THE BREAKDOWN: Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss

Red Raiders defensive lineman Eli Howard (53) celebrates with defensive lineman Kolin Hill (13) after a play during the first quarter against the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium.Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Red Raiders aim to slow down Rebel QB Jordan Ta'amu

SERIES HISTORY: Ole Miss leads Texas Tech 3-2 in the all-time series. The good news for the Red Raiders is that they won both regular-season meetings. The bad news is that Mississippi has won all three meetings at a neutral site, which Saturday’s game will be at NRG Stadium in Houston.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They understand it’s going to be an incredible atmosphere in our home state with a bunch of great Texas Tech fans. Can’t beat it. National TV, first game of that weekend on ESPN, rolling right from Game Day. So they know the eyes that will be on them and the opportunity we have to make a statement.” – Kliff Kingsbury on opening versus Mississippi at NRG Stadium in Houston.

KEY MATCHUP: Mississippi senior quarterback Jordan Ta’amu took over as the starter eight games into last season and shined. He completed two-third of his attempts in passing for 1,682 yards, 11 TDs and 4 INTs. More importantly, he led the Rebels to wins over Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi State. He has a trio of experienced receivers with him led by A.J. Brown (75 catches, 1,252 yards, 11 TDs last season). The Red Raiders believe their defense is much better than it was two years ago and it prides itself on creating turnovers. They need to step up and slow down Ta’amu and the Rebels passing game to give Texas Tech a chance to win.

ROSTER REPORT:

RB Da’Leon Ward redshirted last season, then took over the starting spot through the spring and summer. He was arrested in mid-August on a theft charge, but then quickly released with an apology from the Lubbock District Attorney.

S Jah'Shawn Johnson was recovering from a shoulder injury when training camp began. Kingsbury said he has been working back in to practices and he will be a game-time decision versus Mississippi.

CB Octavious Morgan suffered a lower leg injury in the first scrimmage of training camp. It appears that he is out for the season, though Texas Tech hasn’t said that officially.

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