A lot has changed for both of these programs since they last met in NRG Stadium in 2018. For starters, both teams have a new head coach as the 2018 game featured Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Luke as the opposing coaches. Both teams were embarking on a multi-year stretch without a bowl appearance. Now, both programs are trending upward. Texas Tech head coach Joey Mcguire has exceeded many expectations in year one. And Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin has won more games in the last three seasons than they did in the previous four, including a 10-win campaign last year. But each team enters the 2022 Texas Bowl heading in different directions. Is there any reason to think Ole Miss can pull out of their late-season nose dive?
How To Watch
Date: Wednesday, December 28
Game Time: 9:00 pm ET
Venue: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
How To Watch: ESPN
Remember when Ole Miss Was Ranked 7th In The Polls?
When Ole Miss players woke up on the morning of October 22nd, they found themselves at 7-0 and ranked No. 7 in the country. Since then, the Rebels have won just once, a narrow 31-28 escape at a Texas A&M that finished 5-7. And while they are in a bit of a free fall, this offense still put up some eye-popping numbers. They finished the regular season averaging 491 yards of total offense, which was good for ninth-best nationally. The Rebels also finished top 20 in total rushing yards (3,139), attempts (571), and rushing TDs (31). Their third down conversion percentage of 47.7 is ranked 12th nationally. To no surprise, this Kiffin-coached team has the potential for explosive plays at any time. The Rebels are ranked sixth in the FBS with 82 plays of over 20 yards.
This rushing attack is headlined by freshman phenom Quinshon Judkins. Judkins has shined even in their three straight losses to close out the season. He ran for 439 yards on 71 carries and six touchdowns during that losing streak. Judkins is averaging just under six yards per rush and led the SEC with 16 rushing touchdowns during the 2022 season. Quarterback Jaxson Dart also contributes plenty to this Rebel rushing offense. Dart has rushed for 548 yards on 117 carries. But he has been more than efficient operating the passing component of the Ole Miss offense. He has a 62.9 completion percentage for 2,613 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Texas Tech Looks For Best Season Since 2013
With what appears to be a top-25 recruiting class all but wrapped up for 2023, McGuire’s full first season in Lubbock is nothing short of a smashing success. It starts with how well he handled the quarterback position. Quarterbacks Tyler Shough, Donovan Smith, and Behren Morton all threw for at least 1,000 yards this season as all three were the starting quarterback for at least two games this year. Texas Tech is only the second FBS program since 1996 to have three different quarterbacks throw for at least 1,000 yards in a season. The only other program to do so was Oklahoma State during the 2012 season. Smith has entered the transfer portal, while Morton still is trying to get healthy. Shough, who entered the season as the starter in week one, has been the starter for the last three games of the season.
However, getting an eighth win on the season will not come easy. The Ole Miss offense is well-documented at this point. But this is only exacerbated by the fact that there is plenty of concern defensively for the Red Raiders. They rank 90th nationally in rush defense, yielding an average of 166.4 yards a game. And when a team gets it rolling on the ground against Texas Tech, as Baylor did in October, it can get ugly in a hurry. The pass defense isn’t much better, ranking 98th in passing yards allowed per game (248.1). One bright spot defensively is that they can create havoc behind the line of scrimmage at times. Texas Tech ranks 20th in tackles for loss, creating 6.9 tackles for loss per game on the season.
2022 Texas Bowl Prediction
Both offenses will do what they do best. Ole Miss will run and Texas Tech will throw. Each team will find plenty of success doing so. One big difference between these teams will be turnovers. Texas Tech turns the ball over a lot, while typically Ole Miss protects the ball pretty well. In their losses to Baylor, NC State, and Kansas State, the Red Raiders gave it away 13 times. They also turned it over three or more times in five games. Ole Miss has only turned it over multiple times in three of their games and won two of them.
However, the Red Raiders have been rising to the occasion against most of the teams they have played this year. The buzz around the Texas Tech program has been humming all season, and the crowd likely will be decidedly pro-Red Raider. Expect a fun, late-night affair down in Houston accompanied by free football in the 2022 Texas Bowl. Texas Tech kicker Trey Wolff gives Texas Tech a third overtime victory with a walk-off field goal.
Texas Tech 48, Ole Miss 45