OSU-Texas Tech: Key Matchups & Prediction

Oklahoma State has defeated Texas Tech the last three times the Cowboys have played in Lubbock (2010, 2011 and 2013), and the Cowboys are three-point favorites to make it four in a row.

Maybe you can expect Kirk Herbstreit to join in as Danny Kanell of ESPN has already put the Cowboys on Upset Alert. You also see other reporters picking against Oklahoma State. My contention is that a number of the naysayers believe that Oklahoma State has been lucky and that the luck is bound to run out at some point.

No doubt the Cowboys have been fortunate in some of their wins, and there will be games, always are, where the breaks will go against you. However, that is not likely to happen or not likely to reverse results when you are better than the team you are facing. Oklahoma State's defense is not lucky, it is good, and it is also a defense that has previously matched up well with Texas Tech.

The Texas Tech defense is reeling and would have to do a pretty heavy about face in order to have any kind of definitive role in the outcome on Saturday. Tech has wins ahead on their schedule as the game with Oklahoma State completes its early run at the top four gauntlet of the Big 12's top teams. Just picking, it makes a lot more sense to go with the Cowboys unless you don't believe they can focus on the road and actually come to think of it, that has been a trait this team has displayed.

Key Matchups

Oklahoma State DE #38 Emmanuel Ogbah and #92 Jimmy Bean

vs. Texas Tech OT #62 Le'Raven Clark
Good versus good when you talk about either Ogbah or Bean going against Clark, who is working on his third All-Big 12 season. He started out as a freshman playing at guard. He has been so impressive that he was moved to tackle and has kept up his dominant play. He is athletic enough to score on a two-point conversion. He is a masher in blocking the run and light on his feet in pass pro. All three of these guys could wind up in the NFL. The matchup with Clark and Ogbah is worth ignoring the ball. I do think that Ogbah and Bean will win this battle more than losing, but it will be tough and the other matchup is a huge edge for the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State LT #73 Victor Salako and RT #60 Zach Crabtree
vs. Texas Tech Rush End #10 Pete Robertson
I have seen Pete Robertson hurt the Cowboys a number of ways, ranging from picking off passes in a zone blitz and somewhat hiding in coverage to sacking the quarterback to making a number of tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Robertson is by far the best player on the Texas Tech defense and it will be good to see him graduate. He is so athletic and despite being undersized he is a very difficult matchup for a larger offensive tackle. Those tackles need to be aware of him as do the Cowboy backs and backs in protection and so does Mason Rudolph.

Oklahoma State Nickel or CB #24 Miketavius Jones and #18 Ramon Richards
vs. Texas Tech Slot/H #11 Jakeem Grant
Jakeem Grant is the chain mover for the Red Raiders and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, which means while he doesn't have the most touchdown catches he has the most receptions and the most yards (over 700 so far), and he is the key to Tech moving up and down the field. Take him away and the chances of getting off the field in three downs is excellent. It is tough to do as Grant lines up all over the formation and field, meaning he can often find a mismatch. He can un-nerve a safety or linebacker when he lines up and they have to match up. Oklahoma State will look for backup corners Miketavius Jones and Ramon Richards along with perhaps, some others to matchup with Grant. This matchup favors Tech, but the Cowboys need to find a way to equalize it. Grant is the key to any kind of upset effort by Texas Tech.

OSU-Texas Tech Prediction

Texas Tech is a tough place to play and the Red Raiders have good athletes but the home team has a rough combination of a slightly beat up offense going against an Oklahoma State defense that is slightly beat up as well but still packs a lot of punch in the pass rush and is set up to cover the Air Raid-style offensive attacks. Oklahoma State won't be intimidated in Lubbock as the Cowobys have won big there three times in a row and in fact have had three very fast starts in their games against Texas Tech on the road. This Texas Tech team, according to their head coach, really suffers from not being able to break out to a fast start of their own. A slight concern is that Las Vegas only has Oklahoma State as a three-point favorite, but the Cowboys are still an under the radar unbeaten team in college football.
#10 Oklahoma State 42, @Texas Tech 24

Big 12 Predictions
Last Week: (Straight Up) 4-0 (Against the Spread-Not all games have point spreads) 1-3
Season: (Straight Up) 44-6 (Against the Spread-Not all games have point spreads) 23-22-1

Thursday Night
West Virginia 26, @#3 TCU 45

#13 Oklahoma 59, @Kansas 13
Texas 27, @Iowa State 20

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