The Texas Longhorns will begin their 2021 Big 12 slate against their heated in-state rivals, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, in Austin at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Steve Sarkisian will be looking to open his first conference slate as the new Texas head coach on a strong note, with substantial expectations facing his program following the 2-1 start to the season.
After a disappointing 2020 season, Texas Tech is off to a great start of their own, however, sitting at 3-0, including an impressive win over the Houston Cougars on opening weekend.
The Red Raiders have also been breaking in a new signal-caller in incoming quarterback transfer Tyler Shough, who came to Lubbock from Oregon after starting for the Ducks last season.
Last season, the Red Raiders ranked sixth in the Big 12 in scoring offense (29.1 PPG), sixth in rushing offense (162.8 YPG), fourth in passing offense (266.7 YPG), and fourth in total offense (429.5 YPG).
This year, those numbers have improved across the board, with the Red Raiders ranking 26th in the country in scoring offense (40.0 ppg), 36th in total offense (441.3 YPG), 63rd in rush offense (170.7 YPG), and 41st in pass offense (270.7 YPG).
On Monday, LonghornsCountry.com began its preview of Texas Tech with an overview of the program, and will now look at some offensive players to watch when Texas takes on Texas Tech in Austin on September 25 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Make sure to stick with LonghornsCountry.com through our season preview series, where we will analyze every opponent on the Longhorns schedule in 2021.
Now, on to the Red Raiders:
QB Tyler Shough
As the new signal-caller, incoming transfer QB Tyler Shough will be counted on to help the Tech offense turn a corner in 2021, after an inconsistent 2020. In one season as the starter for Oregon, Shough helped lead the Ducks to a Pac 12 title, completing 106-of-167 passes for 1,553 yards, with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
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This season, Shough has been exactly what the Red Raiders have needed, completing 55 of 81 passes for 804 yards and six touchdowns through three games.
WR Erik Ezukanma
As the Red Raiders top returning pass catcher, Erik Ezukanma was looked at to help Shough turn the offense around next fall. In a shortened 2020 season, Ezukanma finished with 46 receptions for 748 yards and six scores. This season he has been even better, catching 16 passes for 350 yards and a score.
RE Travis Koontz
A legitimate receiving threat from the tight end position is always dangerous in the style of offense that Texas Tech runs. Travis Koontz has taken advantage of that role, and has 10 catches for 81 yards and a team-high two receiving touchdowns thus far in 2021.
RB Tahj Brooks
Running back was a question for the Red Raiders heading into 2021, and Tahj Brooks has been the answer. Through the first three games of the season, Brooks has 35 carries for 284 yards and four touchdowns -- good for team-highs in each category.
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