COUGAR TRACKS

BYU vs. Texas Tech: Game Day Preview Plus Score Prediction

Oct 20, 2023, 9:18 PM

PROVO, Utah – BYU vs Texas Tech is a meeting we haven’t witnessed in 83 years. That’s about to change tonight in Provo. BYU is set to host Texas Tech as Big 12 foes for the first time.

BYU enters the new Big 12 matchup with a 4-2 record, 1-2 in Big 12 play. Texas Tech is struggling this season at 3-4 and 2-2 in the conference.

Both teams are coming off difficult league losses. BYU lost 44-11 to TCU, while Kansas State thumped Texas Tech.

BYU vs Texas Tech

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

Kickoff: 5 p.m. (MT)

TV: FS1

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame begins at Noon

It’s time for the 3-2-1 game preview for BYU’s week eight matchup against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Three Game Day Thoughts

1. Important game for BYU and Texas Tech

Tonight’s game is a toss-up. Texas Tech is a slight favorite by prognosticators, but BYU is undefeated at home this season. If either team envisions themselves in the postseason this holiday season, it’s a must-win game.

BYU might have the bigger questions coming into the matchup. The Cougars had a discouraging loss last week at TCU, where they were outplayed in every aspect of the game.

BYU’s offense has struggled to generate a ground attack and the defense is suddenly having issues stopping anyone on third down.

If there’s a game on the upcoming schedule that BYU has success on the ground, it would be this one, as Tech has struggled to stop the run this season.

BYU running back Aidan Robbins will be a player to monitor as offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said there’s a chance he could play today. The addition of Robbins could give BYU a much-needed jolt in the backfield, but will BYU’s offensive line woes continue?

2. Texas Tech’s depth at quarterback is an interesting angle

Starting quarterback Behren Morton is a game-time decision after suffering an injury against K-State. The next quarterback up would be freshman signal-caller Jake Strong.

Strong is inexperienced, but the offensive scheme for Texas Tech doesn’t change much with him in the game. If he gets banged up at all, Tech would then turn to a wide receiver at quarterback.

The backup if Strong starts is Texas Tech super senior Brady Boyd, a wide receiver.

3. BYU’s pass rush has to create pressure

The BYU defensive front created zero pressure against TCU last week. A big part of that was TCU QB Josh Hoover getting the ball off with a half-a-second average.

Texas Tech is in the top ten in pace, so the opportunities could be hard to come by to get to the quarterback. But if it’s Strong, a freshman, BYU’s defensive line led by Tyler Batty has to find a way to cause havoc.

Two BYU vs Texas Tech Questions

1. Will BYU’s wide receivers create separation?

BYU quarterback Kedon Slovis was hard on himself last week after losing to TCU. His performance has to improve against Texas Tech, but there was room to point blame everywhere you look on the offense–including at wide receiver.

A growing theme for BYU’s receivers this season has been the lack of separation they’ve created against Power Five secondaries. They had struggled against Arkansas, Kansas, and TCU. Texas Tech boasts one of the tallest secondaries Kalani Sitake has ever seen.

BYU receiver Chase Roberts is one of the few players on the Cougars that they can rely on every week offensively. But after that, there’s much to be desired from the receivers. Kody Epps played last week. Can he return to the form he had a year ago when he was a playmaker against Notre Dame?

Keanu Hill has strong connections to this game, with his father having played at Texas Tech in the past. But the younger Hill has been limited this week in practice, according to Aaron Roderick.

2. What payoff will BYU get from another tough week of practice?

BYU tight end Isaac Rex told KSL Sports that this week in practice has produced a lot of first-team offense versus first-team defense action. He referred to it as another fall camp type of schedule.

Will that pay off?

Kalani Sitake has remained consistent in wanting his team to be physical throughout the season.

To see if the physical practices garner any payoff is in the trenches. Look for Texas Tech nose tackle Jaylon Hutchings and edge rusher Steve Linton. Linton, who had three sacks a few weeks ago against Baylor, could line up often against BYU offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia. That should be a fun matchup to watch.

One Score Prediction for BYU vs Texas Tech

It would be easy to fade BYU in this game. Texas Tech has a lot of similarities to TCU. So there’s an argument to pick Tech in this spot. But BYU plays better –especially on defense– at home. Give me BYU in a game that sees the Cougar defense produce a pick-six or scoop-and-score as the difference.

BYU 26, Texas Tech 23

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU vs. Texas Tech: Game Day Preview Plus Score Prediction