Red Raiders travel to No. 16 NC State


Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech’s first road test of the 2022 season awaits this Saturday as No. 16 N.C. State hosts the Red Raiders at Carter-Finley Stadium (56,919). The game kicks off at 6 p.m. Central, 7 p.m. local time, for the two squads that share a 2-0 record entering the contest.

Anish Shroff will call the game on ESPN2 on-site alongside analyst Brock Osweiler and sideline reporter Taylor McGregor. The broadcast can be accessed from any desktop or laptop computer, a personal cellular device and television streaming services using the ESPN app. Registration for the subscription service can be found at ESPNPlus.com.

Texas Tech Sports Network will also broadcast the game over 46 affiliates throughout the state of Texas and New Mexico as Brian Jensen will have the call alongside analyst John Harris and sideline reporter Chris Level. The radio broadcast can also be heard on SiriusXM channel 108 or 199, as well as on the Varsity app.

ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER TOP-25 FOE

Texas Tech’s reward for its first top-25 win under head coach Joey McGuire is another ranked foe this Saturday when the Red Raiders travel to face No. 12 North Carolina State at Carter-Finley Stadium. Tech is coming off a 33-30 double-overtime win over No. 25 Houston this past weekend.

The Red Raiders are looking to secure back-to-back wins over ranked opponents in consecutive weeks for the first time since Texas Tech downed No. 1 Texas and No. 8 Oklahoma State late in the 2008 season. Since the Associated Press poll debuted in 1936, Tech has not defeated multiple ranked non-conference foes in the regular season in program history.

GREAT START TO JOEY MCGUIRE ERA

Texas Tech fans likely couldn’t draw up a better start to the Joey McGuire era as the Red Raiders blew out Murray State before delivering the first key victory under their new head coach in a 33-30 win over No. 25 Houston. For McGuire, he became only the second head coach in program history to top a top-25 team in his first-ever game against a ranked foe.

With a win at N.C. State this weekend, McGuire would become only the fourth head coach in program history to start his career with a 3-0 record, joining the likes of Dell Morgan (1941), Mike Leach (2000) and Kliff Kingsbury (2013).

RED RAIDERS, N.C. STATE SET FOR SIXTH ALL-TIME MEETING

The trip to Raleigh will mark the sixth all-time meeting between Texas Tech and North Carolina State and the first since the two schools completed a home-and-home series in 2003. The Red Raiders are 1-4 all-time against the Wolfpack with the lone win coming in a 54-7 blowout of N.C. State in Lubbock to close the 1952 season.

This will be the third time in the series where the Red Raiders have faced a ranked N.C. State as the Wolfpack were No. 25 in the polls in 1992 and No. 17 in 2002. Texas Tech came close to topping the Wolfpack in overtime during that 2002 meeting before T.A. McLendon rushed for five rushing touchdowns to go along with 301 passing yards from future NFL great Philip Rivers.

Two of the last three meetings between the two schools have gone down to the wire as N.C. State scored a game-winning touchdown as time expired to secure a 36-34 win in Lubbock in 1993 before an overtime win nearly a decade later in 2002. The loss in 1993 spoiled a strong offensive performance by the Red Raiders where Bam Morris totaled 141 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Robert Hall completed 29-of-40 passes for 348 yards and a touchdown.

Texas Tech will have to wait a few years for N.C. State to make its return trip to Jones AT&T Stadium as part of the home-and-home contract the two schools signed in 2016. The final game of the series will have the Wolfpack travel to Lubbock on Sept. 18, 2027.

RANDOM TIDBITS HEADING INTO FIRST ROAD TRIP OF THE YEAR

Texas Tech improved to 8-7 all-time in overtime games with its victory last weekend over No. 25 Houston. The win snapped a three-game losing streak in overtime contests as the Red Raiders’ last overtime win came in 2016 with a 27-24 victory at TCU. Like Donovan Smith this past weekend, Texas Tech also capitalized on the quarterback scramble in that win as Patrick Mahomes II found the end zone from 15 yards out in the first overtime, which was followed by a Clayton Hatfield 37-yard field goal to win it a period later.

Texas Tech was previously 2-3 all-time in overtime games against ranked foes after edging No. 23 Texas A&M, 48-47, in a memorable victory in 2002 and then No. 21 TCU, 56-53, in 2012. The Red Raiders had gone to overtime in two of the last three seasons previously, falling at No. 22 Baylor and against No. 8 Texas in 2020.

The victory over Houston marked its fifth-straight in the series and its 10th in the last 11 meetings between the two future Big 12 Conference members. That five-game winning streak matches the longest all-time in the series.

Texas Tech is 10-17 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Texas Tech’s five previous meetings with N.C. State match its most all-time against ACC opponents as the Red Raiders are also 1-4 historically against Florida State and Miami. Over their history, the Red Raiders have also faced Boston College (2-1), Clemson (1-0), Georgia Tech (0-2), North Carolina (1-2), Virginia (1-0) and Wake Forest (2-0).

Texas Tech’s 96 points through the first two weeks of the season are its most since totaling 104 at the same point of its 2018 campaign, which featured a 47-27 loss versus Ole Miss and a 77-0 rout of Lamar.

CHALLENGING SCHEDULE CONTINUES

The start to the Joey McGuire era has not been an easy one for the Red Raiders, who are in the midst of possibly three-straight ranked opponents. Texas Tech started that stretch with a victory over No. 25 Houston and follows with contests at No. 16/12 N.C. State and No. 21/20 Texas (AP/AFCA polls).

