Can Texas Tech Steal One in Stillwater?

Texas Tech (2-1) and Oklahoma State (2-1) open Big 12 play against one another 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla. While the Cowboys are heavy favorites and have recently owned the series, this season's statistics point to the matchup being closer than some might think.

KEY OKLAHOMA STATE STATS
CATEGORYSTATISTICNAT'L RANK
Rushing Yards Per Carry4.2No. 69
Total Offense440No. 61
Sacks Per Game3.33No. 17
Red Zone TD Percentage50%No. 98
Rush Yards Allowed Per Game111No. 28
Pass Yards Allowed Per Game241No. 75
Pass Efficiency Defense129.62No. 77
Fumbles Recovered0No. 117


As much as many Texas Tech football fans are dreading and expecting an awful drubbing at the hands of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the reasons for the fatalism are actually quite minimal on the OSU side of things.

Statistically, the Cowboys are not a terribly impressive team. In fact they’re decidedly mid-pack in most offensive and defensive categories.

On offense, Oklahoma State doesn't run the football all that well, averaging a modest 4.2 yards per carry. Thus, while Tech’s run defense has been abysmal, the Red Raiders won’t see the quality of running game they saw from Arkansas.

When the Cowboys venture into the red zone, they’re not terribly effective, converting their forays into touchdowns only half of the time. If the Red Raider defense can merely hold OSU to their average in this area, they should be in good shape.

And in terms of total offense, Oklahoma State is only No. 61 nationally. That is not the statistic one is used to seeing from the Cowboy offense, but that is what this team has shown so far in 2014.

On defense, OSU is strong in only three categories, third down conversion defense, where they are seventh best nationally; red zone TD percentage defense, where they are No. 2, and sacks, where they are No. 17. The Red Raiders have actually been fairly strong in all three of those rubrics (especially sacks allowed; Tech hasn’t allowed one!), so we will see strength against strength. To say the very least, however, Tech can ill afford to stall in the red zone and be forced to rely on its wildly erratic field goal kicking unit.

But the Cowboy defense actually looks fairly vulnerable in certain propitious areas. Hence, in passing defense they are No. 75 allowing 241 passing yards per contest. And their pass efficiency defense is even worse, checking in at No. 80. It is also worth noting that Oklahoma State has yet to recover a fumble in 2014, which bodes well for a Tech club with a horrific turnover ratio.

Look for the Red Raiders to move the ball with relative ease through the air against OSU, but the kicker—so to speak—will be their ability to convert their deep penetrations into touchdowns rather than field goal attempts. If they can do so, and at least stay level in the turnover battle, Tech should be in this game to the finish. If not, the prophecies of doom could come to pass.




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