Arizona State Wildcats (1-1) at Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-0)
When & Where: Saturday, September 16, Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX at 8:00 PM EDT
Spread: Texas Tech -7
The Texas Tech offense looked like it’s usual well-oiled self in their first game since replacing last year’s starter Patrick Mahomes. Putting up 56 points on Eastern Washington is one thing, but the Red Raiders will look to duplicate that success in their first real challenge of the 2017 campaign against Arizona State.
The Wildcats need some redemption of their own after a home loss to San Diego State last time out as -3 favorites. Regardless of their 1-1 start, it’s been a disappointing beginning to the year for ASU. Their season-opening 37-31 win over New Mexico State was closer than expected considering Arizona State was -26.5 home favorites.
How Will Arizona State’s Struggling Defense Hold Up Against Tech?
The big story for Arizona State after two weeks of gameplay is the state of their defense. In a season opening win against New Mexico State, the Wildcat D allowed 549 yards including almost 400 in the air. Week 2 proved the defense struggles against the rushing attack as well as San Diego State was able to amass 281 rushing yards as ASU fell 30-20. Right now Arizona State holds the 28th worst defense in the nation allowing 451 yards per game – not good heading into a matchup with Texas Tech.
Making things worse for the Wildcats chances on Saturday night is the fact that their run game has been virtually nonexistent this season. In the season opener against SDSU Arizona amassed just 45 yards on 30 carries (1.5 per). Game two wasn’t much better with 79 yards on 40 carries (2.0 per). This equates to the 6th worst rushing attack in the nation –
The Texas Tech Defense Isn’t Exactly Insurmountable
Last year, the Texas Tech defense finished dead last in the nation in both total defense and scoring defense. They were better in their opener allowing only 10 points to Eastern Washington, although they did allow 301 yards. The key matchup for Saturday night is the Red Raiders D against the ASU passing offense. EWU was 23-36 for 220 yards but the Wildcats have averaged 309.5 YPG thus far.
The TTU offense was firing on all cylinders in their opener. New QB Nic Shimonek took over well for Mahomes, throwing for 384 yards and three TDs on 26/30 passing. Receiver Derrick Willies proved to be a viable deep threat hauling in a 75 yard TD pass and finishing with 126 yards on 4 catches. It will be interesting to see the diverse offense output the Red Raiders can put up considering the Wildcats are 235.5 yards in the air and a whopping 215 to opponents on the ground.
- Sun Devils are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- Sun Devils are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games.
- Sun Devils are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Sun Devils are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- Red Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a bye week.
- Red Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
- Red Raiders are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- Red Raiders are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
Oddsmakers have been shaky on Texas Tech thus far this year. In the season opener, the Red Raiders were only 12 point favorites and they ended up winning by 46. The spread for Saturday night seems a bit low at -7 as well. Granted, a year ago ASU did get a 68-55 win at home as 2 point home dogs. In this matchup however Texas Tech has had two weeks to prepare and their defense should be much better prepared for an underwhelming Wildcat offense.