OSU-Texas Tech Matchups/Prediction

The first thing you have to remember is this is a road game, and Lubbock has been the home of some strange circumstances for the Oklahoma State Cowboys over the years. The second thing to remember is that this edition of the Texas Tech Red Raiders is not as good as the one the Cowboys upset in the friendly confines of Boone Pickens Stadium a year ago.

Therefore, if the Cowboys can play as strong or stronger on Saturday against Texas Tech and keep any strange circumstances from coming into play then they have a decent opportunity to bring home their seventh win.

Not sure how highly this will motivate either side (it should), this game could be called the "Battle for the Sun Bowl." Right now the folks in El Paso, Texas, reportedly favor the Red Raiders because of geography but a win by the Cowboys would push them up and over Tech for a possible trip to the Sun.

Key Matchups
OSU Secondary vs. Tech Wide Receivers

Joel Filani, Robert Johnson, Danny Amendola, L.A. Reed and Jarrett Hicks (if he plays) are all good receivers. They know the offense like the back of their hand, and while they have had to work harder than in the past to make catches because of the young quarterback in Graham Harrell, you really can only hope to contain them and not completely shut them down. It is easier to stop this version of the Leach offense at the start than it is at the end. If Harrell goes unpressured these receivers will catch the ball and they will break off some big plays.
Edge: Tech

OSU Defensive Ends vs. Tech Offensive Tackles
With or without Victor DeGrate, the Cowboys defensive ends can raise all kinds of havoc. This Texas Tech offensive line is really strong guard to guard, but the tackles have given up some sacks and some heat. Tech has allowed 15 sacks, which is really excusable when you check and see they have attempted 557 passes. Expect the Cowboys to jump around and stagger using four- and three-man fronts. If they can hit Harrell a few times, maybe get a sack or two, and keep up the pressure then they have a real chance of staying in the game and giving their offense a chance to outscore the home team.
Edge: OSU

OSU Offensive Line vs. Tech Defensive Line
This is a must win for the Cowboys. The Texas Tech defense is a base operation. They will rarely blitz and behind the defensive front they play safe zone coverages, primarily three and four. You have to run the football and get the linebackers and safeties thinking run support. This really shouldn't be a problem because this OSU offensive line is playing at its best right now. They have allowed only 14 sacks and have made Saturday unpleasant for just about every defensive front they have seen. Keyunta Dawson must be accounted for because he is the Red Raiders' best pass rusher and big play lineman.
Edge: OSU

OSU Wide Receivers vs. Tech Secondary
If the above mentioned offensive line has success blocking the run game and Dantrell Savage, Keith Toston and Mike Hamilton are breaking into the secondary on a majority of runs then the fun can really begin. This defense resembles Kansas in that they love their cover three and cover four. If the safeties and corners have to worry about run support ... do I really need to tell you what happens next? If Adarius Bowman and D'JUan Woods find the seams in the zone with just one man around, the party can begin.
Edge: OSU

Notice we had OSU with the edge in three of the four key matchups listed above, but the game is still being played in Lubbock. The media loves this stat: OSU has not won in Lubbock since 1944 and the Cowboys, obviously, have never won in Lubbock since the advent of the Big 12. Now the Cowboys have had chances like a 10-0 headstart in 1998 that ended in a 24-17 loss and a 31-15 loss in 2004 in which the Cowboys led going into the fourth quarter. The law of averages would lead one to believe the Cowboys are going to get one sometime. Why not Saturday?


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