Preview: Texas Tech at Oklahoma State
Big 12 Season Kicks Off
By Denis Brown
September 18, 2007
The Texas Tech Red Raiders, 3-0 and ranked No. 22 in the latest CCR Top 119, will visit the Oklahoma State Cowboys (1-2) this Saturday at 3:30 eastern time in an important early Big-12 match up. This weekend kicks off conference games in the Big-12, and Texas Tech is looking to show it belongs among the top-tier teams in the Big-12 conference.
In last season’s game, Oklahoma State led Texas Tech 17-0, but the Red Raiders scored on five straight possessions to take the lead and eventually went on to win 30-24. Texas Tech has already put that explosive offense on display by scoring an average of 51 points per game. Red Raider quarterback Graham Harrell keys the offense as he has thrown for 1,317 yards with a 75% completion percentage. Harrell also sports a 14-to-2 touchdown to interception ratio.
For Oklahoma State to have a chance, they will have to focus on the rushing attack. Texas Tech is getting out-rushed 429 to 268 in yardage and the Cowboys have racked up 544 rushing yards to date behind a multiple back rushing attack. Though Oklahoma St. does not have a running back with over 200 yards, Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston have led a solid ground game that could give Texas Tech some trouble. If it runs well, Oklahoma State can control time of possession and limit the chances for Texas Tech to get into a rhythm with its fearful passing game.
But the Cowboy running attack needs to be successful on first and second down to create manageable third down distances. On the season, Oklahoma St. has converted only 25% of its third down situations. Conversely, Texas Tech has been successful at a 59 percent of the time. Long drives are built on third-down conversions. If Oklahoma St. is able to be successful in this part of the game, then they will have a shot to upset Texas Tech.
In addition to getting severely out-rushed, Texas Tech is committing far too many fouls with an average of 107 yards in penalties per game. Those mistakes can be killer to an offense that thrives on big plays.
The Red Raiders should win this game on paper, but as evident this season, anything can happen in college football. These two teams know each other well and Texas Tech needs to clean up certain areas in order to make a significant push to play in the Big-12 title game.
Denis Brown is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.