Texas Tech and TCU square off tomorrow night in front of a national television audience on ESPN. This old Southwest conference rivalry renewed last year with a wild triple-overtime win for the Red Raiders, and this year’s game promises more of the same.
Jace Amaro vs. Everyone Else
There’s no player on this Texas Tech roster with more physical talent and competitiveness than junior tight end Jace Amaro. We saw it last season against West Virginia and it happened again Saturday night in a blowout victory over SFA. Amaro led all receivers with eight receptions, 142 yards and a touchdown, making every play look effortless. He’s a man amongst boys no matter what defense he’s going against, and I can’t wait to see him demolish the ‘Frogs.
Texas Tech Linebackers vs. Trevone Boykin
Boykin is a game changer for TCU, and his presence under center isn’t exactly a welcome sight for Tech’s group at linebacker. Boykin is a fast, elusive runner who can beat you with his arm too if you don’t respect both sides of his game. Guys like sophomore inside linebacker Micah Awe are tasked with keeping Boykin corralled.
“We respect his composure in the pocket,” Awe said. “Even though he’s an athlete, he’s going to try and get his players the ball.”
We’ve only seen two games, but right now I’d give Tech’s linebackers the most improved position award. Due to the strength of the defense being in the middle where guys like Kerry Hyder and Dennell Wesley wait to swallow up anyone with the ball, I’d expect Boykin to try his luck rushing to the edges of the field where Pete Robertson and Terrance Bullitt will be waiting.
Edge: Tech LBs
Tech’s Offensive Line vs. TCU’s Defensive Line
This matchup decides the game. For four quarters spanning the second half of the SMU game and the first half of the SFA game, Tech’s offense played lights out. Even with a wet-behind-the-ears true freshman quarterback, drive after drive ended with points, mostly touchdowns. If Tech has any hope of scoring more points, either through the air or on the ground, the offensive line needs to step up their game. This week, the big boys up front get their stiffest test yet with Devonte Fields and Co. coming to town.
Fields, last season’s AP Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, started all 13 games as a freshman and has 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks to his name. Even with last year’s senior-laden O-line, keeping quarterback Seth Doege upright proved a formidable challenge with Fields bearing down. Position coach Lee Hayes doesn’t have much time to turn around this year’s offensive line after two slow starts to the season, but he needs to work some magic quickly.