Opposing Players to Watch: vs. Texas Tech

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Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes II looks to pass against Arizona State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Ross D. Franklin
  • Patrick Mahomes II
  • Quarterback (#5)

It’s been a record-setting year for the junior, who leads college football in passing yards with an almost 600-yard advantage over the second-highest total. 

Mahomes tied Connor Halliday’s single game record with 734 passing yards in a 66-59 loss to Oklahoma and set the FBS record for most total offensive yards in a game with 819.

Mahomes is the only quarterback in college football to pass for 3,000 yards so far in 2016—and he has 3,519. The gunslinger has thrown for 28 touchdowns, ranking third in the nation and leads a Texas Tech offense that is tops in the nation in yards per game and second in points.

Last year against Texas, Mahomes threw for 372 yards and rushed for 70 in a 48-45 shootout victory. He is coming off of a season-low 206 passing yards at TCU, and will look to improve upon that in Lubbock.

 

  • Jonathan Giles
  • Wide receiver (#9)

Mahomes’ favorite target is this sophomore receiver from Missouri City, TX.

Giles has had a fair share of stellar receiving days this season. Against Louisiana Tech, Giles shined with 186 yards and three touchdowns. In a 55-19 win over Kansas, he recorded 219 yards and two scores.

He is ninth in the nation in receiving yards and tied for first in touchdowns. It has been a breakout season for the sophomore, who rarely saw playing time in 2015.

But now as the feature receiver, he should connect early and often with Mahomes, especially against a Texas defense that yields 258.5 passing yards per game.

 

  • Cameron Batson
  • Wide receiver (#13)

Batson lines up opposite to Giles and gives Mahomes a strong secondary weapon.

The junior also fields punts, and has racked up 137 yards on returns this season. Batson has been a consistent scoring threat as well, scoring a touchdown in six of eight games this season.

In a 68-55 loss to Arizona State, he recorded a career-high with 148 receiving yards.

Batson is a cerebral player as well. His recognition as First Team All-Academic Big 12 translates to his reputation as a great route runner and a player who can fill multiple roles on special teams.

 

  • Jordyn Brooks
  • Outside linebacker (#20)

Texas Tech is not known for its defense, but Brooks is working to improve the unit. The true freshman outside linebacker led the Red Raiders to a road victory over in-state rival TCU last Saturday in Fort Worth. In a surprising defensive struggle, the Red Raiders emerged with a  27-24 overtime win.

Brooks made key tackles throughout the game, and recorded 10 in the victory. The Longhorns thrive off of D’Onta Foreman and his powerful running game, but it will be up to Brooks’ unit to stop the Big 12’s leading rusher and replicate a defensive performance similar to last week’s.