By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
Baylor football will look to snap a four-game losing streak this Saturday as they take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders at 3 p.m. in Lubbock.
The Bears, who are coming off of a disappointing 38-31 loss to no. 17 Iowa State, return to Lubbock for the first time since 2008. Both Texas Tech and Baylor have one Big 12 win each with Baylor’s coming against Kansas and Texas Tech’s coming against West Virginia.
While Baylor’s offensive struggles have been well documented this season, the Red Raiders have struggled on the opposite side of the ball. Texas Tech ranks dead last in the Big 12 in nearly every major defensive statistic, including average total yards allowed per game and average passing yards allowed per game.
In typical Texas Tech fashion, the Red Raiders have looked better on offense. Since benching sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman in favor of junior quarterback Henry Colombi, Texas Tech’s passing game has been formidable.
Colombi has led the Red Raiders to the third most average passing yards per game in the Big 12 this season.
“(Colombi) was aggressive (when on the field),” Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells said. “I think he jump-started the offense. I think guys around him responded, we moved the ball better … and he did a nice job with the offense.”
Wells, in his second season as head coach of the Red Raiders, spent a year with Baylor head coach Dave Aranda at Utah State in 2012, where they were both coordinators, and earned Aranda’s respect during that time.
“I have a lot of respect for Matt. Love his family,” Aranda said. “Being there that year, Matt’s very humble and very smart and a family person.”
Despite the loss to Iowa State, there were positives for the Baylor defense, who intercepted Iowa State’s quarterback Brock Purdy three times. Aranda said the “ball-hawking mentality” on defense started in practice for the Bears.
“These last couple of weeks of practice that we’ve had, there’s been a fair amount of that [ball-hawking] going on,” Aranda said. “It adds energy to our sideline — adds energy to practice. Most importantly, it bleeds into our games. So, we want to continue to do that here as we complete the season.”
Junior linebacker Jalen Pitre attributed the interceptions, which he had one of, to film study in the post-game press conference after the Iowa State game.
“It was a lot of film study and flying around to the ball,” Pitre said. “That helped a lot in the first half, getting those three turnovers, know that that’s our goal.”
The Baylor secondary will have a chance to rack up more interceptions this Saturday, as Colombi has proven to be error-prone, throwing four interceptions this season and three in his last two starts.
On offense, Baylor will look to continue to improve and play a complete game, which Aranda said the Bears have not yet done this season. Texas Tech represents a great opportunity for Baylor to snap their losing streak and gather momentum for the backend of the season.
“Offensively, there’s a lot to build upon,” Aranda said. “A lot of things a week ago that we were asking them to improve, we improved on. So, we’ve got to put it together for four quarters.”