LUBBOCK, Texas — The Steve Campbell era at the University of Central Arkansas begins with a bang.
“Guns Up!” is the signature cry for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
So in Campbell’s debut as head UCA football coach, the Bears will march into a hostile environment at Jones AT&T Stadium in which second-year coach Kliff Kingsbury has the Raider fans so pumped that they are sold out every home game this season.
“I’m excited about it,” Campbell said. “It’s good exposure for our university in a regionally televised game (Fox Sports Southwest) and playing such a great team early gave a sense of urgency to our offseason and preseason workouts. Every day meant something. To play better, you have to test yourself. It’s always better to face adversity before you get into the heart of the conference schedule.”
The Red Raiders averaged 90 plays a game last season, the most in the country.
“They have that up-tempo game with screens and short passes,” Campbell said. “They do a great job of getting the ball to their receivers in space and letting them make plays. It will be important for us to tackle well and keep things in front of us so those receivers don’t break 50 or 60 yards.
Texas Tech has averaged 40 points a game in the last 14 season openers.
Davis Webb, Texas Tech’s sophomore quarterback, passed for 2,718 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and set a Holiday Bowl record of four touchdown passes in the Raiders’ 37-23 victory over Arizona State.
A key for Tech will be limiting turnovers. the Red Raiders were intercepted 18 times last season (113th in the nation) and lost 15 (116th).
“If you can do that and win eight games (8-5), imagine what you can do if you can at least get in the 50s (in worst turnover margin),” said Kingsbury.
UCA receives $425,000 for playing the Football Bowl Subdivision team.