A couple of teams that trended in different ways to end the regular season meet here as the 8-4 Ole Miss Rebels travel to Houston to face the 7-5 Texas Tech Red Raiders in the TaxAct Texas Bowl.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys to a game that is only an hour closer to Lubbock than Oxford:
Run Over The Red Raiders
Ole Miss lost three on the bounce to end the year, which was frustrating given their epic 7-0 start to the season. This team wins with an up-tempo running game that can pick up yards in massive chunks at any point in the game and from anywhere on the field. While the team’s overall depth will be tested by transfer, the rushing attack of freshman Quinshon Johnson – almost 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns – and quarterback Jaxson Dart will be on show. The Rebels should go for 200 yards plus on the day.
Get To Tyler Shough
Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough is a potential star. He passed for over 400 yards and two touchdowns as the Red Raiders beat Oklahoma in shootout fashion late in the year, and with Behren Morton out injured and Donovan Smith transferring, this is his chance to cement the gig going into 2023. If he can stay healthy, he has NFL level talent, so getting the pass rush rolling and keeping him uncomfortable in the pocket will be huge.
Make Fewer Mistakes
The basics for this one make sense. Ole Miss wants to run the ball, and Texas Tech will look to win by throwing the ball. In a game with clearly defined strengths, mistakes are critical. The Rebels have to make sure to hold onto the ball in the run game and need to pick up a key interception or two on the defensive side. The hidden yardage of penalties will also be essential. Holing penalties on the offensive line are amplified in a run-heavy scheme, so keeping the laundry off the field matters.