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Is Texas Ready For Red Raiders' Passing Attack?

The Red Raiders currently own the Big 12's top passing attack

No one in Lubbock should forget the Texas game last fall at Jones AT&T Stadium. 

Texas Tech led 56-41 with just more than three minutes left. At that point, Sam Ehlinger led a pair of drives culminating in touchdowns to Joshua Moore and Brennan Eagles to tie the game by the end of regulation. 

Ehlinger, a four-year starter, cemented the comeback by connecting with Moore again in overtime for the 63-56 win. 

Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown hasn't forgotten the performance, either. He remembers giving up a 75-yard touchdown run after an open-field missed tackle, and the Horns allowed 441 yards of offense. 

Overshown said the Longhorns had "fight" down by two scores. That "fight" coming to DKR this time around takes the form of a pissed-off Red Raiders team.  

"It's a big and physical team," Overshown said Tuesday. "They want to take shots down the field and they want to run it vertical." 

READ MORE: Conference Opening Showdown: Previewing Texas vs. Texas Tech

Big 12 play begins for Texas (2-1) at home Saturday. So far, the Longhorns have faced either a more balanced offensive approach or a hard-nose rushing attack. Both Louisiana and Arkansas tried to run it up the middle, with the Hogs finding massive success. Arkansas ran for 333 yards and four touchdowns in Week 2. 

The Red Raiders (3-0) are a passing team in the air-raid system. That's been the case since the days of Mike Leach, and has been passed down to Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Wells now. 

"Every now and then they'll check it down to the tight end and let him get some action, but they want to get the ball to No. 13 (Erik Ezukanma)," Overshown said. "It our job as the back of the defense to keep that from happening." 

New Tech quarterback Tyler Shough looks right at home in the Red Raiders' system, currently leading the conference in passing yards (804) and second in touchdowns (6). Meanwhile, Ezukanma has prospered as the conference's leading receiver with 350 yards on 16 catches. 

READ MORE: Texas New No. 1 Receiver? Freshman Xavier Worthy Looks The Part

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Surprisingly, Wells has put more of an emphasis on a balanced offense through three games, asking Shough to throw more than 30 times just once. When in rhythm, the former Oregon quarterback isn't afraid to let it rip long. 

"We already know what to expect," Overshown said of the Texas secondary. "They're going to take shots. They're going to try to get our eyes off our keys and they're going to try us deep." 

Texas' secondary has been the strength under new defensive coordinator Pete Kwitkowski. The team hasn't allowed more than 282 passing yards in a game, propelling them to the third-best pass defense in conference play. 

Overshown said the secondary is up the challenge. Will the run defense be as well? Tech returns running back SaRodorick Thompson, who missed the first two games after undergoing shoulder surgery. 

Thompson has giving the Horns trouble in the past two seasons, combining for 290 yards and four touchdowns. 

READ MORE: Casey Thompson vs. Hudson Card: Do Coach Sark's Longhorns Have 2 QBs? Or None?

Texas and Texas Tech announced earlier this month that the two instate rivals would continue to play following the Longhorns' move to the SEC. 

Rivalry games often don't come down to the better gameplan or talent. Sometimes it's just pure luck that no one can predict.

This may be one those times. In any case, Texas' defense hopes to be ready for whatever Wells and the Red Raiders throw its way. 

CONTINUE READING: Big 12 Rankings: A New Team Leap Frogs OU For Top Spot


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