A&M at Tech Preview
Lubbock, TX - Texas Tech is one victory away from its longest home winning streak in school history. Given the current struggles of this week's opponent, the Red Raiders appear highly likely to achieve that feat.
Fresh off a road win over a ranked opponent and in the Top 25 themselves for the first time this season, the No. 21 Red Raiders seek their 13th straight victory in Lubbock, where a record crowd may gather Saturday to watch them face slumping Texas A&M.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made Texas Tech -22 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 75% of bets for this game have been placed on Texas Tech -22 (View College Football bet percentages).
Texas Tech (5-2, 2-1 Big 12) has won 12 in a row at home, including four wins this season in which it has averaged 51.8 points. This will be the third of four October home games for the Red Raiders, who wrap up the month by hosting Kansas next Saturday.
The lone road game of the month, though, gave Texas Tech its most impressive victory, a 31-10 win in Lincoln over then-No. 15 Nebraska. The usually prolific Red Raiders offense was held to 259 yards - 263 under its average - but that was more than enough as the unsung defense held the Cornhuskers to their lowest point total since 2007.
Senior defensive end Brandon Sharpe had four of Texas Tech's five sacks - increasing his season total to eight - and also batted down a pass.
"I was just out there having fun, running hard, trying to get noticed,'' Sharpe said. "We were just working hard. Come off the ball and good things will happen.''
Quarterback Steven Sheffield is certainly getting noticed. The junior, who threw seven touchdown passes in his first career start - a 66-14 win over Kansas State two weeks ago - only threw one against the Cornhuskers, but he ran for two scores and completed 23 of 32 passes for 234 yards. He also went 6 for 6 on an 80-yard drive to open the game.
"He went out there and elevated his level of play, marched down there and scored,'' coach Mike Leach said. "That electrified the whole defense. The entire offense for sure. And, I think our team."
If Sheffield doesn't electrify the Red Raiders on his own Saturday, the fans certainly might as their team seeks its fourth straight win. Texas Tech is significantly increasing the capacity in Jones AT&T Stadium for the first time in nearly 50 years and will open the new seats - giving the stadium a capacity of close to 60,000 - for this contest.
Those fans will watch a team that has won 12 straight at home for the first time since 1939-41. The Red Raiders have also won seven in a row in Lubbock and four straight overall over the Aggies (3-3, 0-2), who don't appear primed to end any of those streaks.
Texas A&M has dropped three in a row and is trying to avoid its first four-game slide since Oct. 29-Nov. 25, 2005 - a slump that included a 56-17 loss in Lubbock. The Aggies may have hit bottom last Saturday, turning the ball over five times and falling behind 59-0 en route to a 62-14 defeat at Kansas State, their worst loss since a 77-0 rout by then-No. 1 Oklahoma in 2003.
"The only thing you can do when you get something like this is try to teach them something,'' coach Mike Sherman said. "If they want this one game to define them or this season, then they'll just lay down and take it. But if they want to rise above and meet this opportunity that adversity has created, then they can really do something special. That's what I expect out of this team.''
Sherman's defense completely failed to control the line of scrimmage, giving up 232 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground to the Wildcats. On the other side of the ball, junior quarterback Jerrod Johnson passed for 314 yards and a pair of scores, but threw his first three interceptions of the season and completed only 21 of 45 attempts.
"I can't exactly say what happened, we just didn't click very well on offense,'' Johnson said. ``Things just seemed to snowball and it was one of those nights, one of those things that happened. I'm glad it's in our past and now we've got to move forward.''
Johnson went 26 of 39 for 283 yards in last season's meeting with Texas Tech, a 43-25 loss for the Aggies at College Station.
Posted: 10/20/09 1:19PM ET