BU-TT Bowl Background
The Red Raiders have a chance to even the all time BU-TT Bowl series at 40-40-1 this Saturday back in Lubbock. It’s perhaps the silliest rivalry name in college football and only truly happens every other year. Texas Tech has to be the home team for the scoreboard to reflect this time-honored tradition, so it is technically the 40th playing of the BU-TT Bowl. (Neutral site games from the years in Arlington were not counted here.)
you can keep Ohio State-Michigan, I'm gonna keep on watching Baylor-Texas Tech waiting for players to stand next to each other so their helmets say BUTT pic.twitter.com/hDrHcdVY9u
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) November 24, 2018
These teams are currently sitting at #5 and #6 in the conference standings, so the winner potentially leaps to #3. It’s also a huge moment for the Texas Tech football program as they are placing Patrick Mahomes in their Ring of Honor at halftime. Tech’s most famous alumni, Super Bowl Champion and Most Valuable Player Mahomes had a convenient bye week with the Kansas City Chiefs to be able to attend.
Related: The Final Game vs. Longhorns in Lubbock
This matchup is very personal for Tech coach Joey McGuire from his time on the Baylor staff before his hiring at Texas Tech last November. Baylor coach Dave Aranda made headlines when he said “With the exception of one game, man, I want [him] to get them all”, when asked about McGuire this summer. This is that game.
On the field will be a no-holds barred battle between two great friends off the field. Don’t expect either side to pull their punches. Between the lines on Saturday night, there will be no love lost between the players or the staffs until this final whistle blows.
The BU in BU-TT Bowl
The Bears come in as a mixed bag this season after sending several key contributors from last year to the NFL. They have won the games on the schedule they were supposed to, but probably want one back from their trip to Morgantown. Baylor only lost by a field goal to WVU on the road, and that has to hurt. The Red Raiders blew that Mountaineer squad out of the water last Saturday, so the Bears are definitely motivated to show they are better than their record.
Freshman running back Richard Reese is the real deal already. This guy definitely has NFL potential if he can put on the right weight and stay healthy. For a 175 pound back, he runs through arm tackles with ease. The speedy Reese has featured heavily in each of the Bears’ victories this year, and they should emphasize getting him touches early in the BU-TT Bowl.
Running the ball well helps to take the pressure off of sophomore signal-caller Blake Shapen, who is still working out the kinks of quarterbacking at the college level. Shapen has already thrown 5 interceptions this season after having 0 in any of his 5 starts in 2021. The Bears will try to make the game easy for their young QB and not ask him to throw for 300 yards, which he has only done in losses so far.
Related: Ranked Test Against K-State
Forcing a young QB to do too much leads to the turnovers that have reared their head this season. The Shapen-led offense has been most effective when the run game is working effectively and Baylor opens up their play-action game. Shapen looks best going for downfield receivers after the secondary’s eyes are drawn to the backfield, lik seen here .
Another one for @BUFootball! ⚡️
Blake Shapen finds Gavin Holmes for the TD 🔥 pic.twitter.com/JCu2OcGgmZ
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 13, 2022
The TT in BU-TT Bowl
Texas Tech comes in feeling fantastic after a blowout victory with freshman stud Behren Morton at the helm for the first time. The Red Raiders have the tough problem of having too many good quarterbacks at the moment, and I am fully expecting to lose at least one of the three to the transfer portal in the coming months. All of them have too much eligibility and talent left for the odd man out to not be a starter somewhere else. Statements like the one below worry the Red Raider faithful, especially from the outside where it now seems the job should belong to Morton for the time being.
McGuire on QB: "When you have a QB room like we have, you always want competition. You never want anybody to get complacent or just set. … When you have somebody that's injured and won the job and won the job without any doubt [Shough], you definitely have to open it up."
— Don Williams (@AJ_DonWilliams) October 24, 2022
Preseason starter Tyler Shough has been cleared to play, but Morton with the hot hand should be the primary QB for this weekend’s BU-TT Bowl. The arm talent on display the past two games with Morton at the helm has been special. He pushed one of the best defenses in the country to their limit against Oklahoma State and threw for 300 yards in 3 quarters against West Virginia.
"WHO SAW THIS COMING!!" @jbradley_9 with the catch for @TexasTechFB ‼️ pic.twitter.com/UOlG0qq3ag
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 8, 2022
The Red Raider defense will have to be stout against the run like they were against the Mountaineers again vs. the Bears. They have been up and down vs. the run this year, and Baylor’s Reese might be the second best back they will have faced behind Bijan Robinson. Ineffective run plays can be absolute drive killers, and those will force Shapen to run pure pass plays because of long downs and distance.
Third Down and Long is Tyree Wilson time for the Red Raiders. The sure-fire NFL prospect is tied for second in the country in total sacks (8), and has been a terror for opposing O-lines. The defense as a whole has played really well this season so far and they need to continue in the BU-TT Bowl. If they can stop the Baylor rush attack effectively, a lot of other things fall into place for the defense and their game-plans regarding pressure and aggressiveness.
At the same time, Tech has to run the ball effectively to help out their own young QB. Tahj Brooks and/or Sarodorick Thompson will play a big role if the Red Raiders pull out the victory. Riding the hot hand has worked a few times, but the offense really clicks when both main backs are effective like they were against WVU. The Baylor back 8 of the defense is the strength of their team in my opinion, so beating them up front on the D-line could be the key to victory in the BU-TT Bowl.
Doubling the hell out of nose tackle Siaki Ika will be essential to getting any type of push with the Red Raider rushing attack. He is an absolute anchor for their defensive line, clogging up run lanes and drawing double teams like crazy each time you watch Baylor. Ika is also ridiculously quick for the gigantic size person he is. 350+ should not be putting this quick of a pass rush move on anybody.
Become familiar with #Baylor NT Siaki Ika #62.
Verified 6-4, 354 pounds with nimble feet and natural power. LSU transfer. He looked like Vita Vea on the Ole Miss tape.
Early DT preview for the 2023 NFL Draft: https://t.co/lDrbY5gpPw pic.twitter.com/AZ71M03qEo
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) August 9, 2022
This game has been decided by 3 or less points for 3 years running now and this one looks to be no different. I expect it to come down to the end of the game and whoever executes the best then will be the victor. It should be noted that once the sun goes down shortly after kickoff, the temperature will rapidly drop 20 degrees to be in the low 40s by the end of the game.
If the Red Raiders are able to execute their game plan and get Baylor to turn the ball over, things could get hot in Jones Stadium. It could also get really ugly like it did against K-State if the Bears and Richard Reese have a big day on the ground.
Vegas has Texas Tech as an early -2.5 point favorite in the BU-TT Bowl according to ESPN. That line feels like a field goal either way is what might win it so gambler beware, could be a total coin toss to play this one.
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