Texas opens its Big 12 conference season against the undefeated Texas Tech Red Raiders. Tech brings a 3-0 mark to Austin, its best start to a year since 2017. The Longhorns have won 10 of the last 12 meetings, including a frantic comeback from 15 points down last season.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Texas Longhorns
Saturday, September 25, 2021 – 12:00 PM EDT at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium
With Texas bound for the SEC in 2025 or sooner, there are only a limited number of Big 12 games left for the Longhorns, and every conference foe will be looking to send the Horns out with a resounding win.
Texas opens its Big 12 conference season on Saturday against the undefeated Texas Tech Red Raiders. Tech brings a 3-0 mark to Austin, the first time since 2017 the Red Raiders have started with three wins.
The Longhorns have won ten of the last twelve in what has been a lopsided series, however. That includes a frantic comeback from fifteen points down in the final three minutes last year to win a wild 63-56 shootout in Lubbock.
Stepping Up in Competition
The Red Raiders are 3-0, but there were some shaky moments as Texas Tech swept through its non-conference schedule. After beating Houston by seventeen in the opener, the Red Raiders were shocked by Stephen F. Austin, as the FCS opponent took Tech down to the wire in a 28-22 nail biter. Tech also trailed early last weekend against FIU before scoring four straight touchdowns to spur a 33-point blowout win.
Quarterback Tyler Shough had a breakout game against FIU, throwing for a career-high 399 yards, more than double his Week Two total, when he was picked off twice by SFA. He also completed passes to eleven different receivers.
Tech has the ninth-best run defense in the nation, which will be tested against the Texas ground game.
In addition to the hard feelings over Texas leaving the conference, Red Raiders coach Matt Wells would like to beat the Longhorns to earn a signature win for his program. Wells is 1-5 against in-state conference rivals Texas, TCU, and Baylor at Tech, with a win over the 2-7 Bears last year as his only success.
Looking to Open With a Win
Before opening Big 12 play, Texas spent some time catching up with former Southwest Conference foes, with varying degrees of success. The Longhorns were shocked in Week Two when a trip to Arkansas resulted in a 40-21 loss to the Razorbacks. Texas rebounded with a 58-0 blowout of Rice last week.
Despite the lopsided score, Texas had some bad injury news against the Owls last week. The most damaging blow was true freshman cornerback Ishmael Ibraheem, who suffered a knee injury. The team has since confirmed that Ibraheem will be out for the rest of the season.
The Horns will be down two cornerbacks this week. In addition to Ibraheem, corner Jahdae Barron suffered a knee injury. He’s been ruled out for this week’s game.
On the other side of the ball, wide receiver Troy Omeire will also be out this week with a knee injury.
Texas has also apparently put a quarterback controversy to rest. After Hudson Card started the first two games, including the Arkansas loss, coach Steve Sarkisian made a change and started Casey Thompson against Rice. Thompson has led thirteen Texas drives this season in his one start and two relief appearances, and the Longhorns have scored ten touchdowns and a field goal over that time.
Earlier this week, Sarkisian confirmed that Thompson would be the starter for Texas. After promising before Rice that Card would also get time in the game, Sarkisian backed off on his commitment to playing both passers.
“I would love to play Hudson Saturday, as well,” he said, “but every flow of every game is different.”
Thompson is more mobile than Card which adds a dimension to Texas’ already strong run game. Bijan Robinson is one of the top running backs in the nation, and the Horns racked up 427 yards against Rice last week. Of course, Arkansas held Texas to 138 the week before, and the Texas Tech defense should be closer to the Razorbacks’ than the Owls’.
For the NCAAF pick, look for the Red Raiders to frustrate the Texas offense and remain close enough to at least cover the more than one touchdown spread.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.