Houston is looking to beat Texas Tech this weekend after losing at home last year to the Red Raiders, 24-27. Texas Tech wants to continue its win streak after losing its opening game to Ole Miss. With a junior All-American defensive tackle who is already on early Heisman-watch lists and a quarterback who can catch you off-guard with the run game, here are some key players for Houston that could cause Texas Tech some problems:
1. DT Ed Oliver
The junior from Houston has made it on more than 15 preseason award lists and is already considered to be in the running for the Heisman. Oliver’s athleticism and aggressiveness up front will be a true test for Texas Tech’s offensive line. He had three solo tackles last week versus Arizona and disrupted the backfield multiple times. Against Rice during opening week, Oliver totaled 13 tackles with 3.5 TFLs.
Oliver is capable of getting past more than one blocker, so Texas Tech needs to figure out a way to slow him down and give Alan Bowman time to pass the ball. With Travis Bruffy still questionable to play against Houston, it will be interesting to see what Tech does to stop Oliver’s aggressiveness.
2. QB D’Eriq King
King is a junior out of Manvel, Texas, who has experience playing at wide receiver in addition to quarterback. Against Rice, he went 17-24 with 325 yards and three touchdowns, while totaling 33 rushing yards on seven attempts and a touchdown on the ground. Last week, King went 17-34, tallying 246 yards and four touchdowns. He gained over 30 rushing yards again and accounted for two rushing touchdowns in the game.
“If we don’t contain (King) he’s going to be a problem,” Texas Tech defensive tackle Broderick Washington said. “He’s pretty elusive, throws great balls and makes a lot of plays with his feet, so if we’re not doing our job in containing him, he can make a lot of big plays with his feet.”
3. RB Patrick Carr
The junior running back from The Woodlands, Texas, is one of Houston's top three rushing leaders in both games. He averaged 9.3 yards per carry against Rice. Last week against Arizona, he had 62 yards on eight carries. He had a long run of over 30 yards in both games. Texas Tech’s defensive line has a lot of work ahead of them trying to put pressure on King and slow down Carr.
BONUS: LB Roman Brown
Brown is a senior from DeSoto, Texas, who already has four times the amount of tackles in two games (19) than he totaled in previous seasons (4). He has actually accounted for one more tackle than Oliver has in the past two games. He had 11 total tackles and a pass breakup against Rice. Last week, he totaled eight tackles including four solo ones. Brown is one of Houston’s defensive leaders behind Oliver, and Texas Tech will need to figure out a way to avoid him.