Mississippi St. vs

Texas Tech

at Memphis
Tue, Dec 28
3:45 PM Pacific
Rotation: 241
Odds: Texas Tech +10, Total: 58.5

Game Analysis

Create an account to get analysis and updates sent to your inbox.

Strong Opinion – Texas Tech (+10)  27   Mississippi State  32

I’m sure that Mike Leach would love to get back at Texas Tech for firing him after the 2009 season, but Leach is also just 5-11 ATS in bowl games and and his former quarterback Sonny Cumbie is the interim head coach for Texas Tech and certainly knows how best to defend Leach’s system. Cumbie may also have his attention diverted by his new job as head coach at Louisiana Tech. I’ll just assume all of that is a wash and stick with the math.

Texas Tech is a pretty good team, and the Red Raiders may have found their quarterback of the future in Donovan Smith, who was impressive over the final 4 games of the season and averaged 7.3 yards per pass play, including 9.4 yppp against Iowa State and 9.8 yppp in the finale against Baylor, who are both good defensive teams. Smith was a bit better than the team pass rating of 1.4 yards per pass play better than average and he threw just 2 interceptions on 111 pass attempts. Top receiver Erik Ezukanma has left the team to prepare for the NFL but his 9.0 yards per target isn’t significantly higher than the 8.5 YPT averaged by the rest of the Texas Tech wide receivers. Texas Tech is 0.8 yards per play better than average entering this game with Smith at quarterback and without Ezukanma (they’d be +0.7 yppl if WR Price doesn’t return from his late-season ankle injury).

Mississippi State has a solid defense, as 5.8 yppl that the Bulldogs allowed to FBS opposition was against teams that would combine to average 6.2 yppl against an average team. Two starters are out, as LB Aaron Brule decided to transfer while CB Martin Emerson decided to opt out to prepare for the NFL combine. I didn’t adjust for either, as the Bulldogs are deep at linebacker and Emerson defended just 3 passes all season – although the cornerbacks in line to take his place have none. Texas Tech is projected to gain 343 yards at 6.0 yppl in this game.

Mike Leach’s offense controls the football with short passes and quarterback Will Rogers completed 75% of his throws this season. However, he averaged only 6.2 yards per pass play against FBS opponents that would allow 6.0 yppp to an average quarterback and the rushing attack was well below average (4.3 yprp against teams that would allow 4.9 yprp). Miss State throws the ball 76% of the time and they were 0.3 yppl better than average offensively while averaging 34.7 minutes of possession per game. The Bulldogs’ offense should work against a Texas Tech defense that allows 67% completions and is 0.9 yppp worse than average against the pass. Tech was only 0.1 yppl worse than average overall because they defend the run well – but that won’t do them much good in this game. Mississippi State is projected to average 7.1 yppp and gain 473 total yards at 6.3 yppl.

Miss State is projected to outgain Texas Tech by 129 yards but by just 0.3 yppl, which equates to about 10 points advantage from the line of scrimmage. However, Texas Tech has a significant advantage in special teams, most of which comes from the 1.7 points per game difference in field-goal kicking, as Tech has one of the best place-kickers in the nation in Jonathan Garibay (13-14 with a 62-yard made FG and only miss from 53 yards) while the Bulldogs’ two kickers combined to miss 11 field goals and were just 2 of 10 from 40 yards plus.

The math favors Texas Tech to stay within the number (Miss State by 7.8 points is the math predicted margin) and the Red Raiders apply to a 61-9-2 ATS bowl big underdog situation that already won once this year with Middle Tennessee State upsetting Toledo as a double-digit dog. Texas Tech is a Strong Opinion at +10 points -115 odds or better.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Mississippi St.
  • Texas Tech


  • Run Plays 18.3 27.1
  • Run Yards 78.3 128.0
  • YPRP 4.3 4.7


  • Pass Comp 40.9 20.1
  • Pass Att 54.8 31.4
  • Comp % 74.6% 64.1%
  • Pass Yards 372.6 236.6
  • Sacks 2.7 1.9
  • Sack Yards 16.3 14.3
  • Sack % 4.7% 5.7%
  • Pass Plays 57.6 33.3
  • Net Pass Yards 356.4 222.4
  • YPPP 6.2 6.7


  • Total Plays 75.8 60.4
  • Total Yards 434.6 350.4
  • YPPL 5.7 5.8


  • Int 0.7 1.0
  • Int % 1.3% 3.2%
  • Fumbles 0.5 0.4
  • Turnovers 1.2 1.4
  • Points 30.9 25.3
Share This