Longhorns will be tested in all phases of game by Red Raiders

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Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville talks with linebacker Will Smith (7) during the second half of a game against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan.,Oct. 27. Kansas State defeated Texas Tech, 55-24. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Against Baylor, Texas was able to rely on an underperforming Baylor defense that was ranked dead-last in the FBS in total defense. In preparing for Kansas, the Longhorns could take solace in knowing that despite their own personal struggles, Kansas was 1-6 on the season and winless in the Big 12.

When Texas travels to Lubbock this weekend, it has little to rely on as it did in the past two games, and nothing short of a miracle to hope for. In addition, thanks to the Aggies’ departure to the SEC, Texas Tech remains as the Longhorn’s biggest in-state rival.

“I’m from Austin. It’s huge for me. We haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here. I take this a little personal,” said Tech senior safety D.J. Johnson of the rivalry against Texas. “I’m keeping us motivated and being inspirational in every way that I can.”

Although No. 18 Texas Tech has the same 6-2 season record and 3-2 conference record that Texas does, the Red Raiders have consistently outperformed Texas throughout the season. Tech has dominated when expected and lost when expected. Its only losses have come to No. 2 Kansas State and No. 12 Oklahoma, both acceptable by means of those teams sitting atop the Big 12 standings.

Texas Tech is ranked 12th in total defense and 11th in total offense. Texas, on the other hand, is 96th in total defense and 38th in total offense. Texas’ 56th ranked passing defense will also face its toughest competition against the third-ranked receiving attack in the country.

The Texas running back duo of Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray, assuming Malcolm Brown is still sidelined with his ankle injury, will have a slightly easier time then the rest of the Longhorns when the No. 32 Texas rushing offense faces the No. 27 Tech rushing defense, the Raiders’ lowest-ranked defensive unit.

“They’re a good running team; they’re physical,” Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said of his concerns about facing Texas. “Last year it was a debacle. We never slowed them down ... I’m sure they’re going to test us out ... we’re a better defense than we were a year ago.”