Texas Tech hosts FCS traditional power UMass on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. The No. 10 Red Raiders are coming off of a 43-7 win over SMU in Lubbock last weekend, while the Minutemen stumbled, 52-38, against James Madison in a battle of top tens. The Red Raiders are 3-0 on the season, while UMass is 2-1 and ranked No. 3 in the latest FCS poll.
SCOUTING THE MINUTEMEN
UMass is 2-1 on the season after dropping a 52-38 decision at No. 7 James Madison over the weekend. The Minutemen, who entered the game ranked third in the FCS, rolled up 443 yards of total offense in the game, including 339 through the air. Preseason All-America candidate Liam Coen leads the passing attack with 275.3 yards per game and has thrown nine TD passes. Receivers Victor Cruz and Jeremy Horne have been the go-to targets with 18 and 15 receptions, respectively. Horne has three scoring receptions, while Cruz and tight end Ian Jorgensen have two each. Running back Tony Nelson is averaging 120.7 yards per game on the ground and has five of the team's six rushing scores. UMass is scoring at a 37.0 clip, but is yielding 36.7 points per game. The offense is averaging 406.0 yards per game, including 6.5 yards per play. Opponents are averaging 383.7 yards per game.
RED RAIDERS LOOKING FOR 11th STRAIGHT
Texas Tech has 10-straight wins over non-conference opponents, dating back to a 62-0 win over Southeastern Louisiana in 2006. Included among those are two of the most thrilling bowl game victories in school history - 44-41 OT win over Minnesota in the 2006 Insight Bowl and a 31-28 win over Virginia in the 2008 Gator Bowl. During the run Texas Tech has averaged 49.2 points per game, while limiting opponents to 19.0 points.
Nation's Longest Non-Conference Winning Streaks
Boston College, 18
Louisiana State, 16
Southern California, 10
Texas Tech, 10
Penn State, 9
UMass is the 127th different opponent to make an appearance on the Texas Tech ledger (Eastern Washington and Nevada were the 125th and 126th new opponents). Texas Tech has faced 14 programs for the first time under Mike Leach and is 12-2 in those games, including the last eight. Other first-time meetings under Leach include Northwestern State and Virginia in 2007; Southeastern Louisiana and Minnesota in 2006; Florida International, Sam Houston State, Indiana State and Alabama in 2005; California in 2004; Navy in 2003; Clemson in 2002; Stephen F. Austin in 2001; and East Carolina in 2000. A first-time matchup has taken place 25 times in bowl games, with the opponents holding a 14-10-1 advantage (Tech 5-2 under Leach in first-time matchups in bowl games).
TEXAS TECH CLIMBS INTO THE TOP TEN
The current ranking is the highest in the poll for Texas Tech since a No. 8 showing in 1977
For the first time since Oct. 16, 2005, Texas Tech finds itself among the top 10 teams in the country in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Red Raiders moved up two spots to No. 10, while jumping a spot to No. 11 in the Associated Press poll.
Associated Press Poll Notes
Texas Tech has appeared in nine final AP polls throughout the program's 83-year history
Texas Tech spent 22-straight weeks in the AP top 25 from 2004-06, a program best; the previous high was 20 weeks during the 1976-77 seasons
The Red Raiders spent three-straight weeks at No. 5 in 1976, Tech's highest-ever ranking
The Red Raiders spent eight weeks in the top 10 in 1976
Texas Tech is currently in a five-year streak of being ranked in the AP poll, the longest streak in school history
PICKING THE POCKET
Behind a five-interception effort against SMU, Texas Tech leads the country with nine picks on the season, which is one short of last year's season total of 10. Daniel Charbonnet leads the troops with four picks, including a school-record three against the Mustangs. Five other players have one each. Charbonnet's INT on the game's first play against SMU marked the second-straight home game that Tech recorded a pick on the initial play of the game. Six of the INTs have come courtesy of the secondary, while the linebackers have one and the defensive line two.
DEFENSE DOMINATES SMU
SMU entered last weekend's game with one of the nation's top 10 offensive units, but Texas Tech's stingy defense limited the Mustangs to a slim 274 yards of total offense. The Mustang's then-ninth ranked passing game managed 213 yards and threw five interceptions. The Red Raiders also held SMU to 61 yards on the ground. Tech recorded three sacks and totaled seven pass breakups.
CHARBONNET LEADING THE COUNTRY
SS Daniel Charbonnet set a school record with three interceptions in the win over SMU. Several players had recorded two in a game - the last being Brock Stratton at Iowa State in 2006. Charbonnet also had near brushes with two other potential picks as one slipped off his fingertips and CB Jamar Wall stepped in front of another (which Charbonnet praised his teammate for). Charbonnet's four INTs leads the country.
