2019 College Football Preview: Texas Tech Red Raiders

Big South Tournament

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Head Coach: Matt Wells

O/U 6.5 Wins (O +125; U -155)

National Title: +25000

2018 Record: 5-7, 3-6 Conference

Bowl: 24-35 loss to Baylor at Arlington

After four straight losing seasons, the Texas Tech Red Raiders decided to head a different direction and hire Matt Wells to guide the program. The former Utah State HC took the Aggies to five-straight bowl games in his six seasons there, and he left as the second-most winning coach in school history. The Red Raiders hinted that it could be better last year, but it lost three games by eight points or less, and two of those came from the Big 12 title winner and the runner-up. Wells hopes to improve on this team’s closeout abilities to transform that record into a winning one, and sophomore QB Alan Bowman looks to play a big role in any potential turnaround.


Texas Tech’s passing attack is one to be rivaled. David Yost masterminds it, and he will work with Alan Bowman, a guy who Yost refers to as a “football junkie.” Bowman missed all but four games last year with a leg injury, but he had a completion ratio of 69.4 percent and he had 2,638 yards and 17 TDs against Big 12 teams. His primary targets will have the experience, in Seth Collins and TJ Vasher. Both have some minor injuries that are not expected to last until the season. Vasher is a long receiver with the reach and wingspan to be a major target. He had seven TD catches in 2018, ranking No. 2 on the team. Vasher was a big target with 687 yards in 11 games.

At running back the Red Raiders will hand off to Ta’Zhawn Terry and receiver KeSean Carter. Both sophomores will be better with the experiences of last season, and Carter is a track star who ran a 6.71-second 60-yard dash (indoors). The OL returns four veterans in Terence Steele, Travis Buffy, Madison Akamnonu, and Jack Anderson. Wells shifted some of their positioning around, but the unit has plenty of depth and is still a strong point in the offensive unit. Wells is hoping the depth makes a difference should injuries arise.


Keith Patterson is the defensive coordinator. The Red Raiders allowed 448.9 yards per game last year, and it is hoping to create far more turnovers after averaging just 1.5 last year (down from 2.2 in 2017). Dakota Allen must be replaced in the middle, as he had 262 tackles in three years. That role will turn to Jordyn Brooks and Riko Jeffers. The pair combined for 144 takedowns last year. The defensive front will be an experienced group with Eli Howard and Broderick Washington headlining it. It should be strong in pressure application, which hopefully induces more turnovers. The Aggies tied the FBS lead with 32 turnovers forced last year, and it had 22 interceptions, a figure which can be bettered still. Adrian Frye, Jaylon Lane, and Justus Parker all will hope to benefit from the pressure created in the backfield to pick off even more passes this season.

Special Teams

Wells is hoping to bring in more kickers and punters. Trey Wolff may replace Clayon Hatfield, who was 7 of 7 last year from 40 yards or further. Wolff has some consistency issues and lacks experience, however. Cody Waddell will be the punter competing with Austin McNamara (who was No. 3 ranked punter in the 2019 recruiting class). McNamara averaged 42.6 yards per punt in his senior year of high school and put 12 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Final Word

The offense has a lot of adjustments to make, and it is loaded with youth. The defense will again focus on turnovers and be quite strong with a variety of blitz plays that will star the new hybrid Red Raider position, expected to be filled by Lonzell Gilmore. This team should get more sacks than a year ago. The Raiders have a lot of turnover on the team and new schemes, so regression could be expected, but simply closing out games could positively impact the win total without regard to all the other issues expected to arise. A one-game improvement is within reach, and even possibly two games.

Prediction: 6 wins (under)

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