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Four Texas Tech players and one position group to watch

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Tech has a cavalry of offensive weapons, here is who to keep an eye on in Saturday’s game.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech completed passes to at least 10 different receivers and put up 42 points in the first half last week against Sam Houston State, showing they are deep and loaded on offense in 2015.

The defense was the sore spot, in allowing yards 6.5 per play last Saturday, but do have a number of very good athletes who can disrupt UTEP's offense and force costly turnovers.

This will be a difficult matchup for UTEP on the defensive side, while the Miners are expecting success in the run game, but have to avoid turnovers against Tech's newly implemented aggressive defense.

Here is who UTEP needs to keep in check in order to have a chance in the foruth quarter

Patrick Mahomes

The guy is a flat out stud who can really do it all from the quarterback position, and in my option is a huge upgrade from Davis Webb.

No knock on Webb, he could start at a lot of P5 schools, but Mahomes bring so much versatility to Tech's explosive offense that this could be the most deepest and explosive unit Tech has had, and it all starts with Mahomes.

His ability to make blitzers miss and ability to move around in the pocket makes him a big time threat against the blitz heavy UTEP defense.

The Miners have to be sound in their blitzing and pursuit techniques, and not allow him to break one with his legs.  He showed a running back like strength and is not easy to take down with a weak arm tackle attempt.

And oh yeah, he was 33-for-53 passing, and threw for 425 yards in week one, and could have had more minus eight drops by receivers.

Making Mahomes uncomfortable should be the main goal of the UTEP defense.

Jakeem Grant

Ever play Madden or NCAA 14, and have that speed guy who seems to house it, or make a big play every time you call his number or no matter what play you call?

That is what Jakeem Grant is for the Tech offense.

Grant is one of the most underrated play makers in college football.  The 5’6 flash of speed averaged 14 yards per catch last season, and 5.6 receptions per game.  He was a big part of Tech’s ability to move the ball on UTEP last season with his eight catch, 150 yard output in the Sun Bowl last year.

He owns the Tech school record for most kick-off return yards in a game by a junior, and set the Texas Tech career mark with his third kick-off return for a score via his 94-yard return last week.

UTEP has to prepare for Grant in the return game, out of the slot, and he even lined up at running back scoring on a speed based goal line play last Saturday.

DeAndre Washington

Being one of the top running backs in the Big 12, Washington will get his love in the Air Raid attack.

Washington was one of the bright spots of Texas Tech's 2014 season, as the 5'8, 200 pound senior ran for 1,103 yards last season, and was in the top-30 in the nation with a 5.9 yard per carry as well.

He became the first Texas Tech player in since 1998 to rush for 1,000 yards for Tech.

With the threat of the obvious pass, slowing down Washington, and his superb compliment Justin Stockton is very important if UTEP wants to put Tech in third and long situations.

Micah Awe

Watching Texas Tech's defense last week, one guy that stood out with his athletic ability, and sheer defensive tenacity was senior linebacker Micah Awe.

He led the Red Raiders in tackles in week one, and is a guy who if he is not identified pre-snap will be around the ball all game long.

The 6'2, 220 pound ball magnet has been one of Tech's most consistent defensive producers the past two seasons.

If fellow senior linebacker Pete Robertson is not available, look for Awe to carry the load in stopping UTEP's run attack.

Offensive line

The Red Raiders returned four of five starters, and continued on the elite pass protection they showed last season.

Left Tackle Le'Raven Clark is an all-american candidate and Center Jared Kaster is another stout player for Tech upfront.  Both could be looked at as NFL prospects next spring.

Combined, Clark and Caster account for 65 career starts between them.

What's more impressive is that Tech only allowed 13 sacks in 559 pass attempts last season, that's pretty ridiculous.

The unit picked right where they left off last year, shutting out SHSU with no sacks, and they only allowed one negative play against Bearkats.

More on Tech's offensive line from Viva The Matador.

Others key Texas Tech players to watch for

Devin Lauderdale-WR

J.J. Gaines-Defensive back

Keenon Ward-Defensive back

Justin Stockton-RB