McLemore, Jones, Grant and Thompson vs. Tech's Wide Receivers
Texas Tech you can line up in any defensive scheme you choose and you must mix up coverages, but it still comes down to being able to defend the pass. Texas Tech has only allowed 12 sacks with 545 passes thrown, so the ball is going to be airborne.
The way it has to be stopped is by covering the receivers and tackling them after they make the catch – limit the yardage gained. The bonus is that Wes Welker, Carlos Francis and Mickey Peters are gone. Trey Haverty, Cody Fuller and especailly Jarrett Hicks are the new class of Red Raiders pass catchers and they are improving, but like the rest of the Big 12 (okay most of them) these veteran Cowboys defenders need to do a good job of covering and tackling.
Edge: Tech Wide Receivers (OSU hasn't done a good job in previous tries with Tech)
Shawn Willis vs. Mike Smith and Brock Stratton
Mike Smith and Brock Stratton have been the top tacklers in the run game for the Texas Tech defense. The Red Raiders are giving up an average of 4.2 yards per run. Vernand Morency is averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Give Willis and the OSU tight ends credit for about 2.0 yards per carry. If Willis and the tight ends can get out and block Smith and Stratton that will be good for some nice running lanes for Morency or Seymore Shaw. Bank on Morency, after sitting out the Baylor game. He wants to finish the regular season with a big day.
Edge: Big to Willis
Vernand Morency and OSU O-Line vs. Tech's Defensive Line
A continuation of the above matchup. They work in unison. The Cowboy offensive line has been told that they have to win the line of scrimmage in order to win the game. They have yet to fail this season, even in losses to A&M, OU and Texas. The OSU offensive line has won its share of battles.
Edge: Big to OSU Offensive Line and Morency
Paul Duren, Lawrence Pinson and Pagitte McGee vs. Taurean Henderson
Henderson is the Red Raiders' touchdown maker with a team high of 15 touchdowns on the season. Thirteen of those have come on runs. Yes, Tech is running the ball more than in previous seasons. Quarterback Sonny Cumbie even comes up and lines up under center on some plays. The Cowboy linebacker corps now needs to watch for the run. Chances are only one lineb acker may be out there in many situations, so they have to have the head up for a run. Henderson has also caught a couple of touchdown passes. When he goes out in a pattern or is a safety valve the linebacker (or linebackers) has to be aware of where he is.
Prentiss Elliott vs. Tech Punt Coverage Unit
Something will have to give here as Tech won't give Elliott many opportunities. Mike Leach just doesn't punt much; he goes for a lot of fourth downs. When Tech has punted, its coverage unit has been good. Elliott is an unbelievable athlete and displayed his return talents on a 72-yarder against Baylor, his first for a touchdown.
Edge: To Elliott if Tech will just punt the ball
Jason Ricks vs. Alex Trlica
This game could very well come down to a field goal for the win. Trlica is just 5-of-9 on field goals this season with the longest 34 yards. Ricks has missed 2 of his last 5 and his longest this season has been from 39 yards. The wind will no doubt factor, but Trlica has local knowledge and Ricks kicks at Boone Pickens, which most kickers have labled as the toughest wind field in the Big 12.
OSU-Texas Tech:<br>Key Matchups
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