No. 10 Texas Tech at No. 17 Oklahoma
Saturday, 3:30 PM, FOX
Line: Oklahoma -7
Texas Tech currently leads the Big 12 right now with a 4-0 record in conference and 7-0 record overall, which vaulted the Red Raiders into the top ten after last weekend. Oklahoma is only one game back right now at 3-1, with the loss to Texas in the Red River Rivalry hanging over their heads. The Sooners looked a little sluggish at the start of last week's game against Kansas, but the defense was quite effective in shutting down the Jayhawks.
Texas Tech had to come from behind on the road against West Virginia, scoring the last 21 points in the game to win 37-27 in Morgantown. This week's roadtrip is not as far, but if Tech falls behind this week, the comeback might not be as easy. The Sooners are favored at home and usually win there. Can the Red Raiders pull off the upset as the higher ranked team?
For Texas Tech to win: Run the ball. Kliff Kingsbury is a Mike Leach disciple, and the numbers so far on offense are bearing that out. The Red Raiders have gained over three times as many yards through the air (2915) as on the ground (922). The Red Raiders are averaging 3.8 yards per carry on the ground. Being one dimensional against Oklahoma is potentially a recipe for disaster. The Red Raiders are going to have to run the ball more efficiently and effectively than they have all season in order for this game to remain close.
For Oklahoma to win: Air it out. While the Red Raiders have no problem throwing it early, late and often, Oklahoma needs to try and stretch the field more. In the win over Kansas last week, quarterback Blake Bell threw the ball 25 times but for only 131 yards. Yes, Oklahoma can pound the ball on the ground and do quite well in that area, but if they are going to win at home against a team that will wing it around, it might be worth trying some play action passes and getting up the field vertically. That will prevent Texas Tech from trying to stack the box and keep their defense honest.
Key Player, Texas Tech: Jace Amaro, tight end. A freshman quarterback's best friend is a tight end that can catch the ball. Amaro fits the bill for the Red Raiders frosh duo of signal callers. Amaro has had nine catches in each of the last five games, and has gone over 80 yards in six straight games. A big target allows for bail out opportunities when things are potentially breaking down, and Amaro has the hands and the body (6' 5", 260 pounds) to cause matchup problems.
Key Player, Oklahoma: Blake Bell, quarterback. Outside of the Tulsa game, where Bell threw for 413 yards, the rest of his season has been less than impressive. Bell has thrown for less and less yards each successive week since beating Tulsa, and while his completion percentage has been above 50 percent in all of the games except the Texas game, he has to become more involved—either through the air, or on the ground (where he has not made much of an impact this year).
Key Stat: 16. That was the total number of passing yards that Oklahoma allowed last week against Kansas. Davis Webb, the Texas Tech quarterback, has thrown for over 400 yards for the last two games. Something has got to give.