TECH EXHIBITING STRONG RUN SUPPORT
Texas Tech already has nine rushing scores in three games, half of last year's total of 18. And not all runs are from short yardage at the goal line - of the team's nine ground scores, four are from 10 yards or more. RB Baron Batch tied the seventh-longest rush in head coach Mike Leach's nine seasons with a 43-yard scoring jaunt in the first quarter against SMU. Former RB Taurean Henderson's 70-yard run at Kansas in 2004 is the longest in the last nine seasons.
Running Away - Longest Runs since 2000
1. 70 - Taurean Henderson at Kansas (2004)
2. 60 - Taurean Henderson at Baylor (2005)
3. 51 - Shannon Woods vs. Baylor (2006)
3. 51 - Shannon Woods vs. Oklahoma State (2006)
5. 46 - Taurean Henderson at Oklahoma State (2003)
6. 44 - Taurean Henderson vs. Indiana State (2005)
7. 43 - Taurean Henderson at Kansas State (2004)
7. 43 - Baron Batch vs. SMU (2008)
IT'S IN THE BAG
Texas Tech's more aggressive approach to defense is paying off as the Red Raiders have erupted for 10 sacks in three games (the unit had 25 total in 2007). Among the top 20 teams in the country in sacks per game this season, Texas Tech also is tied fourth in total sacks. Defensive ends Brandon Williams and McKinner Dixon lead the defense with three sacks each.
BIG 12 LEADERS
Several Red Raiders find themselves at or near the top of Big 12 Conference statistical lists, including QB Graham Harrell, who leads the league in passing yards per game (417.0) and total offense (414.7). WR Michael Crabtree leads in receiving yards per game (131.7) and touchdown receptions (5), while SS Daniel Charbonnet is the leader with four interceptions. Charbonnet and CB Jamar Wall are tied atop the passes defended list with 2.0 per game. Defensive ends Brandon Williams and McKinner Dixon are tied first with 1.0 sacks per game. As a team, the Red Raiders lead in pass offense (448.7), interceptions (9) and opponent third-down conversions (19.5%).
BATCH-WOODS SOLID TANDEM
Running backs Baron Batch and Shannon Woods have been a valuable pair in the backfield for the Red Raiders, providing the spark behind a running game that has produced nine touchdowns on the season. The duo has six touchdowns between them, led by Woods' four scores. The two rank among the top 12 in the Big 12 Conference with Batch averaging 61.7 yards per game and Woods 56.0. Batch is averaging an impressive 8.8 yards per carry on 21 rushes this season. The duo also has 54 of the team's 74 carries.
OLD SHANNON RE-EMERGING
This is the Shannon Woods we all know. The Shannon Woods that went for 109 yards and three TDs on 19 carries against Minnesota in the Insight Bowl in 2006. Woods has four touchdowns on the season, two in each of the first two games (a lunge late in the game against SMU was ruled down at the 1). He also has 33 rushes for 168 yards. His career touchdown total is 25, which ranks 10th all-time at Texas Tech.
HARRELLPASSES KINGSBURY ON TWO LISTS
Graham Harrell set new Texas Tech career standards in touchdowns responsible for and touchdown passes, passing former Red Raider quarterback Kliff Kingsbury in both. Harrell's 97 career scoring strikes ranks eighth in NCAA history and trails USC's Matt Leinert by two. His 104 touchdowns responsible for break Kingsbury's previous mark of 100.
BIRD BEGINNING TO DOMINATE ON THE OUTSIDE
LB Bront Bird is becoming a force to reckon with at outside linebacker. The sophomore posted a career-high 14 tackles in the win at Nevada, including 12 solo stops. Additionally, he tallied a sack in the game. Bird has 20 tackles on the season.
DEFENSE COMES UP BIG IN THE REDZONE
Chants of "DEFENSE-DEFENSE" resonated from the modest gathering of Tech fans following the win over Nevada in Reno. And, deservedly so. The unit found itself up against a wall as the Wolf Pack entered the red zone five times during the game. However, the unit didn't yield, holding UNR to three field goals in the five trips. Additionally, the D gave UNR's quarterback fits all evening, sacking him four times. A bulk of Nevada's 488 yards of total offense came between the 20s.
RED ZONE DEFENSE IS STINGY
The Red Raiders have been nearly impossible to penetrate in the red zone as the unit has allowed a mere 54.5 percent success rate. Of the six scores allowed, three were field goals (all at Nevada). Texas Tech faced the Wolf Pack five times in the red zone and yielded a meager nine points out of 35 possible. The unit ranks 12th in the country in red zone defense. Of the five non-scores, four were forced turnovers and another was a turnover on downs.
MESSAGE TO OPPONENTS: AVOID THIRD DOWN
Texas Tech opponents have been successful on only eight of 41 third-down attempts. That ranks the Red Raiders first in the Big 12 Conference with a 19.5 percent rate.
DEFLECTIONS AND PICKS AT THE LINE
Texas Tech has nine interceptions on the season, including two by defensive linemen. DT Ra'Jon Henley grabbed one against Eastern Washington, while NT Richard Jones took one off of a deflection at Nevada. The front four also has accounted for three pass breakups - all by DE Brandon Williams.