One Stat Texas Tech Needs to Win: Turnover Margin

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Texas Tech makes its 2021 season debut against the Houston Cougars on Saturday, September 3 at NRG Stadium in Houston. Texas Tech will need to be sharp in this one if they are to start 1-0. But a decided advantage in the Texas Tech turnover margin will be the ultimate factor in this game.

Struggle by Both Teams

Texas Tech and Houston both have major strides to make in the turnover department. Both teams need to work on holding on to the ball as well as taking it away. Each team averaged at least a -1 in the turnover margin (-1.0 for Tech, -1.2 for Houston). That ranked for 115th and 118th respectively in the country. Winning the turnover margin has always been a pretty good indicator of victory. Whether it be the NFL or college football when a team wins the turnover margin, it has approximately a 75% chance of winning the game (see here, or here, or even here.)

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Houston Should Put Up Points On Offense

Houston has a three-year starter leading their offensive attack for the 2021 season. Clayton Tune led the Cougars to an average of 30 points per game in 2020. The Texas Tech defense expects to be much improved. But still allowed an average of 37.1 points per game last year. Each possession that Tech can keep away from a potent offense, which includes a few talented transfers from Texas Tech in KeSean Carter and Ta’Zhawn Henry, is critical. But Tune has shown a propensity to turn the ball over. In 2019, he threw nine interceptions in seven games. In 2020, he threw ten in eight games. Opportunities will be there for the Red Raiders to take the ball away.

How Does a Tech Turnover Margin Edge Result In a Victory?

While there is a ton of buzz about the potential of Tyler Shough as the new starting quarterback, he has had his own issue interception issues as well. In 2020, Shough threw six interceptions in seven games as the Oregon starting quarterback before ultimately losing the job to Anthony Brown before the season ended. To secure a positive Texas Tech turnover margin, Shough needs to protect the ball for Texas Tech to clinch a victory. In a game that is expected to be high scoring (Vegas has the over/under set at 64.5), taking a few possessions away from Houston while providing extra possessions for the Red Raiders is going to be the difference.

Texas Tech Turnover Margin and Final Score Predictions

If Texas Tech is going to make a bowl game, they must secure a victory in Houston. In the debut of Shough and new offensive coordinator Sonny Combie, and lead by an experienced core of players on defense, a +2 Texas Tech turnover margin secures the victory for the Red Raiders.

Texas Tech 42, Houston 35