Oct 22, 2022; Lubbock, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Joey McGuire sings the school song after the Red Raiders defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers at Jones AT&T Stadium and Cody Campbell Field. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Around the Region Bowl Special: Texas Tech heads to Houston for TaxAct Texas Bowl vs. Ole Miss
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (7-5, 5-4 Big 12)
Bowl: TaxAct Texas Bowl vs. Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4 SEC)
Location: Houston, Texas
TV/Radio: ESPN/SiriusXM channel 199
Texas Tech finished the 2022 regular season 7-5, and above .500 in Big 12 play at 5-4 in head coach Joey McGuire’s first season at the helm. It’s difficult to view the campaign as anything other than a success for the Red Raiders, who faced the nation’s fifth-toughest schedule. Texas Tech also defeated both Texas and Oklahoma in the same season for the first time in program history. Tech finished the regular season playing its best, winning three straight over Kansas, Iowa State, and Oklahoma. The Red Raiders lean on the nation’s 12th-ranked passing offense, which averages more than 300 yards per game.
As has become customary during bowl season, opt-outs and entrants into the transfer portal are worth monitoring for both Texas Tech and its opponent in the TaxAct Texas Bowl, Ole Miss. Joey McGuire’s team could be without as many as 10 players Wednesday night, including University of Houston-bound quarterback Donovan Smith. Tyler Shough, who began the season as Texas Tech’s starter at quarterback before missing most of the season due to injury, is expected to start under center, with talented freshman Behren Morton potentially available as well.
The biggest missing piece for Tech in the Texas Bowl is linebacker Tyree Wilson, a projected first-round pick in next spring’s NFL draft who has been dealing with injury since the Red Raiders’ win over Kansas.
Ole Miss is dealing with a flurry of transfer portal entrants as well, but very few of them played key roles for the Rebels this season. Offensive line coach Jake Thornton will not be with the team after taking a job with the newly-forming coaching staff at Auburn. All told, Texas Tech and Ole Miss both enter Wednesday night’s game with the majority of their offensive firepower intact for what should be a high-scoring affair.
In direct contrast to Tech, Ole Miss finished its season on a three-game skid. The Rebels dropped games by double-digits to Alabama and Arkansas before a tight loss in the Egg Bowl rivalry to Mississippi State. The Rebels hang their hats on one of the best rushing attacks in the nation. Starting running back Quinshon Judkins leads a talented Ole Miss backfield. Judkins finished the regular season with almost 1,600 all-purpose yards and 17 touchdowns without fumbling once. The Rebels ranked third in FBS in rush yards per contest with 261.6 yards per outing and ninth in the country in total offense during the regular season with an average of 491.2 yards per game.
Ole Miss was ranked as high as No. 7 in the AP Poll this season and will be one of the most talented teams the Red Raiders have faced all season. Head coach Lane Kiffin recruits both incoming freshmen and transfers effectively to create a consistent SEC contender in Oxford, Mississippi.
The Red Raiders are familiar with battling teams with elite talent given their difficult schedule, and the Rebels are flawed enough defensively that Texas Tech ought to be able to score plenty. For Tech, pulling off the minor upset over Ole Miss comes down to stopping – or at least somewhat containing – the Rebels’ run game despite the absence of LB Tyree Wilson. Even when Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart does drop back to pass, the Red Raiders will need to keep their heads on a swivel – Dart has at least 10 rushing attempts in seven straight games.
Win or lose, Joey McGuire clearly has players who have bought into what he is building in Lubbock. Texas Tech only has six players on its roster entering the transfer portal compared to 10 for Ole Miss. Still, a win over Ole Miss would be a nice crowning jewel on a successful campaign – especially considering that Tech is 0-3 all-time against the Rebels in bowl games.
OTHER BOWL GAMES FEATURING TEAMS ACROSS TEXAS
Dec. 16, Duluth Trading Cure Bowl: Troy 18, UTSA 12
Dec. 17, LendingTree Bowl: Southern Miss 38, Rice 24
Dec. 17, New Mexico Bowl: BYU 24, SMU 23
Dec. 17, Frisco Bowl presented by SERVPRO: Boise State 35, North Texas 32
Dec. 22, Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force 30, Baylor 15
Dec. 31, CFP Semifinal at the VRBO Fiesta Bowl: No. 3 TCU vs. No. 4 Michigan