Thursday, December 7, 2023

Joey McGuire hopeful Texas Tech, Texas rivalry can be renewed after finale on Friday

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Texas Tech and Texas have played every season since 1959, a streak that will come to an end in 2024 with the Longhorns’ impending move to the SEC.

Tech head coach Joey McGuire expressed hope for these in-state rivalry games to be renewed in the future, citing the Texas-Texas A&M series that has been on pause since 2011 but will be rekindled in 2024.

“You know, it’s tough, being a Texan, growing up in state and seeing such good games,” McGuire said. “You’re losing some really good games through all this movement. So, you know, hopefully at some point in time that you could bring those games back. I’d love to play A&M again. You’ve got great games like that. Why go somewhere else and play? You can play Texas or you play Texas A&M. You know, there’s no reason to travel Oregon. Why have a game like that when you can have it right here, in your own state and have your fan bases.”

The “Battle for the Chancellor’s Spurs” will be renewed for a final time, at least in the immediate future, on Friday in Austin at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, a place that the Red Raiders haven’t won in since 2017.

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The Red Raiders will have the chance to beat the Longhorns in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1997-98 when a nine-play, 82-yard touchdown drive was led to down No. 18 Texas in Lubbock the last time the feat was accomplished.

McGuire and Co. will be facing a tough challenge in the Longhorns, highlighted by the best interior defensive line in the country with T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II.

“Both of em, I don’t know who’s blocking them,” McGuire said. “As a football guy watching guys progress because I think if you turn on the tape two years ago, I don’t know if they were trending in that direction. As far as the way they’ve been able to develop them how hard they play.”

Tech’s Tahj Brooks will have the opportunity to tote the ball, once again, and the Texas Tech offense will need him to show off his ability to make tacklers miss against Sweat and Murphy II.

“The one thing, you know, the offensive line and Tahj has been able to do is they they’ve been really consistent,” McGuire said. “It’s one of those deals. You’ve got to go out there and you got to find some good runs, got to schematically put us in some good situations, and you got to let Tahj Brooks, you know, be Tahj Brooks and he’s leaving the nation creating missed tackles. It’s one of those deals to put us in the best advantage because they’re going to be tough, man. I mean, one of the best teams in the nation when it comes to stopping the run.”

The Red Raiders received good news on the injury front ahead of the matchup with the Longhorns after standout defensive lineman Jaylon Hutchings and safety Dadrion Taylor-Demerson went down with injuries in the win over UCF on Saturday.

Hutchings, who has suffered an ACL tear in his career, was worried his knee suffered a similar injury initially but seems to be able to play against the Longhorns on Friday.

“Whenever I went out there, his reaction, we thought that was an ACL,” McGuire said. “Everything’s intact there. He’s got more of a strained knee in different areas. It’d be interesting because then you start talking about when you get to a bowl, you ask, does he play in a bowl? How much time in-between training? I think he’ll be in a good enough spot to play against Texas.”

Taylor-Demerson, the man they call “Rabbit”, went down with a groin injury that wasn’t able to be worked through to get him back on the field against the Knights, and also seems hopeful to be ready for Friday’s game.

“Rabbit is the one that’s closest to a game-time decision,” McGuire said. “But, you know, he ran around yesterday and you know, it’s a groin, so hopefully we can have him back with those guys that we expect to play.”

Tech is also expecting to return linebacker Bryce Ramirez, STAR Tyler Owens and wide receiver Myles Price, who all missed the game against UCF.

The Red Raiders and Longhorns kick off at 6:30 p.m. in Austin on Friday night, televised on ABC.

Find more Texas Tech coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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