OSU-Texas Tech Key Matchups & Prediction

Robert Allen's key matchups and prediction for Oklahoma State's game against Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday afternoon.

1. OSU Run Offense
vs. Texas Tech Defensive Front Seven
Want to know where the game will be won? Barring a game changing discrepancy in turnovers, here it is.

The Oklahoma State offensive line and Kendall Hunter will face an injury-ravaged and depleted Texas Tech front line. The best and toughest player on the line for the Raiders is Noble, Okla., porduct Caleb Whitlock, sure wished he'd been a Cowboy. However, he is somewhat of a lone ranger up front for the Raiders.

Texas Tech is also apt to worry about Justin Blackmon and the Cowboys receiver corps taking missiles from Brandon Weeden all over the field and devote coverage to the back end of the defense. If the box is a lonely place then count on Hunter to make it a focal point.

This is a good matchup for the Cowboys because my other line of thinking is that for pride reasons Tuberville and company won't want OSU to win the game by throwing the football. Again, it is time to pick a poison.
Edge: Solid to OSU Running Game

2. OSU Defensive Front Seven
vs. Texas Tech Run Offense
Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville felt like his offensive line came of age in the Cotton Bowl last week against Baylor and I would agree with him. With a few notable exceptions of Baylor using the speed rush to beat the tackles, one in particular in Mickey Okafor, remember him from recruiting, the o-line was good opening holes in the running game and allowing quarterback Taylor Potts to throw for a Cotton Bowl (stadium) record of 469 yards.

I like both of Tech's running backs in Baron Batch and Eric Stephens. In fact, Stephens has now apparently replaced wide receiver Detron Lewis in the Raiders' version of the "wildcat." The Raiders are averaging 102.8 yards rushing a game but they may find room for more success with it on Saturday as the Cowboys could be overconscious of that Tech passing attack.

We'll see how it plays out, but either way the Tech offensive line has improved and they have good backs.
Edge: Slight to Texas Tech Run Offense

3. OSU Wide Receiver Justin Blackmon
vs. Texas Tech corners Will Ford, D.J. Johnson, Tre' Porter and Jarvis Phillips
Get ready because Texas Tech is hurting at cornerback, and if Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III had been able to hit his receivers that were running wide open behind the Tech secondary and especially the corners then Baylor would be 5-1 and Tech would be 2-3 and 0-3 in Big 12 play.

It is not that these guys aren't talented, but they are green and they are not getting a ton of help up front from the pass rush. Weeden has a better and a more accurate arm than Griffin and that could spell bad news for the Red Raiders.

The other option is to keep the safeties back and devote them to coverage, but if you do that then Kendall Hunter will attack a near empty box with the running game and the Raiders haven't been sterling at stopping that as Iowa State ravaged them for 251 yards rushing.

Anybody care to guess who is more explosive running the football, Iowa State or Oklahoma State? Blackmon has more conmfidence than ever and when he gets single coverage he is almost a sure thing. Texas Tech may have to pick its poison and either way Blackmon and the Cowboys are liable to end up winners on the deal.
Edge: Solid to OSU Wide Receiver Justin Blackmon

PREDICTION
I would love to tell you this one will be a defensive battle with the Cowboys winning 6-3, but I believe it is going to provide plenty of highlights. It is a good thing Fox decided to put the game on television because if not the highlight package on the news and scoreboard shows would have gone on forever.

I offer apologies to the Cowboys defensive coordinator Bill Young and his staff and Texas Tech defensive chief James Willis and his staff. I know they don't want it, but they got it. Young will tell you he has learned a few things about playing along with this offense and was comfortable with the Troy and A&M games, Louisiana too, because they won.

That is the name of the game, just win. It's okay to give up more points than you are used to when you are scoring a lot more points than you might have thought you would. Both teams present the ability to pass and run to the defenders, which always makes a defense stress more.

Turnovers are the only thing that could change all this prediction stuff and you can bet both defenses will be plotting to do just that. The defense that steals together will win together. If turnovers are close to even, then sit back and enjoy the fireworks show.

Oklahoma State 51, Texas Tech 42

Big 12 Predictions
Thursday
Kansas State 21, @ Kansas 10

Saturday
@ Texas A&M 31, #19 Missouri 21

@ #4 Nebraska 26, Texas 21

@ #6 Oklahoma 48, Iowa State 14

Baylor 34, @ Colorado 31

2010 Record
Straight Up: 43-10
vs. the Spread: 22-22
Not every game has a spread. The games against FCS competition do not have a point spread.


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