Texas Tech (2-1; 0-1 Big 12) hits the road for the second-straight week and will find a ranked opponent waiting yet again as the Red Raiders take on the Houston Cougars down in the Bayou City on Saturday. Texas Tech and Houston will kickoff at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday night at Robertson Stadium and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2. The game is SOLD OUT.
Houston is ranked 17th in the Associated Press poll and 23rd in the USA Today Coaches poll. Texas Tech remains unranked.
Saturday's game will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Check your local listings for channel information.
TEXAS TECH SPORTS NETWORK
Texas Tech fans across the state and the region can tune into the Texas Tech Sports Network coverage of Saturday's game. Brian Jensen (play-by-play), John Harris (color) and Toby Cecil (sidelines) will call the action. The flagship station for the Red Raiders in Lubbock is Double T 104.3FM. For more information, log on to www.texastech.com.
RED RAIDERS BACK IN PRIMETIME
For the second-straight week, the Red Raiders will be featured in primetime as Texas Tech battles Houston on Saturday evening at Robertson Stadium. The game is being televised nationally on ESPN2 and comes directly on the heels of last week's national television appearance at No. 2 Texas on ABC. The Red Raiders are certainly no stranger when it comes to Saturday night broadcasts as five of Tech's last eight games have been featured in primetime. Mike Patrick will call the action for ESPN2 while Craig James will provide analysis and Heather Cox will patrol the sidelines.
Despite both schools calling the state of Texas home, Texas Tech and Houston will be meeting for just the 28th time on Saturday night at Robertson Stadium. The meeting will be the first in 14 years as the two teams last tangled back in 1995 when both were members of the former Southwest Conference. The Cougars lead the all-time series 17-10-1 but the Red Raiders have won the last five contests. Texas Tech handed the Cougars a 38-26 setback in the final season of the Southwest Conference back on Nov. 25, 1995, in what was also the last meeting between the schools.
FIRST TRIP TO ROBERTSON STADIUM FOR TECH
Saturday's game featuring Texas Tech and Houston will mark the first appearance for the Red Raiders at Robertson Stadium, the on-campus home of the Cougars. Over the span of 27 meetings, the Red Raiders either faced the Cougars at home in Jones AT&T Stadium or on the road in three different locations. Tech has played the Cougars four times at Rice Stadium (Rice University), nine times at the Astrodome and once in San Antonio (1993).
A QUICK LOOK AT THE COUGARS
The Cougars have one of the most prolific offensive attacks in the nation as they currently rank fifth in total offense with an average of 406.5 yards-per-game.
The Houston Cougars enter Saturday's game riding the high of a win over then fifth-ranked Oklahoma State in Stillwater two weeks ago that propelled them into the national rankings. The 45-35 win over the Cowboys moved them into the national polls for the first time in 18 years as the Cougars were last in the top 25 back on Sept. 17, 1991. The Cougars were idle this past week while Texas Tech suffered a 34-24 loss at No. 2 Texas.
National leader in scoring offense with an average of 50 points per-game.
Led by veteran quarterback Case Keenum who ranks fourth in the nation in both passing and passing efficiency.
LAST TIME AGAINST HOUSTON
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Red Raiders did their shot-out-of-a-cannon imitation shortly after kickoff and the Houston Cougars got the powder burns.
Ignited by Byron Hanspard's career-long 63-yard touchdown burst on the game's second play, Texas Tech shot out to a 21-0 lead less than six minutes into the fray en route to a 38-26 victory in the final SWC game in the Astrodome.
The win gave Tech an 8-3 season mark, equalling its best season since 1976 (Tech was 8-3 in the `89 regular season). The Red Raiders streaked to seven wins in the their last eight games, the school's best finish in 19 years.
Hanspard closed the regular-season with a rush, running for 228 yards and catching three passes for 41 yards. He tacked on the game's second TD just four minutes deep into the game on a short pass by Lethridge.
A 57-yard put return by Dane Johnson set up a 14-yard scamper by Lethridge and it was 21-0 with 9:37 left in the opening stanza.
ANOTHER RECORD CROWD ON TAP FOR SATURDAY
For the second-straight week, Texas Tech will be part of another record breaking attendance night on Saturday evening in Robertson Stadium. Houston officials announced on Friday that the game between the Red Raiders and Cougars is sold out and that a new stadium record crowd would be established. The current attendance record for Robertson Stadium is 31,818 set back in 2006 during the Conference USA Championship game against Southern Miss. Last week in Austin, the Red Raiders and the Longhorns were part of the largest crowd to ever witness a college football game in the state of Texas. A Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium record crowd of 101,297 fans turned out for the annual grudge match between the Longhorns and the Red Raiders.
WEST TEXAS GUNSLINGERS SET FOR SHOWDOWN
West Texas football talent will be on display for the entire nation on Saturday evening at Roberston Stadium in Houston. Two of the most prolific quarterbacks in the nation just so happen to call the same city as home - Abilene. Tech's Taylor Potts, a product of Abilene High, will face off against Houston's Case Keenum who prepped across town at Abilene Wylie. Potts currently leads the country with an average of 427 yards per-game while Keenum is third in the
nation with 362.5 yards per-game. Add in Texas Tech receiver Lyle Leong, who was a high school teammate of Potts, and the Abilene connection only grows. Leong has been Potts' go-to guy in the end zone this season as he owns a team-leading five touchdown catches.
