OSU-Texas Tech: Key Matchups & Prediction

Robert Allen's key matchups and prediction for Saturday's game between the 17th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Boone Pickens Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Central Daylight Time).

1. OSU secondary vs. Texas Tech wide receivers
This is the best Oklahoma State secondary in the last four years, and maybe more years than that. They have plenty of athleticism but they may be running a little low on depth. Obviously, I am referring to the reported injury of safety Victor Johnson.

Still, the Cowboys have proven players with the likes of Perrish Cox, Terrance Anderson, Andrew McGee, Markelle Martin, James Thomas and Lucien Antoine, along with Andre Sexton and Thomas at the star that they can cover fairly well. The pass rush is still needed and that is covered below.

The Red Raiders don't have a Michael Crabtree but they have a solid group of guys, most of them catch the balls that come to them. Detron Lewis, Alex Torres, Edward Britton and Tramain Swindall can all make plays.

However, I don't think Tech has the same depth they have had at wide receiver. Expect to see more man coverage by the Cowboys and that is not a bad thing with no Crabtree around. I also think this OSU secondary is more alert to the route options and changes that Tech will make on the fly in a play. Edge: Even

2. OSU defensive front vs. Texas Tech offensive line
This is really as good as this series has ever set up for the Cowboys. Texas Tech doesn't have a proven quarterback, still may not in the eyes of head coach Mike Leach. Despite Leach's rumblings, Scott Sheffield will not play in the game. If he does then I will turn in my amateur sports medicine diploma.

With Taylor Potts out of favor, it will be freshman Seth Droege getting the start. I know what has been reported, but in true Pirate fashion, Mike Leach is a master of misinformation. One thing that does not matter regardless of who plays quarterback, the offense doesn't change, it is the same.

The Tech offensive line has done a good job of protecting which ever quarterback has been in the game. Oklahoma State's defensive line is back in the saddle again with 18 and a half sacks. Swanson Miller has been identified as a guy that is kicking a lot of the butt in the games. Jamie Blatnick at defensive end has seemingly been on on a bunch of plays. Shane Jarka, Derek Burton, Chris Donaldson, Jeremiah Price and more have really been playing their tails off. This is a good match-up and definitely one worth watching on the TV.

Edge: Even

3. OSU offensive line vs. Texas Tech defensive front
Texas Tech has been better this season on defense and hopefully, they got a little overconfident during the bye week. The Oklahoma State offensive line will sober up a defense fast as they know what is what.

Even Andrew Mitchell came in last week and he was just as excited to know that he can play at Oklahoma State. He didn't just play, he played well in filling in for Brady Bond.

The Tech defensive line is good with dynamic defensive end Brandon Sharpe and fellow linemen like Rajon Henley and Oklahoma product Colby Whitlock. I really feel that OSU is good enough on the offensive line that they will battle and win this portion of the skirmish.

Across the board, I believe that center Andrew Lewis, guards Lane Taylor and Noah Franklin, Okung and Mitchell at tackles will get the job done for both the run and pass protection.

Edge: OSU

Two weeks ago I stunk it up with my OSU-Texas pick. But last week I was on the mark with my prediction of Oklahoma State beating Iowa State 38-10.

I believe that OSU head coach Mike Gundy is right, that defenses have caught up some with offenses this season. It's not a wholesale turnaround, but it is a strong statement. You know in the past meetings of this series between Gundy and Leach there have been some high-scoring shootouts like two years ago in Stillwater when Brandon Pettigrew made his "Superman" play to win the game. Last year was a blowout win for Texas Tech in Lubbock. Both teams have protected their house.

During Gundy's first year as head coach in 2005, the game was a lower scoring upset by OSU over 13th-ranked Texas Tech in Stillwater. I also believe this one will be lower scoring. The reason for my lower point totals is that I agree the defenses are better. They are from both the Cowboys and the Red Raiders.

The OSU defense has given up just 32 points combined in four of the last five games. The other game was a complete washout as Texas scored 41 points, but two came on pick-six plays and another was just poor defense.


Big 12 Predictions
This Week's Games
@Kansas State 26, Missouri 20
Nebraska 17, @Kansas 9
Texas 45, @Baylor 14
@Iowa State 24, Colorado 13
@Oklahoma 38, Texas A&M 21

Last Week's Games
@Texas 48, Central Florida 6
@Kansas State 23, Kansas 20
Texas A&M 28, @Colorado 10
@Missouri 31, Baylor 20
Oklahoma State 38, @Iowa State 10
Oklahoma 27, @Nebraska 9

Season Record
Straight: 59-20
ATS: 40-27-1
Note: Games that involved FCS teams did not have lines

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