Heading for the South Plains

October 8, 2021

The second weekend in October will greet the Frogs in Lubbock, Texas, but it’ll feel like July. Temps tomorrow in the Hub City will be hot, around 95 degrees.

Both TCU and Tech hope to follow suit and get hot in their own right.

TCU vs California Bears at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on September 11, 2021. Photo by Gregg Ellman

TCU won’t have the home team advantage this weekend against Texas Tech. Gary Patterson’s Frogs will need to rely on a run game. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Gregg Ellman

The Frogs and Red Raiders have both fallen victim to Bevo over the last two weeks and have also sustained a bunch of injuries.

The “Battle for the Saddle” will feature a TCU team that’s been “that close” over the last two games, despite not playing its best.

Tech is an older football team, filled with lots of portal transfers. Tech coach Matt Wells has made it a point to get more experience on his football team in a hurry. He’s in his third year at Tech and is feeling the heat to produce wins. His older team features 10 “super seniors” – the most in the Big 12.

On the offense, Tech’s got old friend Sonny Cumbie calling the plays. The Tech legend was brought back to take over the offense but the plan got derailed in the Texas game when Oregon transfer and starting quarterback Tyler Shough left the game with a broken collarbone. He hopes to be back this year. Tech put in Henry Colombi, another transfer (from Utah State), who the Frogs saw last year and frustrated in the 34-18 TCU win. Cumbie & Co. want balance and the have the backs to do it with #28 Tahj Brooks and #4 SaRodorick Thompson. The air is still the preferred method of attack, though, and receiving leader #13 Erik Ezukanma will return from injury in time to face the Frogs. Tech has four other wideouts, all 6-4 or taller, who can go up and get the ball. Tech has also reinstalled the Tight End into the offense — BIG TE’s #15 Travis Koontz and #80 Mason Tharp, who’s 6-9!

On the defense, the Red Raiders are looking for an identity. Two defensive coordinators and the 3-3-5 scheme show you a lot of looks, if you’re an opposing QB. Tech will go with 3-down, 2-down and even give you a five-man front. Regardless, it’s the linebackers that the defense is built around and ol’ Raider Red leans heavily on #17 Colin Schooler and #6 Riko Jeffers to stop the run, pressure the passer and make plays in coverage. It’s a demanding scheme for linebackers and the defensive staff is struggling trying to find the right combo. The Frogs will have an opportunity for big plays in the run game when Tech goes to the 3-man front — lots of room to work.

As I mentioned, Tech is working through lots of injuries, but they are playing at home, which is always tough for the visitors, especially at night where the red and black are 43-16 under the lights at Jones Stadium since 2002. It’s also Homecoming in Lubbock. Here comes the parade.

Speaking of history, did you know that Tech leads the all time series 32-28-3. All three ties in the series came in three-consecutive games in Lubbock. In 1979, the Frogs and Tech tied 3-3 in a snow storm, while in 1981 TCU came back from a 24-7 halftime deficit to tie 39-39 and dampen Tech’s Homecoming. In 1983, a dust storm in Lubbock Friday morning followed by torrential rains turned the field at Jones Stadium into a slippery, chocolate milk-like surface and the two teams slid their way to a 10-10 tie in Jim Wacker’s first season.

We’re on the air Saturday night at 5 p.m. on the Horned Frog Sports Network to get you ready for a 6 o’clock kick.

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!