Despite Lubbock, TX and Phoenix, AZ being just a two hour flight apart, this will only be the third time in college football history that these two teams will square off on the same turf. ASU owns the series at Sun Devil Stadium at 1-0 with a win over the Red Raiders in 1999 by a score of 31-13.
TTU evened the all time series in the 2013 Holiday Bowl beating the Devils 37-23. Todd Graham was a second year head coach and senior kicker Zane Gonzalez, senior defensive lineman Viliami Latu, and redshirt senior wide receiver Fredrick Gammage were all freshman.
Now, as seniors with an even more experienced head coach, the Devils look to regain a lead in the series. Here’s what you need to know about the Texas Tech Red Raiders:
Head Coach - Kliff Kingsbury
Kingsbury has returned for his fourth year as a head coach for the Red Raiders with a 20-19 record overall and a 1-1 bowl record including the bowl win against the Sun Devils in 2013. Kingsbury began his coaching career in 2008 at Houston as a quarterback coach, then as a co-offensive coordinator with the Cougars in 2010.
In 2012, he moved to Texas A&M to be an offensive coordinator and was quick to take the head coaching job at Texas Tech in 2013 after former coach Tommy Tuberville stepped down to coach at Cincinnati. In his first season with the Red Raiders, he became the first ever Big 12 Conference head coach to begin his career Big 12 coaching career winning seven straight games.
Not only can he coach at big time division one football programs, but he could also play. Kingsbury was a Texas Tech quarterback himself from 1998-2002 where at the end of his career, he held 39 different school records, 13 Big 12 records and seven NCAA FBS records.
He then moved on to play professional football for five years in two different countries. Kingsbury quarterbacked for a different team each year playing for the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and New York Jets. Then in Canada, he represented the Cologne Centurions and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
How have they done so far?
The Red Raiders come into Saturday’s contest with a 1-0 record, owning a convincing 69-17 win over the FCS’s Stephen F. Austin. Though they faced a weak opponent at home, Texas Tech handled business playing two different quarterbacks who racked up 633 yards in the air and seven different rushers who totaled for 125 yards.
The defense was able to cause trouble to SFA’s senior quarterback Zach Conque sacking him five times and causing two interceptions. Texas Tech held SFA to only 58 yards on the ground and 370 yards total.
QB Patrick Mahomes
Now in his junior season for the Red Raiders, it’s no surprise that Mahomes is one of the most elite quarterbacks in the Big 12. The second year starter threw for 483 yards and four touchdowns in just two and a half quarters against the Lumberjacks before he was pulled.
Mahomes in not afraid to throw the long ball, and with him at quarterback it will be a tough task for a shaky Sun Devil secondary to prevent a pass heavy offense.
OL Baylen Brown
The senior offensive lineman is back in action after tweaking his knee and sitting out for the final two games of last season. Brown will play a captain role to a young Texas Tech offensive line. Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing 305 pounds it will be tough for anyone to get past him.
As a part of the offensive line last season the Red Raiders only gave up two sacks in their first six games of the season including games against then top 5 opponents TCU and Baylor. With a Sun Devil defense accustomed to rushing the passer and Brown at left tackle, expect for Graham to bring a flurry of blitzes to the right side this Saturday.
WR Reginald Davis
As a senior, this is the third season that Davis and Mahomes have been together and are looking to make a statement in 2016. Davis only caught the ball twice for 80 yards against SFA, but he is key piece to Texas Tech’s “air raid” offense.
Both of his catches on Saturday were for first downs. One for 21 yards and another for 59 yards. He averaged 14.1 yards per catch last season and now leads the team at 40 Yards per catch. Look out for Mahomes to go deep to Davis against a Sun Devil secondary that gave up 369 passing yards to NAU’s sophomore quarterback Case Cookus last game.
DL Broderick Washington
At only a redshirt freshman, Washington has already made an impact for the Red Raiders. Standing at 6-foot-3, 305 pounds, Washington made two tackles against SFA including a sack. In only his second game he will play a big role against an ASU offense that likes to run the football.