan's supporting cast has been a bit of a mixed bag, in part because of injuries at running back and transfers in the receiving corps. Following a 117-yard game last week, Darwin Barlow leads the Frogs with 228 rushing yards this season, and his three touchdowns are tied with Duggan for most on the squad. Five-star freshman Zach Evans has seen his workload increase in recent weeks, and his 81 rushing yards and seven carries against Baylor were career-highs (he also caught five passes against Oklahoma). Evans also scored his first career touchdown last Saturday. Daimarqua Foster (72 rushing yards, TD) and Emari Demercado (55 rushing yards) have both been banged up at times this season, though both earned carries last week.
Taye Barber has been Duggan's most consistent receiver for the Frogs this year, and he leads the team with 24 receptions, 254 yards, and two touchdowns. With Te'Vailance Hunt, Dylan Thomas, and Al'Dontre Davis all entering the transfer portal this fall, Duggan has turned to redshirt freshman Blair Conwright (13 rec., 184 yds., 1 TD) and impressive true freshman Quentin Johnston (12, 224, 1), along with tight end Pro Wells (5, 75, 1) for help. Injuries have also impacted playmaking Nebraska transfer JD Spielman (5, 56) and tight end Artayvious Lynn (6, 77, 1), with Lynn expected to miss the rest of the season.
On the surface, there is a wide gap between the TCU defense — which has held its opponents to a modest 29.0 points and 375.2 total yards per game this year, ranking No. 57 and No. 45 in the country, respectively — and Texas Tech, which has surrendered 41.2 points per contest and 498.8 total yards, both of which rank No. 107 in FBS. However, on a per-play basis, the performance is much closer. The Horned Frogs have surrendered 6.2 yards per snap, which sits 84th on the FBS leaderboard, compared to Texas Tech's 6.4, which is 94th. That, coupled with a slightly more consistent offensive performance overall, should help the Red Raiders keep the game close. However, with the help of talented, emerging freshman skill position players, Duggan can carry the Horned Frogs to victory.
Prediction: TCU 34, Texas Tech 27
Podcast: Week 10 Preview and Predictions