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AMES — Texas Tech was the first Big 12 team to part ways with its coach this season and, on Monday, the Red Raiders already found their replacement.
Texas Tech hired Baylor outside linebackers coach Joey McGuire to be its next coach. He will be introduced Tuesday.
The Red Raiders have had an up-and-down season and taking a look at their 5-4 record may paint a rosier picture than what the reality is. Texas Tech didn’t play any tough nonconference games and its first conference game was a 70-35 loss to Texas. The Red Raiders also lost 52-31 to TCU, the other Big 12 team to part ways with its head coach.
They also have yet to play Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Baylor, three of the four teams at the top of the Big 12.
Here are five players to watch Saturday when the Cyclones visit Lubbock, Texas.
WR Erik Ezukanma
Erik Ezukanma has been one of the few offensive bright spots for a program that is used to offensive players putting up massive numbers
The junior is second in the Big 12 in receiving yards with 78.9 per game. In eight games, he has 40 catches for 631 yards.
Where his production this season has fallen short is finding the end zone. He has just two touchdown receptions.
LB Colin Schooler
Who would’ve thought a Texas Tech team that has the second-worst defense in the Big 12, better only than Kansas, would have a defensive player second on a list of a five players to watch?
But Colin Schooler has been one of two bright spots for the Red Raiders defense. The senior is fourth in the Big 12 and leads Texas Tech in tackles with 7.6 per game.
He also has four tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, eight quarterback hurries and a sack.
DB Dadrion Taylor-Demerson
Dadrion Taylor-Demerson is the other aforementioned brightspot on the Tech defense.
The senior is fourth on Texas Tech with 38 tackles, but where he really shines is in coverage.
Taylor-Demerson leads the Big 12 in passes defended with seven. He has five pass breakups and two interceptions this season.
QB Henry Colombi
Henry Colombi followed former Texas Tech coach Matt Wells from Utah State to Lubbock.
Colombi was supposed to be the backup this year to Oregon transfer Tyler Shough. But after Shough got injured early in the season, Colombi was thrust into a starting role.
In seven games, he’s completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,291 yards. His 184 yards per game is eighth in the Big 12.
To make matters worse, his touchdown-to-interception ratio is 1:1. He has five touchdowns and five interceptions.
Texas Tech doesn’t have a player named “running back.” But they do have three running backs who have all been relatively successful.
SaRodorick Thompson has played in seven of Texas Tech’s nine games and leads the Red Raiders in rushing with 374 yards and eight touchdowns on 79 attempts.
Tajh Brooks has only played in five games but he has 340 yards and four touchdowns. He missed four games, but returned against Oklahoma and rushed six times for 23 yards in his return. He’s averaged 7.6 yards per carry.
The final piece to Texas Tech’s running back puzzle is Xavier White. White is the only one of the three to play in every game and he has 280 yards and three touchdowns on 57 carries.