For the second straight weekend, Texas Tech is in the football spotlight. Last week, it was Oklahoma. This weekend the Red Raiders face another dangerous team from the state of Oklahoma, only this time it is at home in the friendly confines of Jones AT&T Stadium against the Cowboys of Oklahoma State.
Texas Tech (7-1, 4-1) fell from the ranks of the unbeaten last weekend at Oklahoma, which replaced the Red Raiders at No. 10 in this week’s BCS standings. Tech was very much in the game, though, until the Sooners put together a 12-play, 53-yard drive that consumed nearly six minutes and stretched a five-point OU lead to eight points with just 80 seconds left in the game and with the Red Raiders depleted of time outs.
On Saturday, the Red Raiders, led by first-year head coach and former Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, go up against an Oklahoma State team capable of putting up big numbers on the scoreboard as well as on the field. The Cowboys (6-1, 3-1) would be perfect on the season were it not for an unexpected loss earlier in the season at West Virginia.
OSU comes into the Texas Tech road test averaging 38.9 points and 437 yards of offense a game, mostly through the air. The Cowboys are very close to the Red Raiders in scoring, but average 100 yards-a-game less in offensive production.
Both teams have just one loss on theri season resume. The Big 12 had four teams with one or fewer losses on their record after last weekend, the only BCS conference that can make that claim. But that will change when one of these two teams sustains a second loss on Saturday.
Another similarity about the Cowboys and the Red Raiders is that they are both led by former quarterbacks who are now coaching their alma mater. Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State was the Cowboys’ quarterback from 1986-89, and Kingsbury played at Texas Tech from 1998-2002.
Oklahoma State, ranked 18th in this weeks BCS standings (19th in the AP poll), has won each of the last four games and five of the last six between these two conference foes. The Red Raiders own the advantage in the overall series, however, 21-16 and have been dominant in games played in Lubbock, where Tech owns a 12-4-3 record over OSU.
Both teams offenses are more comfortable and effective when they pass the ball, but neither team is particularly good at defending the passing game, which could mean for lots of big plays and runs after the catch and lots of scoring. Both are fast-paced offenses that don’t take much time to churn out big chunks of real estate and score. This could take a toll on the two defenses and is worth keeping an eye on as the game progresses and especially toward the end of each half.
Oklahoma State has wone six of the last nine games it has played against ranked teams. A win this Saturday would give the Red Raiders two wins this season over ranked opponents, something they have not accomplished since beating three ranked teams in 2008.
Three Things To Watch For In The 41st Meeting Between Texas Tech And Oklahoma State
- Oklahoma State plays an aggressive, opportunistic style of defense that wants to create turnovers and give its offense more possession time and scoring opportunities. The Cowboys lead the Big 12 in takeaways with 19 and a plus nine turnover margin. By comparison, Texas Tech has given the ball away six more times than it has defensive fumble recoveries or interceptions.
- Texas Tech has had difficulty all season mustering much of a running attack. The Red Raiders’ two best running backs, DeAndre Washington and Kenny Williams, both average just around 36 yards per game. As a team, the Red Raiders average a league-worst 124 yards on the ground. To make matters worse, Oklahoma State owns the league’s best run defense. The Red Raiders cannot afford to become one dimensional on offense in this game.
- In potentially high-scoring games, such as this one is projected to be, two things are imperative to win. Defensive stops are critically important, and field position created by special-teams play can make the difference between winning and losing. Oklahoma State has the best punt-return specialist in the conference in junior Josh Stewart, who is averaging 20.1 yards per return and has returned two punts for touchdowns this season.
Game prediction: Texas Tech 37, Oklahoma State 31
Other Big 12 Football Picks In Week 10
Iowa State 20 @ Kansas State 42 – Wildcats finally appear to have some rhythm in their offense. This should be K-State’s easiest test in a while.
Kansas 17 @ Texas 42 – Kansas has no chance in this one. This will be first of a two-week tune up for the Longhorns, who face Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor in succession after that.
West Virginia 14 @ TCU 28 – The TCU defense is better than either of the offenses, and wins this game for the Horned Frogs.
Last Week’s results: 4-1
For the season: 41-11 (.800)