BAYLOR vs. TEXAS TECH:
FIVE KEYS TO SATURDAY'S GAME
1. WEATHER THE STORM: Texas Tech has scored nearly a third of its points in the first quarter (102 of 344), including taking a 20-14 lead on 10th-ranked Oklahoma in Norman. So, the Bears have to be able to take some early hits and answer if the Red Raiders do strike fast.
2. TURNOVER MARGIN: While Baylor is minus-6 for the season, the Red Raiders are actually second in the Big 12 and tied for 15th nationally with a plus-7 turnover margin (18 gained, 11 lost). In the Bears' first win of the season, they forced two turnovers and lost none in beating Kansas, 38-9, last Saturday in Lawrence -- the first time they've had a plus-turnover margin.
3. DON'T BE IN AWE: It's easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of AT&T Stadium. On his first visit as an assistant with the New York Giants, Baylor coach Matt Rhule said it was "almost surreal." He was watching the big overhead screen and eating "instead of being locked into doing my job." The freshmen, in particular, have to get over the awe factor quickly and focus on the game. Thankfully, quarterback Charlie Brewer has played there before, leading Lake Travis to a win over The Woodlands in last year's 6A state championship game.
4. CONTROL THE CLOCK: It's simple, but the best way to defend an explosive offense like Tech's is just to keep it off the field. Baylor has to be able to run the ball, mix in some high-percentage passes and keep the chains moving. It's hard for quarterback Nic Shimonek and the Red Raider offense to stay in rhythm if they're sitting on the sidelines for large chunks of time. And when the defense does have chances on third down, the Bears have to get off the field and get the ball back to the offense.
5. MAKE IT A FOUR-QUARTER GAME: Twice in the last four games, Tech has given up double-digit fourth-quarter leads in losses to West Virginia and Kansas State. Get the game into the fourth quarter, keep it close and take advantage of any doubt creeping in on the Tech sidelines. Baylor has proven that it can hang with the best, rallying from an 18-point deficit in a 49-41 loss to OU and coming within a two-point conversion of taking West Virginia to overtime. Put yourself in that position enough times, and you're going to pull one out.