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Game 8 Preview – BYU Cougars

In what’s been a very disappointing season up to this point for Texas Tech, very winnable games still keep presenting themselves nearly every week. That proves no different here this Saturday, as the Red Raiders will take on a BYU team for their first-ever trip to the state of Utah. After rising to a .500 record with back-to-back conference wins, Tech fell to K-State last week after a lackluster 2nd half performance. Now sitting at 3-4 for the year, they can nil afford to drop another toss-up game if they want to play in a bowl. This BYU team is very beatable, but there are definitely ways we can go out and lose it. Here are my keys to the game this Saturday for Tech to beat the Cougars:

If Jake Strong goes, make the game easier on him

Although I have not heard any official word on the status of Behren Morton, I would be surprised to see him in this game. With a bye week on the horizon, it would be the safer option to let him sit and get healthy for the last month of the season. All that being said, Jake Strong’s night has to be laid out as easy as possible. Short/quick throws, possibly slower pace, and oh I don’t know, maybe the hand the ball off a few times *cough*. Kittley was rightfully under a lot of fire for putting too much on Strong’s plate last week, he cannot afford to make that mistake 2 weeks in a row. Tahj Brooks MUST get his touches in a game like this.

Limit turnovers / keep the TO margin close

While there are not a ton of eye-popping stats on this BYU team, the one thing that does stick out is their turnover margin. The Cougars currently sit at +4 for the season, placing them at 24th in the nation in that category. Tech on the other hand, is nearly the exact opposite at -3. While that number is a bit inflated after last week’s debacle, it still feels like their turnover margin has not been great this year. Tech needs to be safe on offense, and more opportunistic on defense. We could use every chance to score we could get, as I could see this game being a sloppy one. If you turn the ball over 2+ times, there’s a large chance you’re not winning this one.

Don’t get out-coached

While this is a pretty vague point, I think it’s the most important of the three keys. More than one time this year, Tech has been out-coached at some level of the game, most recently being last weekend. It was evident what we were doing with Jake Strong was not working, yet we kept forcing the issue. We need to find what works for us early in this game, and we need to keep riding that script until BYU finds a way to stop it. This game is winnable, but our staff has to keep the team positioned best to win.

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