Saddle Up for a Run Game Against Texas Tech

November 6, 2020

Happy Friday!

It’s the first weekend in November and Texas Tech is coming to town. It just seems right.

The Frogs and Red Raiders will hit the field for the 63rd time Saturday and it’s a huge opportunity for both teams.

TCU can build on the success of another road win last week at Baylor, in which the Frogs started hot, delivered some big hits and plays on defense. Frogs flexed their muscle with a run game that churned out 285 yards with Darwin Barlow going for 117 and Zach Evans averaging 11.6 yards per tote. Strong.

Tech, on the other hand, got run out of Jones Stadium by an OU team that is just getting warmed up. The Red Raiders are looking for answers, especially on defense, and a win on the road would be a huge boost to the Tech program under second-year Head Coach Matt Wells.

Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

Darwin Barlow led the running game last week against Baylor, including a career-long 74-yard run, TCU’s longest play from scrimmage this season. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

Tech’s marquee win of the year came two weeks ago against West Virginia. Tech as able to keep pace with a new quarterback starter who brings a running component. Henry “Hollywood” Colombi is a transfer from Utah State, whom Wells had recruited. It appears Colombi is a fit in this Tech offense. TCU will have to account for him and his running ability. Tech is more balanced that what we’ve seen coming out of Lubbock over the past 20 years. The Red Raiders utilize a tight end (big Travis Koontz #15) almost 100 percent of the time and they’ll combine the TE with a running back almost all the time. In the backfield, look for #4 Sarodorick Thompson, the leading rusher who has been slowed by sore ribs. If he can’t go, look for #28 Tahj Brooks, a stocky, tough runner who has averaged 12 carries in each of the last two games.

Tech has a squadron of receivers who combine size and speed to create problems for secondaries. #9 T.J. Vasher is 6-6 and has added weight to his lanky frame. He missed the OU game last week, but if he can play, the Frogs are going to have to bracket him. #13 Erik Ezukanma is a dependable target who’s not afraid to go across the middle and he has given the Frogs fits, including last year when he caught four balls for 91 yards and a touchdown. #82 KeSean Carter is a speedster who has four TDs on the year and #18 Myles Price is dangerous on jet sweeps to the wide side of the field. The offensive line is rebuilt at the tackle spots and that’s where Tech has struggled in protection. TCU’s edge rushers should find the wide splits that Tech utilizes along the line inviting.

Defensively, the Red Raiders are looking for answers. They’ve juggled the lineup and employed several graduate transfers to fill holes. So far, it’s been a tough row to hoe for Raider Red. Tech is 107th in the FBS in defense, giving up 498 yards per game and 41.2 points per contest. They utilize a three-man front with a “Spur” hybrid defensive end/linebacker. The linebackers are good: #1 Krishon Merriweather and #6 Riko Jeffers (who is a top NFL prospect) lead the team in tackles. Six of the eight defensive backs on the secondary depth chart are transfers. All in, Matt Wells brought in 12 graduate transfers to add some maturity to his young team.

The Frogs still need to play a complete game.

TCU got close last week at Baylor, but halftime took away the momentum and the Frogs were off track for the first 12 minutes of the second half. Play the full 60. Run the ball. Swarm on defense.

The Frogs and their fans will be blessed with another great weather day Saturday at The Carter. Sunny and 77.

Perfect for getting that first home win of the year. Saddle Up!

Did you know?

  • TCU and Texas Tech played to three-straight ties in 1979, 1981 and 1983?
  • Texas Tech was founded as Texas Technical College in 1923 and their original mascot was The Matadors (thus the Tech Alma Mater, The Matador Song.
  • Tech played in the Border Conference from 1932-1956. Other Border Conference members included Arizona (1931–1961), Arizona State Teachers’-Flagstaff (now Northern Arizona; 1931–1952), Arizona State Teachers’-Tempe (now Arizona State; 1931–1961), University of New Mexico (1931–1951), New Mexico A&M (now New Mexico State; 1931–1961), Texas Mines (later Texas Western and now the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP); 1935–1961), Hardin–Simmons (1941–1961) with head coach Sammy Baugh (1955-59) and West Texas Teachers’ (later West Texas State and now West Texas A&M; 1941–1961). Tech left the Border Conference and joined the Southwest Conference, first competing in the SWC in 1958.
  • Former Tech head coaches who had success in Lubbock include Jim Carlen, Jerry Moore, Steve Sloan, David McWilliams, Spike Dykes and Mike Leach.

We’re on the air on the Horned Frog Sports Network tomorrow at 1:30 CT. Join us on WBAP 820 AM, Sirius 135, XM 199, the RiffRam App and TuneIn. I’ll talk to you then.

Until airtime,

Kick ‘Em High!