Major Applewhite finally has his signature win. All summer long, there were rumors of Applewhite being fired if he didn’t meet certain benchmarks as head coach of the Houston Cougars this season. This is only his second year as head coach of the program, but expectations are sky-high after Tom Herman had an enormous amount of success here, and Applewhite was under pressure to keep it going after a disappointing 7-6 record last year. A win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders on the road in Lubbock in Week 3 would help in that regard too, and it would put his old rival Kliff Kingsbury squarely on the hot seat.
This contest in Week 3 will go down Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 4:15 p.m. ET at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.
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There have been no CFB betting odds released for this game as of Monday morning. Texas Tech starting quarterback McLane Carter suffered a high-ankle sprain in the loss to Ole Miss in the season opener, and he is considered questionable for this one. Carter played well before being injured in the first quarter of that game, so having him back in the lineup would be a boon. However, true freshman Alan Bowman has not played poorly in his absence.
Player to Watch
Ed Oliver’s dark horse Heisman campaign is gaining some serious momentum. Oliver had a whale of a game against Rice in the season opener, registering 13 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss against the Owls on his way to being named AAC Defensive Player of the Week. He was in the spotlight last week against Khalil Tate and Arizona, and he delivered once more. Although the numbers on the stat sheet weren’t as impressive, he was constantly making his presence felt.
Throughout the game, he put a lot of pressure on Tate and his play was a big reason why Houston jumped out to a 38-0 lead. Oliver ended the game with five tackles, four quarterback pressures, one pass breakup, and 0.5 tackles for loss.
There may not be a better defensive player in the country. Oliver has freakish speed and agility for a player of his size, and he doesn’t take plays off either. Even though offenses no longer try to test him, he still commands multiple blockers on many plays, freeing his teammates up to make something happen.
Matchup to Watch
The Red Raiders are more keen to run the ball than we have seen in seasons past. Kingsbury has always relied on the running game more than his mentor Mike Leach, but through two games the story for Texas Tech’s offense has been its ability to move the ball on the ground effectively.
Texas Tech brought back all five members of its offensive line from last year, and that has helped with a true freshman at quarterback. The Red Raiders took the air out of the ball against FCS Lamar last week, running through their opponent on the ground instead. Don’t be surprised if Kingsbury does more of the same here, with a bevy of runs and swing passes out of the spread.
Free ATS Pick
This is a chance for revenge for Houston. Last year, Texas Tech came into Houston as a seven-point underdog on the NCAAF betting line and ended up snapping the Cougars’ 16-game home winning streak.
Houston will return the favor in Lubbock with a great game from Oliver. It’s harder to stop Oliver in an offense like Texas Tech’s. The offensive line’s wide splits mean that Oliver won’t be double-teamed, and he will win a lot of one-on-one match-ups and get to the quarterback. There’s no doubt that Kingsbury will try to take him out of the game as much as possible, but Oliver will have an impact in the win.
College Football Odds: Houston 34, Texas Tech 23
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