It’s rivalry week for the Red Raiders. A Texas Tech week 4 win boils down to a very basic concept. Stop the opposing team’s best player. For the Texas Longhorns, they go as Bijan Robinson goes.
Top 300 Recruit Of All Time
Since 2000, there have only been 293 high school recruits with a higher 247 composite ranking than Robinson’s .9928. For reference, Derrick Henry ranks 290th in the same rankings with a .9929 ranking, while only 5 players have ever been a “perfect” ranking of 1.0 (Jadeveon Clowney, Robert Nkemdiche, Rashan Gary, Vince Young, and Ernie Sims). The top 300 is littered with current and former NFL stars. Robinson was the number one running back in the nation for the 2020 recruiting class.
He was ready to contribute the moment he stepped on campus in Austin. It wasn’t until the 4th game of the 2020 season before he received more than 10 carries. For the rest of the season, he never had less than 9 carries again and the Horns went 5-1 in those games. When Steve Sarkisian was hired after Texas fired Tom Herman, one of the many criticisms from the 2020 team, in particular, was that Robinson wasn’t touching the ball enough.
No Less Than 14 Touches
In the 3 games of the 2021 season, Robinson has had no less than 14 touches, which includes being taken out early in a blowout win against Rice last week. In both victories this season, Robinson has gained at least 140 yards from scrimmage as Sarkisian finds ways to get their star running back the ball in the passing game as well. However in their lone loss, a 40-21 thumping at the hands of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Robison only had 73 yards from scrimmage.
Outstanding Rushing Defense
A Texas Tech week 4 upset of their biggest in-state rival means the defense that has shown up in the 2nd halves of games needs to be present from the opening kick. Texas Tech has been terribly slow out of the gate in all three of their games of the 2021 season. To their credit, they have bounced back in all three games to secure victory. But this will be the biggest test, possibly of the entire season, for this rushing defense.
Texas Tech currently ranks 13th in the country in rushing yards allowed per game with an average of 58.5 yards. They rank even better at yards allowed per rushing attempt, as they only allow 1.8 yards. That low number is good enough for eighth in the country. It will be up to a senior-laden Red Raider defense to execute at a high level. The goal should be to hold Robinson under 100 yards from scrimmage. That is the main ingredient in cooking up an upset in Austin for Texas Tech.
Red Raider Rushing Attack Can Limit Robinson
Texas Tech’s rushing attack has three talented backs that it can utilize in this game. Tahj Brooks, Xavier White, and a now-healthy SaRodorick Thompson let offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie keep fresh legs in this Red Raider rushing attack that is currently averaging 167.5 yards per game. And while the passing attack finally put up big numbers for the first time last week against FIU, drives sustained by this running attack mean fewer opportunities for the Longhorns and Robinson to touch the ball.
Texas Tech Week 4 Prediction
A Texas Tech week 4 triumph over Texas would send a clear message to the Big 12. After all, this team had Texas dead to rights last season in Lubbock. It took quite the effort to cough up a 15-point lead with only 3 minutes remaining in the game. Texas enters this game as an eight-and-a-half-point favorite, and while the Red Raiders have made strides in Matt Wells‘ third season, the talent gap shows itself in this one. Expect a competitive game throughout, with the Longhorns pulling away in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Texas 38, Texas Tech 28