An undefeated non-conference record is at stake. It is a critical component in Texas Tech’s quest to reach a bowl game this year. The Texas Tech week 3 opponent, Flordia International, can serve as a “get right” game for the Red Raiders. If Texas Tech can make FIU one dimensional, it will pave the way for a 3-0 record.
FIU Wants To Be Balanced
FIU had a very rough 2020 season; 0-5 kind of rough. But the previous three seasons saw the Panthers out of Conference USA win eight, nine, and six games. Since Butch Davis became the FIU head coach in 2017, they have averaged between 37-38 rushing attempts per game and averaged anywhere between 160-170 yards per game. Their rushing attack starts with super senior D’vonte Price. In FIU’s last game against Texas State, he carried the ball 23 times for 111 in a 23-17 losing effort. Texas Tech struggled mightily to get off the field against SFA. While SFA was only 5-21 on 3rd down, they also were 5-8 on 4th down.
Force Unproven Quarterback Into Long 3rd Downs
A successful shutdown of the rushing attack puts the Panthers in long third down situations. Max Bortenschalager, while also a super senior, has not seen the field a ton in his five seasons in college. Bortenschalager only saw meaningful snaps back in 2017 as the Maryland quarterback, in which he had a completion percentage of only 51.9% and a touchdown to interception ratio of 10-5 in 10 games.
Top 20 Rushing Defense
In two games against Houston and SFA, the Texas Tech defense has only surrendered an average of 59 rushing yards per game, which ranks 14th in the country. The same unit has only given up an average of 1.84 yards a carry and only one rushing touchdown. The linebacking unit, compromised of Colin Schooler, Riko Jeffers, Krishon Merriweather, and Brandon Bouyer-Randle have made it tough sledding for teams early in the season.
Texas Tech Week 3 Is A Defining Week
Texas Tech opens as a 21-point favorite against FIU. Of course, it was just one week ago that Texas Tech came back to the friendly confines of Jones AT&T Stadium and got outplayed by an FCS opponent, but did enough to hang on for a victory. How bad was the effort?
Texas Tech’s 12 pass completions tonight ties the lowest amount they’ve had in a game since 2000.
The 22 pass attempts were the fewest amount by a TTU offense in a game since 2000.
— Ryan Mainville (@RMainvilleLBK) September 12, 2021
Texas Tech fans got a taste of a program that had turned the corner after rallying to crush Houston in the opener. But the Lumberjacks chopped down all that hope in one week. Now how will the team respond? Certainly, the lacking offensive firepower will not get the job done in conference play. And the defense has allowed too many critical conversations in each of its two games. A tone-setting effort by the defense would include holding FIU under 80 yards of rushing in this game.
Texas Tech Week 3 Predictions
Red Raider fans are searching for that hope they tasted in week one. This team got a major scare last week that should serve as a wake-up call, even with Texas on the horizon to open conference play. It is hard to imagine the passing game not improving after last week. The Red Raiders should look much crisper and focused against the Panthers.
Texas Tech 38, FIU 17