Miami at Texas Tech: 1 p.m. on SportsChannel-c. With any luck the Miami Hurricanes won't be able to find Lubbock, Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes hopes.
"This is the third time this year we've had to play a ranked team that lost the week before. It's quite a challenge for us," Dykes said of Saturday's game with No.
8 Miami. "They've been the dominant program in college football for the last decade and I don't see a real dropoff this year. With a break or two, they'd be 6-0 and No.
If Dykes is sure Miami's loss to Notre Dame will incite the Hurricanes, he's unsure how his team will handle last week's game. The Red Raiders (2-5) don't appear up to a big challenge after perennial Southwest Conference punching bag Rice burned them 42-21.
Dykes knows the beating wasn't a result of his team looking ahead to Miami.
"Who would look forward to playing Miami?" asked Dykes.
However, Texas Tech could be tougher for Miami to figure out than some might think. The Red Raiders have played well on some occasions and awful other times.
Texas Tech had Ohio State on the ropes in the season opener in front of a packed house at Ohio Stadium before losing 17-10. The Red Raiders lost a score-athon with Houston's run-and-shoot offense, 51-35, and then split two close games, beating New Mexico and losing to Baylor. They lost 28-24 to SWC power Texas A&M.
A week before their embarrassment at Rice, the Raiders defeated then-Cotton Bowl front-runner Arkansas 49-44 on the road. Only Miami had scored more points on the Razorbacks in the past 22 years. And then came the not-so-mighty Owls.
"We hadn't had a performance like that all year," said Dykes. "Hand it to Rice. They played hard and deserved to win. We have to take a hard look at ourselves this week."
What Dykes and his team will see is a team without its starting quarterback, Jamie Gill, and struggling with an inexperienced freshman backup.
Robert Hall has been called on to replace Gill, who has been sidelined with the flu, a knee sprain and a dislocated jaw. Hall has passed for 1,105 yards in Gill's absence but also tossed nine interceptions. Gill may be able to play against Miami. His touchdown-to-interception ratio (6-to-2) indicates the Hurricanes could be in for a bigger challenge.
The two players that concern Miami the most are running back Anthony Lynn and receiver-return man Rodney Blackshear. Lynn has gained 671 yards rushing and Blackshear leads Tech with 30 catches for 622 yards. Blackshear's average of 30.1 yards per kick return may cause Miami problems.