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Texas Tech looks to bounce back as they welcome Tarleton State to Lubbock

I’m back again with another preview after what was just a heartbreaking loss for the Red Raiders against a tough Oregon Ducks squad.

Tech looked fantastic at times and had a much better showing than they did against Wyoming, but it still wasn’t enough as the Red Raiders fell 38-30.

It sucks, but that was last week. Now Texas Tech welcomes in FCS school Tarleton State as they look to bounce back and finally get something in the win column.

Let’s start looking at Tarleton, shall we?

Tarleton is led by sophomore QB Victor Gabalis. Gabalis started his career in 2021 at Washington State where he saw limited action. In 2022 he transferred to Utah Tech, where he put up impressive numbers. 1,960 yards and 17 TDs to be exact. He now finds himself as the starter for a promising 2-0 Tarleton State team looking to pull of a historic upset.

Gabalis has had a fantastic start to his 2023 campaign. In both games thus far, Gabalis has broken 300 yards and passed for at least 3 TDs in each showing. For season totals, Gabalis has passed for 645 yards and 7 TDs, but has also thrown 3 picks. He’s a talented QB who can read defenses and take the top off if needed. While he is a fantastic passer, Gabalis is almost the complete opposite of a dual-threat. He’s never had a full season where he hasn’t finished with negative rushing yards. He’s almost a pure pocket passer, and that should bode well for the Texas Tech pass rush if they can get in there.

On the ground, the Texans have 2 guys that split carries basically right down the middle. Derrel Kelley III has 29 carries this season that he’s taken for 192 yards and 2 TDs, with an average of 6.6 yards per carry.

The other back is Kayvon Britten, who has taken 32 carries for 146 yards and 3 TDS, with an average of 4.6 yards per carry.

This is Kelley’s 4th year at Tarleton, while Britten is a transfer from Arkansas Pine-Bluff. Neither guy is really a considered a big back, but both are extremely efficient when running the ball, and Tech is going to need to keep them in check.

In the receiving aspect, the Texans are led by Keylan Johnson. Through 2 games, Johnson already has 7 catches for 255 yards and 4 TDs. This guy is explosive and the Red Raider secondary is going to need to have eyes on him at all times, because he can very easily take the top off a defense.

Defensively, Tarleton has let up 34 to McNeese and 31 to North Alabama, so there is a lot of opportunity for Tech’s offense to really open it up.

Thoughts and Prediction:

If we’re being real here, this game shouldn’t be close. As impressed as I am with Tarleton’s 2-0 start, this game is one that Tech should have the backups in by the start of the 3rd Quarter. Tech has gotten off to a really rough start, but this is the opportunity to get a comfortable win and get ready for conference play. Tech wins 52-17.

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