Staff predictions for Arizona football vs Texas Tech
Khalil Tate gets ready to pass the ball during the second quarter of the Southern Utah vs. Arizona football game at the Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 15.
Arizona football stays at home this weekend to square off against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, an undefeated team that has won both of its previous two games this season by exactly 35 points each. Check out what our beat reporters, Jack Cooper, Amit Syal and Austin Wales have to say about this week's matchup.
The Arizona offense showed what it is capable of last week when they put up a 65 spot, albeit on NAU, but don’t expect them to slow down anytime soon. The big question mark heading into the game this week against Texas Tech is the defense. Despite Arizona getting 6 turnovers against Hawai’i, they still lost. Last week, they gave up 41 points to an Football Championship Subdivision team, the NAU Lumberjacks. Texas Tech is a whole different animal. The Red Raiders are undefeated and have only given up one touchdown in their first two games. Usually, when people think about these two teams, the first thing that’s thought about are points, points and more points. But they’ll be challenged with an Arizona team averaging 51.5 points per game. This game is going to come down to which defense can get a stop. Texas Tech plays the same type of game as Hawai’i, where they like to throw the ball down the field. If Arizona is able to get a couple turnovers, they should be able to stay in the game and put themselves in a place to win at the end. I don’t think it’ll be enough for Arizona, though, and they’ll lose their second game of the year.
Prediction: 52 Texas Tech 48 Arizona
Arizona is coming off a somewhat impressive win against NAU from last Saturday, except that won’t help them too much this week against its opponent, Texas Tech. The NAU Lumberjacks managed to put up 41 points against the Wildcats last weekend, which says a lot about Arizona’s defense. Put that defense against a strong offense such as Texas Tech? Absolute nightmare. Arizona is going to have a very tough time stopping the Red Raiders’ offense, and it’s going to show with some high numbers on Saturday night. Texas Tech’s offense is averaging 41.5 points per game so far this season and has had dominating wins against Montana State (45-10) and UTEP (38-3) the past two weekends. If Arizona defense can somehow find a way to stop a team like that, then they’ll be in a good spot. Big hypothetical, though.
Prediction: 56 Texas Tech 35 Arizona
Coming into this game, Arizona (1-1) has scored an average of 51.5 points on offense with complete game production from Khalil Tate. Tate has been all that we have hoped for in both the pass and run, and if he continues to produce the numbers that he has thus far, the Wildcats will be in business. J.J Taylor and Gary Brightwell looked good last weekend against a shaky NAU defense and are starting to show that the Wildcats can get it done with the run game just as much as the pass game. This Red Raider defense has has looked particularly better than years past, only giving up 108 yards passing on average in their first two games. The Wildcats will be tested again this week with their pass defense by quarterback Alan Bowman. Bowman, was only second in pass yards for freshmen behind Trevor Lawrence, who led the Clemson Tigers to a national championship last year. The Red Raiders will be similar to NAU in the fact that they spread the field wide and like to throw the ball a lot, but Texas Tech has a very talented running back in Armand Shyne. The Wildcats will be tested in the pass game against the Red Raiders and, if they’re able to create a couple turnovers, they’ll keep it close, but the gunslingin’ Red Raiders are ultimately going to be too much for Arizona.
Prediction: 63 Texas Tech 45 Arizona
For a different perspective, Texas Tech's newspaper, The Daily Toreador, sports staff have sent us their predictions as to how the game is going to go.
Max Hengst: From what we have seen this season, the Texas Tech University football team has shown improvement from last year’s squad. As Tech is typically known for its high-scoring air raid offense, this season, the new coaching staff under Head Coach Matt Wells have made an emphasis on a fast-paced offense and good defense. The Red Raiders’ fast-paced offense has resulted in Tech scoring 41.5 points per game. The offense is led by Alan Bowman, who has thrown for 696 yards in two games, ranking No. 9 in the nation in the category. Along with Bowman’s passing game, the most impressive thing about this year’s Red Raiders is the defense. While Tech ranks third in the FBS for points allowed per game (~6.6), the Red Raiders are ranked second in the nation as their opponents have only converted 4-of-31 third-down attempts this season. The University of Arizona will be the first test to Tech’s defense, as Khalil Tate will be one of the best quarterbacks the Red Raiders will face this season. Tate has thrown for 499 yards while rushing for 109 yards in two games. I think the Red Raiders will need to shut Tate down to defeat the Wildcats. I think Tech’s defense will show up and the offense will run smoothly with offensive linemen Jack Anderson and Terence Steele returning.
Prediction: 45 Texas Tech 31 Arizona
Jay Strader: The University of Arizona has a couple of players who are, arguably, going to be the main focus for Texas Tech University. The first one is senior quarterback Khalil Tate. Tate is a dual-threat quarterback who can put up stats in a hurry if he is not contained. The Wildcats are averaging 55 points per game in regular season play, and the Red Raiders' defense is only giving up ~6.5 points per game. This weekend will be a test to see who gives up ground on those stats. The second player that Red Raiders will need to be wary of is redshirt senior cornerback Jace Whittaker who has 3 interceptions in two games. Tech should be in a good spot as far as passing the ball with receivers like T.J. Vasher and Dalton Rigdon. The Red Raiders have made an emphasis on reducing the number of penalties they get each game. So far, they have done a solid job of that, only recording 8 penalties for 79 yards. The Wildcats, however, have been struggling with penalties, recording 21 penalties for 215 yards. With two fast-paced scoring offenses, this game will come down to who can capitalize on opportunities and limit mistakes. I do not think that Arizona has the discipline or the firepower to keep up with Tech, and the Red Raiders will improve to 3-0.
Prediction: Texas Tech 48 Arizona 31
Arianna Flores: Having only played two opponents this season, both Texas Tech University and the University of Arizona have averaged 40 points or more. Arizona does come into the game as the underdog with a record of 1-1 while Tech remains undefeated. This is the Red Raiders' first time playing away from their home field this season, so the team may not run as smooth as it is used to. Although Tech's defense has been successful and has only allowed one touchdown in two games, Arizona's offense has an averaged 55 points per game in the regular season. However, in my opinion, the defense will determine the winner of this game. In their game against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, the Wildcats allowed 41 points and although they managed to win, the defense slacked in keeping their opponents offense from scoring. The Red Raiders' defense has been on fire and has successfully kept their opponents from scoring over 10 points in both of their games this season. Both offenses are dominant and can score easily but, in the end, the team with the better defense will be victorious.
Prediction: 56 Texas Tech 45 Arizona
Eleanor Guinan: Although Texas Tech University has only played two games, the Red Raiders have shown much improvement from last season. Tech has only allowed opponents to score ~6.5 points per game while Arizona has allowed its opponents to score 43 points per game. Not to mention Alan Bowman has only thrown a single interception and has been sacked just once. Tech also has a 13-3-2 advantage over Arizona while playing in Tucson. The Red Raiders also have a 23.5% kickoff return rate, which is higher than Arizona’s 16.1%. Although most of the statistics say it’s in Tech’s favor, I can honestly say both teams have an equal chance at walking away victorious tomorrow night.
Prediction: 45 Texas Tech 30 Arizona
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