Texas Tech is one of only four power-five conference schools that were slated to face at least two non-conference opponents ranked in the preseason Associated Press top 25. That list also includes Pac-12 programs Oregon and Stanford along with the SEC’s Arkansas.

There is just one power-five program, Mississippi State, that had more preseason AP top 25 teams on its season schedule than Texas Tech with six. The Red Raiders’ preseason schedule pit them against five AP top-25 ranked opponents, and are one of 10 Power Five teams faced with that type of 2022 schedule (Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina, Syracuse, Stanford, Arkansas, Auburn, South Carolina and Vanderbilt).

Since both Houston and N.C. State remained in the top-25 polls prior to facing the Red Raiders, this marks the first time since 2002 that Texas Tech has faced multiple ranked non-conference opponents in a season. The Red Raiders previously started the 2002 campaign at No. 12 Ohio State before traveling later to face No. 16 N.C. State in the fourth week of the season. This will be only the sixth time in program history where the Red Raiders have faced multiple ranked non-conference opponents in a regular season since joining the Southwest Conference in 1960. Texas Tech also faced multiple ranked non-conference teams in 1994 (No. 1 Nebraska, No. 21 Oklahoma), 1992 (No. 15 Oklahoma, No. 25 N.C. State), 1990 (No. 18 Ohio State, No. 8 Miami) and 1975 (No. 15 Oklahoma State, No. 13 Arizona).

In addition to both Houston and N.C. State, the Red Raiders will open Big 12 play against Texas, which is ranked No. 20 in the AFCA coaches poll and is at No. 21 n the AP poll. Texas Tech will follow with contests at Kansas State, which is also receiving votes in both polls, and then at No. 8/7 Oklahoma State.

In its history, Texas Tech has started off only one other season with three of its first four games against ranked opponents as the Red Raiders last did so in 1978 against the likes of No. 9 Southern Cal, No. 6 Texas and No. 7 Texas A&M. Tech dropped all three of those games, falling 17-9 at Southern Cal and then 24-7 at home to Texas and 38-9 in College Station to the Aggies. The Red Raiders recovered, though, to win their next six games as part of a 7-4 season under Rex Dockery.

THE CHAIN GANG

On offense, the Red Raiders have kept the chain gang busy, but while on defense, they’ve got plenty of rest. The Red Raider offense has manufactured the eighth-most first downs (64) in the FBS thus far this season, while the defense is limiting opponents to the 13th-least first downs (26) in the FBS.

The Red Raiders are averaging 32.0 first downs per game in two games under first-year offensive coordinator Zach Kittley, ranking T-2nd best in the FBS. Under first-year defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter, opponents are averaging 13.0 first downs per game, ranking 13th nationally in the FBS.

Texas Tech did not allow a single first down in the second half versus Murray State and buckled down again in the second half versus Houston allowing just five first downs, including only one first down allowed to the Cougars in the fourth quarter. Texas Tech limited Houston to 13 first downs in regulation before giving up three more between the two overtime periods for its 16 in the game.

The Red Raiders have only surrendered six first downs via the opponent run game, ranking T-4th least in the FBS.

MAN FOR THE THEATRICS

Donovan Smith is 3-2 as a starting quarterback and 2-1 in games played at Jones AT&T Stadium. In both wins, each came in a dramatic fashion that sent fellow classmates into a frenzy, rushing the field in celebration. The first win came via a 62-yard field goal as time expired versus Iowa State in 2021 and the latest was last weekend as Smith, himself, escaped pressure and scored a touchdown from nine-yards-out in the second overtime that won the game after the Cougars converted a field goal with their second overtime possession.

Smith set career highs across the board in Texas Tech’s win over Houston, snapping his previous career highs for completions (36), attempts (58) and passing yards (351) as well as a career-long run (27) in the win. It was the second 300-yard game of Smith’s career as Texas Tech is now 2-0 in those games after defeating Iowa State a year ago.

The ball was in Smith’s hands often against the Cougars as he made 79 total offensive attempts with 58 passes and 21 rushes. It marked the second-most total offensive plays by a Red Raider dating back to 2000, trailing only the 100 attempts Patrick Mahomes II made on a record-setting night against Oklahoma in 2016.

While Texas Tech quarterbacks have built quite the reputation for passing yards, it was Smith’s legs that made an impact against Houston as he escaped for a 27-yard run late in regulation and then followed with the game-winning touchdown in double overtime. His 21 rushing attempts were the most by a Red Raider quarterback since Zebbie Lethridge had the same total in the 1996 season opener versus Kansas State, which was Tech’s first as Big 12 members.

THE RIGHT FIT

Known for his versatility throughout his Texas Tech career, sixth-year senior Kosi Eldridge has found his place on the Red Raiders’ defense as its starting “Will” Linebacker (weak-side linebacker). Eldridge, in his third season as a Red Raider, was utilized in multiple linebacker spots and a hybrid defensive back role in 2020, and as a defensive back in 2021, but was shifted to weak-side linebacker in fall camp, and earned the starting job.

Eldridge has recorded 1.0 TFL in each of the first two games at his new position to start the 2022 season. He entered this year with 1.5 TFLs in his Tech career with 1.0 in 2020 and 0.5 in 2021.

Eldridge shined versus Houston posting a career-high seven tackles, besting his previous high of four.

No tackle may have been more important than his first sack since 2020 on a 3rd and 4 from the TTU15 that set Houston back 15 yards and forced an attempted 47-yard field goal that was missed on 4th and 19 late in the third quarter.



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