TUCSON, Ariz. – The scoreboard operator figures to be busy Saturday when Texas Tech visits Arizona, which recorded 51 points before halftime in last week's 65-41 victory over Northern Arizona. The Wildcats will need to maintain a similar pace against Texas Tech, which has scored a total of 83 points in back-to-back wins over Montana State and UTEP.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Texas Tech -2
While Texas Tech's explosive offense has picked up where former coach Kliff Kingsbury left off, the defense made an early statement last Saturday after holding UTEP to 131 yards of total offense. First-year coach Matt Wells has also been pleased by the play of sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman, who began the season by recording 436 passing yards in a 45-10 win over FCS member Montana State before throwing three touchdown passes against UTEP. Bowman figures to have another busy day against Arizona, which lost 45-38 in its opener to Hawaii and struggled to slow down Northern Arizona in the second half of last week's victory. One bright spot has been the performance of senior cornerback Jace Whittaker, who leads the country with three interceptions.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (2-0)
Bowman's favorite target has been junior T.J. Vasher, who had 687 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last season and caught two touchdown passes in the win over UTEP. Senior linebacker Jordyn Brooks has recorded 11 tackles in each of the first two games to lead a defense that has only allowed four third down conversions but takes a step up in competition against Arizona. "This will be the biggest test of the year so far," Wells told reporters. "It's not even that close. I think we've tackled well in space, but we'll have to play our best game of the year so far to win Saturday."
ABOUT ARIZONA (1-1)
Running backs J.J. Taylor and Gary Brightwell have combined for 310 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries for the Wildcats, who are averaging 304.5 yards per game on the ground for new running backs coach DeMarco Murray. Senior quarterback Khalil Tate threw for 361 yards and rushed for 108 yards in the opener and sat for much of the second half last week after the Wildcats took a commanding lead over Northern Arizona. Head coach Kevin Sumlin is looking for a more disciplined effort this week after his team committed 11 penalties for 127 yards against the Lumberjacks.
1. Texas Tech holds a 26-4-2 lead over Arizona in the all-time series, but the teams are meeting for the first time since 1989.
2. Arizona is outscoring opponents 42-14 in points off turnovers through two games.
3. Texas Tech has only been flagged four times in each of the first two games.
PREDICTION: Texas Tech 45, Arizona 38