Saturday's game in Houston is shaping up to be quite the reunion for Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach. Two of Leach's prodigies will be on the Houston sideline helping guide the Cougar offense. Cougar offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen was on Leach's first staff at Texas Tech when he took the job in 2000 and remained alongside him for eight seasons. The first quarterback of the Mike Leach era will also be in Cougar apparel on Saturday as Kliff Kingsbury serves the squad as offensive quality control. Kingsbury threw for 12,429 yards during his three-year career with the Red Raiders, a mark that ranks second all-time at Texas Tech behind Graham Harrell.
NOTES FROM THE TEXAS GAME
Texas Tech struck first in the game as place kicker Matt Williams nailed a career-long 41-yard field goal to give the Red Raiders a 3-0 lead with 11:06 remaining in the first quarter.
Texas scored its first touchdown on a 46-yard punt return for a touchdown by Jordan Shipley. Shipley returned a 45-yard punt for a TD in last year's game and was the last player to do so against the Red Raiders until tonight.
Junior cornerback LaRon Moore picked off Colt McCoy with 10:02 remaining in the second quarter to earn his first career interception. The interception ended a Texas drive at the Texas Tech 27-yard line.
The Tech offense finally found its groove on its first offensive possession of the second half and produced its first touchdown of the night. Taylor Potts connected with fellow Abilene native Lyle Leong for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 6:27 remaining in the third quarter to pull Tech to within seven.
Early in the fourth quarter gave the Red Raiders a boost. Austin native D.J. Johnson, picked off his first career interception to give Tech the ball on its own 19 yard line.
Neither Tech nor Texas was able to score an offensive touchdown in the first half. The Texas Tech offense was held to just three points in the first half marking the first time that has happened since the game at TCU in 2006. The then 20th-ranked Horned Frogs held the Red Raiders to a field goal in the first quarter and pitched a shutout the rest of the way to claim a 12-3 win.
Snapped Texas Tech's two-game win streak and was Tech's third consecutive loss away from Jones AT&T Stadium.
Five different receivers had 5-plus receptions in the game with Ed Britton leading the way with eight (69 yards).
DEFENSE MAKES A STATEMENT
Coming into Saturday's game at Texas, the Longhorns had averaged 50.0 points per-game in the last five contests against the Red Raiders at Texas Memorial Stadium.
Despite only having one defensive end available on Saturday in Austin, Texas Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil turned in one of his best coaching performances and in turn the Red Raider defensive unit made a big statement. The Red Raiders held a dangerous Texas offense to 34 points while racking up eight tackles for loss and two interceptions. McNeil was forced to move tackle Richard Jones and linebacker Bront Bird over to defensive end to make up for the losses of Brandon Sharpe and Ra'Jon Henley. The adjustments at defensive end weren't the only ones McNeil was forced make as he also had to replace strong safety Franklin Mitchem. Sophomore Brett Dewhurst responded well in Mitchem's absence as he totaled five tackles, including one for a loss.
Texas Tech ranks 22nd nationally and is fourth in the Big 12 in total defense. The Red Raiders are yielding just 268 yards per-game.
The Red Raider pass defense ranks 39th nationally (third in the Big 12) as Tech is allowing 178.6 yards per-game.
The Red Raiders have yet to allow an offensive touchdown in the first half of a game this season.
Senior linebacker Marlon Williams leads the unit with 26 total tackles (five going for a loss) and one interception.
STEPHENS SETS SCHOOL RECORD
True freshman running back Eric Stephens continued his impressive start to the 2009 season with a stellar showing at No. 2 Texas. He racked up an eye-catching 182 kickoff return yards to set a new Texas Tech school record for the most in a single game. The 182 yards surpassed Donny Anderson's (The Golden Palomino) mark of 169 set against Oklahoma State back in 1965 (44 years ago). His seven kick returns in the game also set a new school mark as he surpassed Ivory McCann who previously held the record of six against New Mexico in 2001.
Stephens' currently ranks 20th in the nation (No. 1 in the Big 12) with a kick return average of 29.5 yards per-game. In all, he has 236 yards on eight returns and a long of 54 yards (set against Rice).
Much hype was given to Texas' Colt McCoy last week as the two teams prepared for Saturday's game in Texas Memorial Stadium, however, it's the final numbers that really stand out. McCoy finished the game 24-of-32 with two interceptions and one touchdown pass while throwing for 205 yards. Potts ended the night 46-of-62 with one interception and three touchdowns while tossing for 420 yards.
JAMES AND JAMES
ESPN college football analyst Craig James will have the rare opportunity to cover his son on Saturday night in Houston. James will join play-by-play man Mike Patrick in the broadcast booth and will have a bird's eye view of his son Adam who is a sophomore inside receiver for the Red Raiders. Adam has caught six passes in three games for 56 yards and has hauled in one touchdown (against Rice).
LEACH JOINS FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS CAST
Mike Leach made a cameo appearance on the hit NBC show "Friday Night Lights" this past week prior to Tech's game at Texas. Leach visited the set on Friday evening to record his spot in an upcoming show that should air at the end of October.