SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week breaking down Oklahoma's game during the 2013 season.
No. 10 Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0) at No. 15 Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1)
When: 2:30 p.m. CST
OU's biggest question going into the game
Is this the week OU connects on some deep balls in the passing game? Nobody is denying the Sooners haven't had much success in trying to stretch the field vertically, but each week the coaches believe they're one step closer.
This would be the perfect week.
"We've just got to fight for it every day and get better," quarterback Blake Bell said. "Coach (Josh) Heupel, like he always says, ‘You're going to keep taking shots. You're not going to hit them all, but we just need to hit a few. If you hit a few, then we're going to be in great shape.'"
OU's only deep ball connection last week was when wide receiver LaColtan Bester found Sterling Shepard with a perfect pass. Many have joked that was the best deep ball OU has thrown all season but really it's not much of a joke.
Bell, for one reason or another, hasn't been able to find the chemistry with his receivers to make the big plays. There are explanations, but Heupel said that can't matter anymore.
"Some of it is the defenses and of is just us making plays," Heupel said. "Whether it's in the run game or throwing it, we haven't had the big hitter except for the one with Brennan (Clay) against TCU."
Texas Tech's biggest question going into the game
Is Tech going to be able to duplicate the success on the ground vs. OU just like Kansas and Texas? The numbers don't indicate the Red Raiders can do that.
Texas and KU both had running backs that it was clear to say this is the guy that is going to attack the OU defense and see what they're made of.
Williams leads the team with 256 yards and six touchdowns. Washington has four touchdowns and totaled 238 yards. Both have made significant contributions in the passing game, but it has been against the run where OU has faced its biggest issues.
"The bottom line, whether you win pretty or win ugly, you got great stats or not, it's that you have to do the things you have to do to beat that opponent that day. And I think that is the way this football team is going to be. We felt that way in the spring. We thought our style was going to be drastically different than it has in the past. We just have to find ways to win and protect the ball. We have to find ways to continue to drive the ball and to do that we have to convert on third down and make those critical situational plays to win." – OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell on OU's offense
Every week he's starting to get more comfortable and this is the week freshman linebacker Dominique Alexander makes a big play to create a turnover. He had 19 tackles against Texas, but that's not always good because that could mean he was out of position or it's several yards down field. He didn't start well at Kansas but started to find his footing more and more and dropped an interception later in the game. With the home crowd giving the support, Alexander relaxes more and starts to make the big time plays in his third start.
OU 22, Texas Tech 20. Don't ask me how OU is getting to 22, but have a feeling this will be one of those games with a weird point total as both teams scratch and claw to find points on the scoreboard. The Sooners won't be able to get the passing game going once again and rely on the four senior running backs to take them home and earn a huge conference win to put them back in the hunt for the Big 12 title.