Baylor and Texas Tech will play what amounts to an elimination game for the Big 12 Conference title chase Saturday afternoon when they square off in Lubbock, Texas.
The teams have identical records (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) and are tied for fifth in the 10-team league with five games to play. A third conference loss would doom either in their effort to become one of the top two teams at the end of the regular season.
Baylor heads to Lubbock after a 35-23 win at home over Kansas on Saturday. The Bears racked up 273 yards rushing, with freshman running back Richard Reese amassing 186 of those on 31 carries — both career highs.
Baylor bolted to a 28-3 halftime lead and held on to win.
The victory gave the Bears some needed momentum for a stretch run. Both Baylor and Texas Tech can make up ground with November games against first-place TCU, but both have lost to second-place Oklahoma State.
“Killer instinct or whatever that is, we’re aiming to work to get it,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said. “The best teams have that. For us it’s something we have to teach. I have to teach it better and we have to execute it. With the rest of the schedule the way it lays out, it’s going to be needed.”
Texas Tech also snapped a two-game losing streak and is riding high after a 48-10 win at home over West Virginia on Oct. 22. The Red Raiders got a pair of touchdown passes from Behren Morton and two scoring runs from Tahj Brooks.
The Red Raiders’ resume includes overtime wins over Houston and Texas, but Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire called the victory over West Virginia his team’s most complete game.
Texas Tech excels at wearing down the opposition, averaging an FBS-leading 89.3 plays per game.
“Again, we’re going to try to hit over 100,” said McGuire, a longtime Baylor assistant in his first year leading the Red Raiders. “It’s just one thing in last few games that has helped our offense — and definitely helped our offensive line — is, you know, the amount of time that we can keep people on the field.
“Tempo-wise, I feel like our guys are in really good shape to handle that.”
After the teams spent a decade playing at neutral sites, Baylor has won the past two games played in Waco, and Tech won the last meeting in Lubbock (2020) — with all three games decided by a field goal or less. The Bears will try to snap a 10-game losing streak in Lubbock that dates to 1990.
–Field Level Media