OSU-Texas Tech Matchups & Prediction

Robert Allen breaks down Saturday afternoon's Big 12 Conference opener against Texas Tech and gives his thoughts on the three key matchups in the game, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. at Boone Pickens Stadium. For those not able to attend, the game will be televised on FSN.

Three Most Dangerous Red Raiders
1. Graham Harrell, QB
2. Michael Crabtree, WR
3. (tie) Eric Morris, WR/PR, Danny Amendola, WR, Shannon Woods, RB, and Kolby Lewis, RB

Three Most Important Matchups
1. OSU Defense vs. Tech Offense

This game is so dangerous because the most important matchup in the game going in seems so heavily in favor of Texas Tech. If you don't do three things really well on defense, Texas Tech can run away and hide on the scoreboard with its explosive offense. To be honest, it is this offense that should be considered the most explosive in college football.

Graham Harrell is back for a second year which makes the option-oriented passing game even better. The offense relies on Harrell and his receivers making the right reads together on the coverage played by the defense. There are also hot routes built into every play that Tech runs, that allows Harrell to never have to hold on to the football for too long, evidence the two sacks in two games and 180 attempted passes. The advent of an explosive big receiver like red-sirt freshman Michael Crabtree makes it all the more difficult.

The Cowboys have done it before, stopping Tech. Here is how you do it. You confuse the quarterback and receivers with lots of movement and disguises before and just after the snap. Make them guess and guess wrong. You mount a pass rush that insures the ball has to be thrown. You tackle well, especially in the open field to prevent big home-run type plays that fuel the momentum of the offense.

On offense, you score lots of points and keep the pressure on, eating time if possible. The important thing is you have your offense score points.
Advantage: Texas Tech Offense

2. OSU Running Game vs. Tech Run Defense
You read that last line above. This is where the offense comes in to help the defense. Last year in the game the OSU offense went dry in the third quarter in Lubbock and allowed Texas Tech to take control of the game. We don't know if Dantrell Savage is going to play. Julius Crosslin will and so will freshman Kendall Hunter.

The Cowboys are adjusting to life without David Washington at center and it better be a quick adjustment. Texas Tech doesn't take many chances on defense, therefore the blocking calls should be kept pretty simple. Score points and control the game with a successful running offense which will also open up the pass and the run with quarterback Zac Robinson. Do that, and the defense should treat the offense to dinner next week out of gratitude.
Advantage: OSU Running Game

3. OSU Punt Unit vs. Tech Punt Return Unit
It's new personnel this week covering punts and they will need to be good. First, because Eric Morris is a dangerous return specialist and you cannot afford to give Texas Tech points in the special teams. The second reason is you want to use punter Matt Fodge's booming leg to own the field position and make the Tech offense have to go long distances. Part of Oklahoma State's success last season was keeping opponents from starting offensive possessions in plus territory. This season's total already exceeds all of last season in that category.
Advantage: Even

OSU-Texas Tech Prediction
I'll be honest, on television I picked Texas Tech. On radio, I picked Oklahoma State. In print, I'm going with Tech, so that is two-out-of-three for Tech. I'm hoping my reverse psychology works. I picked Tech in 2005. It is hard to pick OSU after last week and based on the most important matchup in the game (OSU defense vs. Tech offense) being in Tech's favor. Let's be honest though, Tech has had an easy schedule. Like A&M, in Miami on Thursday, this is Tech's first real test. I'm all for watching and checking out the results.
Texas Tech 31, Oklahoma State 27
Season Record on OSU: 1-2
Last Week's Prediction: OSU 38-17 (Final was Troy 41-23)

Big 12 Predictions
@Miami 34, Texas A&M 17 (not the score but I did have Miami)
Oklahoma 45, @Tulsa 14
@Missour 38, Illinois State 10
@Colorado 24, Miami (Ohio) 6
@Buffalo 23, Baylor 21
@Texas 49, Rice 7
@Toledo 20, Iowa State 12
@Kansas 35, Florida International 14
@Nebraska 54, Ball State 16
Season record on Big 12: 29-4

Cowboys Non-Conference Opponents:
Georgia 24, @Alabama 20
Florida Atlantic 28, @North Texas 3
Troy 48, @Louisiana Lafayette 7
Sam Houston State - off
Season Record on Non-Conference Opponents: 7-2

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