The end of the college football regular season has arrived for the Red Raiders. After the offense was limited to its worst performance in over two decades, a Texas Tech week 13 showdown with the Baylor Bears brings little relief. If Texas Tech is going to the seven-win make for the first time since 2015, the offensive line must protect quarterback Donovan Smith.
Offensive Line Worst Game Of 2021
When the offense is held to only 108 yards, it’s easy to tell the story of how bad the offense was. However, the offensive line took it especially hard on the chin from the Cowboys. Prior to last week, the offensive line had not surrendered more than eight tackles for loss or more than three sacks in a game. Oklahoma State recorded 13 tackles for loss and sacked the quarterback five times. When Smith wasn’t being sacked, Oklahoma State was still pressuring Smith with just a three or four-man rush. The consistent quarterback pressure was clearly taking a toll on Smith as he was wildly inaccurate all game, even on the few pass attempts he had from a clean pocket.
Bears Defense Equally Formidable
Traveling to Waco is providing little relief for the Texas Tech offense. This is how the Bears compare to the Cowboys’ defense that smothered the Red Raiders last week (all rankings reflect national rank):
- Total defense: Oklahoma State 267.8 yards per game (3rd), Baylor 345.6 (38th)
- Rushing defense: Oklahoma State 85.8 yards per game (4th), Baylor 120.5 (22nd)
- Scoring defense: Oklahoma State 14.91 points per game (2nd), Baylor 19.00 (16th)
- Sacks: Oklahoma State 42 (1st), Baylor 30 (T-29th)
- Tackles for loss per game: Oklahoma State 8.1 (1st), Baylor 6.1 (T-48th)
- Third down conversion percentage: Oklahoma State 24.5% (1st), Baylor 31.8% (11th)
The Bears’ defense has only yielded more than 24 points twice all season. Baylor’s hopes of playing for the Big 12 championship game ended with Oklahoma holding on against Iowa State. However, they still will have plenty to play for to close out the regular season. A 10-2 record (assuming a one-loss Big 12 champion in either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State), will likely result in the Bears securing a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Give Playmakers A Chance
Last week against Oklahoma State, the offense was not shy about taking opportunities down the field. This offense has big wide receivers who have demonstrated all year that they can go up and get the football in traffic. Receivers like Erik Ezukanma, Loic Fouonji, and Kaylon Geiger all have big-play potential with the ball in their hand. The problem was that Smith never put the ball in a competitive spot for any of those three receivers to do something with it. The blueprint to beating Baylor is very similar to Oklahoma State. Baylor ranks 101st nationally in red-zone defense. They are allowing their opponents to score 87.9% of the time they reach their 20-yard line. But Tech is going to need explosive plays to get down there.
The Red Raiders should also take any points when they are available. Kicker Jonathan Garibay has shown the entire college football world that once the Red Raiders get to the Bears’ 40-yard line, they are in field goal range. This Baylor offense is equally as average when compared to Oklahoma State’s. Texas Tech’s defense played its tail off last week. If they can get another stellar performance, the Red Raiders stand a puncher’s chance. Even as one-sided as it felt (and was) last week, it was still only a two-score game heading into the fourth quarter.
Texas Tech Week 13 Prediction
Will the Bears feast too much on turkey to be locked-in in this Texas Tech week 13 matchup? Is there any more magic interim head coach Sonny Cumbie can conjure up to send the Red Raiders into bowl season on a high note? Not this week. This Texas Tech team has a bright future. The bowl season will provide much-needed practice time that newly hired head coach Joey McGuire to spend evaluating the roster. But the problems the offensive line demonstrated last week cannot be fixed in one week. Expect the offense to have a hard time moving the ball again. Baylor will control the game from start to finish.
Baylor 28, Texas Tech 10