Texas Tech must establish a strong rushing attack
After the aerial display the Red Raider offense put on in week one, it might seem odd to suggest that today’s game will be won or lost on the ground but that could very well be the case. For a number of reasons, Tech must establish a strong rushing attack and impose its will on the U of H defenders.
First of all, running the ball will slow down the vaunted Houston pass rush. Keeping the Cougar defensive line from being able to pin its ears back and go after the QB with impunity has to be a priority for offensive coordinator Zach Kittley and the rest of the offensive coaching staff.
Of course, if Tech can run the ball effectively, the play-action passing game will also help to make the U of H defense slow down just a step or two and that could make all the difference for Tech’s big-play receivers.
Additionally, running the ball will make life easier for new starting QB Donovan Smith. Just look at last season’s Liberty Bowl as an example.
As Tech chewed up yards on the ground, Mississippi State was forced to drop a safety into the box for run support. That left plenty of one-on-one situations for Smith and his receivers, matchups that Tech eventually turned into big plays. Can that formula repeat today?
Last season, Tahj Brooks had a huge game against Houston. The running back scurried his way to 134 yards and two TDs on just 15 carries in a game in which fellow running back SaRodorick Thompson did not play.
However, last week, Houston surrendered just 104 yards to UTSA on the ground. What’s more, 63 of those yards came from UTSA quarterback Frank Harris.
Maybe Donovan Smith will also be able to exploit the Cougar defense with his legs. But however it happens, Tech had better figure out a way to run the ball this week.