Three advantages Texas Tech has over LSU


Texas Tech heads into next week’s Texas Bowl matchup against No. 20 LSU a prohibitive underdog. According to most sites, the Red Raiders are a touchdown underdog to the Tigers and it is not hard to understand why.

LSU features perhaps the most physically gifted running back in college football, Leonard Fournette. The early-season Heisman Trophy favorite finished his true sophomore season with 1,741 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, he will face a Texas Tech defense that allowed 271.8 yards rushing per game, third worst in the nation. But despite the heavy national lean towards LSU, Texas Tech enters the game with some advantages it must exploit.

Quarterback Play

The most important position in sports is the quarterback and Texas Tech sophomore quarterback Pat Mahomes is in a different galaxy than LSU’s starter Brandon Harris.

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The sophomore LSU signal-caller threw for 1904 yards, 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in 2015. His completion percentage actually dropped in his second year as he connected on only 53.2% of his passes (though he only attempted 45 passes as a freshman in 2014). Likewise, Harris averaged only 7.5 yards per attempt, a very low number suggesting that most of his completions were at or near the line of scrimmage.

Meanwhile, Mahomes stats were phenomenal. The Whitehouse, TX native completed 65% of his 517 passes for 4,283 yards and 35 touchdowns. Texas Tech’s star passer averaged 8.3 yards per completion, a sign that he looks to drive the ball deep down the field.

Texas Tech must try to somehow make this game about the quarterbacks. If David Gibbs’ defense can force LSU to throw the ball on third down plays, Texas Tech will like its chances of pulling off the upset.


Bowl games are almost impossible to predict because they often pit an excited team against a disappointed team. The desire of 18-22-year-old young men to play a game that really doesn’t mean much (outside of the more prestigious bowls) is tough to gage.

In the Texas Bowl, it is easy to see which team should be the more motivated squad. Three all-conference players (Jakeem Grant, Le’Raven Clark and DeAndre Washington), plus a large number of defenders that want to leave college football on a high note, after missing out on a bowl game in 2014 lead Texas Tech into this game desperately wanting to leave a legacy by beating LSU.

The Red Raiders have an opportunity to knock off one of the true blue-blood programs in college football. Beating LSU and knocking off a vaunted SEC west team on national television would be a huge feather in the cap of the Red Raider program.

Meanwhile, LSU just went through one of the most odd seasons in recent memory. Its first game of the year was rained out, the team climbed to No. 2 in the polls at mid season before losing three consecutive rivalry games which triggered a public witch hunt by many boosters and school officials who wanted the head of LSU head coach Les Miles on a stick.

But then, Miles was miraculously given a stay of execution (with the decision being made at halftime of the season’s final game, oddly enough) meaning that the popular coach is safe again. So after such a long and trying season, do the LSU players have the desire to put forth their best effort against a middling Big 12 team?

Beating Texas Tech will make no waves for the LSU program. It is what they are expected to do. It is logical to expect the Red Raiders to be the much more excited team entering the game.

Texas Tech receivers vs. LSU secondary

By simply looking at the statistics, it would appear that LSU has a stout pass defense. The Tigers ranked 50th in the nation in passing yards allowed per game at 211.0.

But do not forget that the Bayou Bengals play in the SEC where the forward pass is still a bit of an anomaly. Dak Prescott of Mississippi State threw the ball 52 times for 335 yards against the Tigers completing 65% of his passes. That is the same percentage of passes Pat Mahomes completed on the season proving that a good quarterback can have success against LSU.

The next most passes LSU faced in a SEC games was 34 against Ole Miss. The Rebels’ quarterback Chad Kelley completed only 55% of his passes on the day but he threw for 280 yards (8.3 yards per completion) and two touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Mahomes averaged 43 passes per game in 2015. LSU has not played a single team that runs the same offense as Texas Tech.

The Tiger secondary has been suspect at times this season and is susceptible to being beaten by fast receivers. The key for Texas Tech will be two-fold.

First off all, can the Red Raiders receiver contributions from its outside receivers (especially considering that Devin Lauderdale is suspended for the game)? Secondly, will Texas Tech be able to beat the physical press coverage of the LSU defense?

If the speedy Texas Tech receivers are able to get off the line cleanly, Pat Mahomes can exploit the LSU secondary.

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While the LSU helmet is revered and the Tigers are a team that usually strikes fear into the hearts of their opponents, Texas Tech comes into the Texas Bowl with some advantages it can exploit in order to pull off the victory.