Cowboys on Upset Alert ?

Both teams are close in how they play, and numbers are close except for the record. Should OSU be on upset alert?

It had been 66 years since Oklahoma State had beaten Texas Tech in Lubbock until they took down the Red Raiders last year in Jones AT&T Stadium, and it is looking like the Cowboys are going to take down Tech once again in 2011.

On paper, these teams do not seem all that different, as both teams throw the ball all over the field ranking 1st and 3rd respectively in the Big 12 conference in passing.

Both teams rank in the Top 15 in the nation in total offense, but their defenses rank outside of the top 100 in yards allowed surrendering over 450 yards per game.

Oklahoma State's Defensive Coordinator Bill Young said his biggest concern with the Red Raider offense is their ability to get into a rhythm and how hard they are to stop once they get into the flow of the game.

"They go so fast that you have to get the call in there fast," he said. "You have to get it communicated, you have to get lined up and you can get a little bit frustrated as a defense if they continue to keep converting on second and third down."

But what makes the outcome of Saturday's game so seemingly predictable is the result of the last two weeks for Texas Tech.

Going into Tech's game against Iowa State, no one seemed to be able to stop the Red Raiders' offense. Tech was averaging 43 points per game and had just come off of a win over the number one ranked Oklahoma Sooners in Norman.

Since that game, Tech's offense has come to a screeching halt. Iowa State held Tech to seven points and the Texas Longhorns had more rushing attempts (54), than the Red Raiders had rushing yards (30) last week.

Red Raider quarterback Seth Doege said the last couple of games may have hurt the confidence of the team, but he knows they can do better.

"I'm confident and I feel like they're going to respond back," he said. "And their backs are against the corner. I think they're going to come out swinging and respond and do a good job."

So what happened? Has Tech's offensive ineptitude had something to do with the loss of Eric Stephens for the season?

Some might argue that, but Tech came out and had good success running the ball against Kansas State, and then they came out and beat Oklahoma. So the loss of  Eric Stephens has not been much of an issue in regards to that.

Have they started to turn the ball over?

They turned it over three times against Iowa State, but they turned it over four times against Kansas State and still scored 34 points. And Tech didn't turn it over at all against UT, so turnovers cannot be blamed.

But turnovers will matter in this game whether Tech has turned it over in the past or not.

Turnovers dictate every game of football in the Big 12 conference because just one interception on the wrong side of the 50 can change a game in a league with high-powered offenses, and Oklahoma State knows how to force turnovers.

The Cowboys are second in the nation in interceptions with 18, and after a pick, they have scored on 11 of the 18 subsequent drives.

Doege said they respect the Cowboys for their ability to force turnovers, but they are far from scared of it.

"The little things of ball security and me being accurate and not forcing balls and things like that are going to be huge in this game," he said.

And Tech has had trouble getting turnovers themselves. The Red Raiders rank near the bottom of the Big 12, forcing a mere five interceptions over the whole year.

Texas Tech Head Coach Tommy Tuberville said a big reason for the problems they have been having is their inability to force turnovers. They have only forced one in the last two weeks.

"We're not good enough to not get turnovers," he said. "Just at least one or two, and then have the other team punt, basically, get the team off the field."

So, if all that is taken into account is the last two weeks for Texas Tech and the full season of dominance for the Cowboys, there should be no question which team is going to win this game.

However, the game is being played in Lubbock, and in years past, many a mighty team has fallen.

Missouri came into the Jones ranked number 14 last year and fell to Tech 24-17. Oklahoma State came in ranked number seven and UT came in ranked number one in 2008 and both fell in Lubbock.

And finally, OU came in with national title hopes and ranked number four only to lose Sam Bradford to a concussion and the game 34-27 to the unranked Red Raiders.

Ranking means nothing at the Jones. Any team can win any given day in Lubbock and Oklahoma State Safety Markelle Martin knows it.

"We understand it's not going to be easy and it's going to be a hostile environment," he said, "so we just have to bring whichever guys come on that plane, we have to go down there, perform our best game and just try to come out with a win."


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