By Russell Raunam
Alpha Media Intern
The #13 Oregon Ducks travel to Lubbock, Texas Saturday night to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders following two very different results from the teams in Week 1. Oregon hosted Portland State last week and gave the Vikings an absolute beatdown to a score of 81-7. Despite only playing one half and the first drive in the 3rd QTR, Bo Nix went 23/27 with three touchdowns and 287 passing yards. Nix has the ability to extend plays with his legs, but Nix did not rush the ball one time last week. A key aspect in non-conference games that end in blowouts is to not reveal much of your playbook for future opponents. Could Oregon be hiding a large attack on the ground game for Nix?
Bucky Irving is a future NFL running back who Texas Tech Head Coach Joey McQuire believes, “Could be the best running back we face this year.” Bucky Irving was pulled the same time as Nix, and he produced a solid 149 total yards on just 7 touches. One of those touches he took to the house for a 56 yard run. Irving possesses a rare balance of speed and power, and he can beat you with his athleticism, or with his strength. If Texas Tech aims to shut down Bo Nix, will Irving take advantage of any empty boxes?
The last of the big three for Oregon is star WR Tony Franklin. Franklin tallied eight touchdowns and 891 receiving yards for the Ducks in 2022, and this year he is looking to hit the 1,000 yard mark after an off season with Bo Nix. Franklin was pulled with the other starters last week but still recorded a healthy statline of 106 yards with two touchdowns. Franklin stands at 6’3” and can run any route on the receiver tree. With these three players, Oregon’s offense will be tough to slow down.
On the Texas Tech side, the Red Raiders are looking to rally from a shocking double overtime loss vs Wyoming 33-35. Texas Tech entered Wyoming as a highly anticipated dark horse team to make a run in not only the Big 12, but nationally. Despite this loss coming in week one and a long season still ahead, the Red Raiders were not planning on losing in a game where they were 14 point favorites. With the opportunity to bounce back vs #13 Oregon on national television, you could not script a better week 2 bounce back game for Texas Tech.
Last week QB Tyler Shough threw the ball 47 times, the 2nd most in his career only behind an overtime game vs Oklahoma in 2022. Shough also tallied 15 carries on the ground, in an attempt to will his team to a comeback victory. This was all done in the thinnest air in college football. Tyler Shough enters week 2 in a homecoming game as he played for the Oregon Ducks in 2019 and 2020. Shough even led Oregon to a Pac 12 championship in 2020 and an appearance in a NY6 bowl game. Unlike Wyoming who is a run first team, Oregon and Texas Tech are on par with the fast paced, no huddle offenses in which both teams have found success. It will be hard for either team to want to punt the ball to one another knowing any possession can likely end in a touchdown. Shough has been selected as captain for this upcoming game, and he will be looking to get Texas Tech back on track vs a tough opponent in Oregon.
Texas Tech has a star receiver on their own, and he goes by the name of Jerrand Bradley. Bradley had a team high 14 targets last week, hauling in 88 yards and a touchdown for the Red Raiders. Bradley has always been a big deep ball threat for opposing defenses with a career line of 14.5 yards per catch. Bradley stands tall at 6’5” and can go up and win a jump ball if he needs to. Texas Tech will need Shough and Bradley to find a groove early if they want to keep Oregon on its heels.
Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford Jr. will be two key front seven players who can pose a threat to Oregon’s offensive line. Hutchings and Bradford Jr. were quiet in the Wyoming game, combining for only 5 tackles, but look for these two guys to show up vs Oregon. In the secondary, Texas Tech starts four experienced seniors headlined by Braylin Lux. Lux had an interception late in the 2nd quarter vs Wyoming, but it was called back due to a penalty. With the way the Ducks like to throw the ball, the secondary will have to be impactful.
Texas Tech and Oregon will be a heavyweight matchup that is a highly anticipated week 2 game. When two high-flying offenses kick things off in the Lubbock night sky, anything can happen. But one thing is for sure…. There will be plenty of tortillas flying at opening kickoff.