Texas Tech has been stuck in the shadow of bigger and better Big 12 programs for too long now and under the direction of Kliff Kingsbury, they look to change that.
The Red Raiders once had a span of 9 seasons from 2002 to 2010 where they won at least eight games each year under the direction of current Washington State head coach Mike Leach. Since then it has been a different story with just three winning seasons in the last six years. Offense hasn’t been the problem of late for Texas Tech, it has been the defense, just last year they allowed an average of 43.5 points per game while they scored an average of 43.67. After a convincing 56-10 win over Big Sky powerhouse Eastern Washington, the Red Raiders will look to keep rolling at home this weekend. Here are some key players to keep an eye out for:
Nic Shimonek - Senior QB
With the loss of Pat Mahomes III and his 53 total touchdowns to the NFL following last season, Texas Tech had a gap to fill coming into the 2017 campaign. Texas-native Nic Shimonek won the job and proved why he deserved it in the Red Raiders’ week one win over EWU. The senior completed 26 of 30 attempted passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns. Coming into this season, Shimonek had only attempted 60 passes in 2015 and 2016 combined but had already thrown 6 touchdown passes, so his ability to create offense was never in doubt. ASU must get pressure on the Mildred, Tex. native or he will simply do the same thing he did against the Eagles and pick the defense apart.
Keke Coutee - Junior WR
The Texas Tech offense is typically predicated off of an effective passing game, and although the team ran for 177 yards against Eastern Washington, that was dispersed amongst 10 different players. The passing game was arguably more versatile, as Shimonek hit 13 different receivers.
Coutee was second on the team in receiving yards last year as the then sophomore tallied 55 receptions for 880 yards and seven touchdowns. He picked up right where he left off when Texas Tech opened this season making five receptions for 99 yards and two touchdowns including a 68-yard score. The young secondary of ASU will be tested this weekend in Lubbock and although they have looked brilliant at moments, they have never faced a test like this before.
Jordyn Brooks - Sophomore LB
Although the Texas Tech defense was rough overall last year - allowing an average of around 554 yards of total offense per game - there were a few bright spots. Houston native Jordyn Brooks was one of them. The Freshman led the team with 85 total tackles to go along with one sack, three passes defended and a forced fumble. Brooks kept that momentum rolling into this season leading the team in total tackles in week one with seven. The offensive line for Arizona State has been exposed in the first two weeks of the 2017-18 campaign, allowing quarterback Manny Wilkins to be sacked 12 times through just two games. The line will need to do a better job this week or Brooks and others will capitalize and make life a lot harder on the already struggling Sun Devils.
Coming off a tough home loss last week ASU will look to bounce back in a big way this weekend with a road win over a power five conference opponent. With head coach Todd Graham on the hot seat, it could even be a must win and if that’s the case these are just a few players ASU will need to contain in order to succeed.