Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Central Florida Knights Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 18th 2023

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When the dust settles Saturday, Texas Tech or UCF will bag a sixth victory and stretch its schedule by one game with certified bowl eligibility.

Wins usher both the Red Raiders (5-5, 4-3 Big 12) and Knights (5-5, 2-5) into Lubbock for their first Big 12 meeting.

Texas Tech claimed a 16-13 triumph at Kansas last week with its best defensive effort of the season. UCF pounded Oklahoma State 45-3 in Orlando, riding a huge offensive performance.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun because you have two teams that have gotten healthier and whoever wins will be eligible,” Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire said.

Texas Tech’s game-winning field goal against the Jayhawks in the final 26 seconds spoiled KU’s fourth-quarter comeback. The Red Raiders limited Kansas to 379 yards in the win after slowing TCU down enough to prevail 35-28 the week before.

Texas Tech braces for one of the Big 12’s top offenses in the Knights, who lead the league in rushing yards per game (233.7) and yards per rush (5.7) and got a huge performance from R.J. Harvey last week: 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee appears on solid footing again. He returned from a leg injury earlier this season and looked fully healthy with 299 yards and three scores.

The Knights’ defensive effort was more notable considering the Cowboys came in hot — five consecutive wins highlighted by beating Oklahoma 27-24 a week prior. But OSU had only 52 rushing yards and 277 yards of offense in the loss.

“It was probably our most complete game since I’ve been here,” UCF coach Gus Malzahn said. “It was a big shot in the arm. Now we’ve got to flip the switch because we’re facing a team that’s got a lot of momentum and is fighting for a bowl berth like we are.”

Texas Tech might still be pinching itself about the bowl possibility considering a 3-5 start. Sophomore quarterback Behren Morton’s re-emergence since a shoulder injury hit another milestone with 458 yards the last two weeks.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” McGuire said. “He’s got good relationships with his receivers and the last two weeks, him feeling better has made a big difference in how he’s thrown the football.”

–Field Level Media

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