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Red Raiders Week 9 vs. Baylor: Defensive Players to Watch

The Red Raiders continue Big 12 play with a matchup against defending league champion Baylor at Jones AT&T Stadium in Week 9.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders continue their Big 12 slate in Week 9 when they host defending Big 12 champion Baylor at Jones A&T Stadium on Oct. 29.

The Red Raiders will be playing their second straight home game, having faced West Virginia in Lubbock on Oct. 22. It caps a tough stretch for Texas Tech, as it will the Red Raiders’ third game against a Big 12 bowl team from 2021 in four games.

The Bears won last year’s matchup in Waco, Texas, 27-24.

Baylor is coming off a 12-2 season in which it won the Big 12 for the third time but won the Big 12 Championship Game for the first time in a dramatic 21-16 win over Oklahoma State. The Bears went on to beat Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl.

The Red Raiders went 7-6 last season and have a new head coach in Joey McGuire, who was a Baylor assistant under both Matt Rhule and current coach Dave Aranda.

Be sure to stick with as we preview every aspect of the matchup with the Bears throughout the week.

Now, here’s a look at some of the top defensive players to watch for Baylor.

LB Dillon Doyle

Overshadowed by Terrell Bernard last season, Doyle still put up some impressive numbers — 90 tackles, which was second-best on the team. Now it’s on him to be the No. 1 tackler on the team out of the all-important middle-linebacker spot. He has plenty of experience at the position. But now he has to set the pace for the entire unit.

NT Siaki Ika

You can’t get around this guy. Actually, that’s almost literal. Ika is 358 pounds and plugs the middle of the Baylor defense in a way that only a dam can relate to. He’s a reason why Baylor was No. 2 in the Big 12 in run defense and No. 17 in the country, giving up 118.4 yards per game in 2021. He’s part of a packed and experienced defensive front that should perform similarly in 2022.

CB Al Walcott

JT Woods led the Bears with six interceptions last season. The Bears need a candidate to replace that production, and the steady Walcott seems the most likely candidate of those starters returning. He started the last eight games of the season, made 30 tackles and had three interceptions. But the third one was a big one — his interception for a 98-yard touchdown against Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl.

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