OU vs. Tech Pregame: Breaking It Down

Sooners Illustrated digs deeper into this weekend's big contest between No. 16 OU and Texas Tech.

The Matchup:

It's here again, a contest that has continued to grow into a Big 12 South rivalry in recent years between the Sooners and Red Raiders. OU is coming off its second loss of the season after suffering a 33-19 setback at Texas A&M a week ago, while Texas Tech is riding the waves of a 24-17 upset over Missouri. Regardless of momentum, though, history favors the Sooners, as the road team has not won this game since 2003, when OU dismantled Tech 56-25 in Lubbock. The Sooners are trying to stay in the South race, while Tech is trying to climb the ladder.

OU players to watch:

1. RB Foy Finch--After just four carries in a pivotal game against A&M, it will be interesting to see whether the Sooners go to him more against the Red Raiders. In four games, Finch has rushed for 219 yards on 39 attempts, good for 5.6 yards per attempt. He has yet to make it to the paint yet, but if he gets in the open field, no one's catching him, and he'll get his first touchdown.

2. CB Jamell Fleming--Fleming is coming off a monster performance, including a pair of interceptions and 10 tackles, becoming the first player to do the former since Travis Lewis and Lendy Holmes did so back in 2008. He's been near the top of the NCAA in passes broken up throughout the year.

OU will win if: They just do what they do all the time at home. The Sooners have won 35 straight at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium not just because of the environment, but because they're efficient on both sides of the ball. They take care of the ball, string together good drives and do just the opposite on the defensive side of the ball, creating turnovers and preventing opponents from score with any type of consistency.

Tech players to watch:

1. QB Taylor Potts--After quarterback Steven Sheffield started last week's contest and Tech dug themselves a 14-3 hole, Potts came in and brought the Red Raiders back from that deficit. He was 19-of-28 passing for 188 yards and three touchdowns, although he threw an interception. But he showed great poise in bringing them back from double digits behind.

2. LB Brian Duncan--Just how much pressure the Red Raiders are able to get on quarterback Landry Jones will be critical, and Duncan has been a bit of a pest for opponents from the linebacker position all year. He leads the team with 9.5 tackles for loss, including six sacks, part of his 40 total tackles.

Tech will win if: It can take any type of substantial lead early. The Sooners are good at home for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is because they get off to good starts and often bury their opponents. Tech has to do the opposite. To have a chance in this one, they need to get a big advantage in the first half.


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