A pair of big-name programs will draw attention for very different reasons when No. 13 Oregon visits Texas Tech on Saturday evening in Lubbock, Texas.
The primary question surrounding Oregon (1-0) is whether any defense can slow them down. The Ducks scored a whopping 81 points — a school record — in their season opener against Portland State a week ago.
The previous record was 77 points, which Oregon put up in 2017 against Southern Utah and once again in 2019 against Nevada.
“That’s special — for this offense, for this group,” Oregon quarterback Bo Nix said. “It’s definitely something that means a lot to us.”
Meanwhile, the tone is much different for Texas Tech (0-1).
The Red Raiders are coming off a stunning 35-33 double-overtime loss to Wyoming on the road. Texas Tech jumped to a 17-0 lead before being outscored 20-3 in the final three quarters of regulation and 15-13 in the extra sessions.
It was a bitter pill for Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire, whose program beat Oklahoma and Texas last season and entered this year with high hopes.
“Really frustrated for the guys in that locker room,” McGuire said. “I thought we came out and started really fast, and then we allowed them to get back in the game.”
Now comes a high-stakes showdown at home for the Red Raiders. A defeat would put the team at 0-2 and set an ugly tone to start the season; a victory would provide a healthy dose of redemption for a team looking to move past its early stumble.
“The message is really, ‘Don’t let Wyoming beat you twice,'” McGuire said. “No matter what happens Saturday, we cannot allow last Saturday to affect us, other than learning from it.
“Watching on film, the things we have to improve. We’ve got to finish blocks. There were too many times that we had good run plays on the front side, and you would have a defensive tackle or a defensive end (make the tackle). It might have been a 4-yard gain, but it should have been a 20-yard gain. So we’ve got to stay on blocks better.”
The Red Raiders’ defense also will have to play fundamentally sound against a Ducks team that racked up 381 passing yards and 348 rushing yards in its season opener.
Nix completed 23 of 27 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns before leaving with the game out of hand after the first series of the second half. Troy Franklin and Gary Bryant Jr. each topped 100 receiving yards and scored two touchdowns.
On the ground, running back Bucky Irving had touchdowns from 52 yards and 56 yards.
Oregon head coach Dan Lanning said he was proud of his offensive line, which replaced four starters from last season. He also cautioned against his team feeling too satisfied.
“I expect us to operate with that sort of efficiency throughout the year,” Lanning said. “But I also know we’re going to play some teams that are going to make it difficult for us to operate that way in the future.
“So we’ve got to work, keep challenging ourselves, and make sure that our standard is the secret to our success.”
–Field Level Media