Storylines abound as Texas Tech gets set to meet Baylor tonight at McLane Stadium. After all, these two programs are rather intertwined these days.
Of course, the connection between Joey McGuire and Baylor head coach Dave Aranda is obvious. McGuire was Aranda’s top assistant in 2020 and for half of the 2021 season until he was hired by the Red Raiders. Now, there are as many as eleven people working for McGuire in Lubbock who previously worked in the Baylor football department.
Meanwhile, the Bears have a well-known Lubbockite on their roster. Former Coronado High School QB Sawyer Robertson, who was a 4-star signee in the class of 2021 is the current backup for the Bears. He remains one of the top football recruits to come from the Lubbock area in the era of recruiting rankings but he never received an offer from his hometown school.
Instead, during the 2021 recruiting cycle, the Matt Wells staff decided to pursue and sign another 4-star QB with ties to Lubbock, Behren Morton. The decision to go with Morton, who was born in the Hub City and who was a kid when Graham Harrell was Tech’s starting QB from 2006-08, instead of Robertson, is one that had many people in West Texas talking and it will remain a storyline for as long as Morton and Robertson are in school.
Last year, while Robertson was still at Mississippi State, (the program he signed with out of high school), Morton got his first shot at the Bears and it didn’t go well. In the 45-17 loss, he was picked off three times while completing just 11-34 passes for 152 yards and one TD.
This weekend, Morton gets a chance to erase the memories of that game and help lead his team back to the .500 mark on the season. It will be just his sixth career start as a collegiate meaning that he is far less experienced than his counterpart on Saturday night, Blake Shapen.
The Louisana native, Shapen, has made 17 career starts in Waco. That includes 12 starts in Big 12 games.
What’s more, he’s 2-0 as a starter against Tech. In 2021, he made his first career start against the Red Raiders going 20-34 for 254 yards and two TDs with no picks in a 27-24 win. Last season, he was only 19-30 for 211 yards and a TD but again, he had no picks as the Bears dominated Tech in Lubbock.
Of course, the most important storyline in this game will simply be the fact that one of these programs will get to the .500 mark while the other will have to win four of its final six games just to reach bowl eligibility. So what might we see tonight in Waco? Here are some predictions about what could transpire.