Texas Tech Looks to Make Statement in Stillwater

The Texas Tech Red Raiders are riding a wave of media attention brought on by the performance of their high powered offense, but a slip in Stillwater could bring that attention crashing down. This game features two top 25 teams who started off with very different expectations from the national media.

Oklahoma State entered the season as one of the media's darlings. With Rashaun Woods and Tatum Bell, the Cowboys were going to finally emerge from the bottom half of the Big 12 South. At the same time the media had decided that Texas Tech couldn't possibly succeed without the arm of former quarterback Kliff Kingsbury. Shortly after the season started, expectations ran into the harsh force of reality. The Cowboys were dominated by Nebraska in their opener, which caused some observers to question the preseason hype. At the same time the Red Raiders forced the rest of the country to pay attention to Texas Tech by putting the nation's best offense on the field every weekend.

In an interesting turn of events these teams will face off as the #23 Texas Tech Red Raiders travel to Stillwater to face the #24 Cowboys. This game will have huge implications for both teams. Oklahoma State needs this win if they are going to meet their preseason expectations. This win would give them their first win over a Mike Leach coached Red Raiders team, and would make them a legitimate number two in the Big Twelve South. The Red Raiders on the other hand need this win in order to prove that they deserve their new top 25 ranking. A loss here would probably drop the Texas Tech squad out of the top 25 for the rest of the season, and would kill quarterback B.J. Symons' Heisman hopes.

In this battle between two hungry teams, the battle lines are clearly drawn. Offensively the Red Raiders have the edge over the highly touted combo of Woods and Bell. These two players will undoubtedly have good games, but they are no match for a Texas Tech offense that has five receiving targets on almost every play. Simply put, it's easier to focus on stopping Woods than it is to stop the entire receiving corps of the Red Raiders. The running backs are very evenly matched. Bell gets more attention because he carries the ball more, but Taurean Henderson is coming off a big game against Iowa State, and may be the difference maker if the Cowboys drop eight men in coverage.

Both teams have struggled defensively, so you would expect a shootout. One key will be which defense can force the most turnovers. Both teams have the ability to force turnovers, though they are also susceptible to big plays. The edge should go to the Texas Tech defense that doesn't have nearly as many threats to worry about. Oklahoma State might be a little better overall, but they will once again have a tough time stopping the Red Raiders' offense.

In the end Texas Tech should succeed because of their offense. The unrelenting nature of the offense will allow the Red Raiders to move the ball throughout the game. The key is to prevent turnovers. Symons had four turnovers against Iowa State, something he can't afford to do in Stillwater. If the Red Raiders can maintain ball security, it wouldn't be surprising to see a Texas Tech blowout victory.


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