Red Raider Offense vs. Cowboy Defense
Although the Red Raiders had somewhat of a slow start last weekend against A&M, they more than made up for it with the way they finished. In the first quarter, it looked like Tech was en route to a blowout, going up 14-0 early. However, in the second quarter, the Red Raiders failed to score a point, despite several trips to the red zone. The Aggies only trailed by four points at halftime, but that was as close as they would get. Texas Tech played nearly a flawless second half, scoring 21 points in both the third and fourth quarters on their way to a 56-17 rout.
Still, the Red Raiders never lost control of the game, and looked dominant overall in one of their best performances of the season. Taurean Henderson made the Aggie defense look downright inept at tackling all day, and Jarrett Hicks tore up the A&M secondary with his 147 yard, two touchdown performance. The much-maligned A&M secondary tried everything from heavy blitzing to dropping eight or nine men into pass coverage, but nothing was going to stop Hodges and the Red Raiders. However, it shouldn't be quite as easy for the Air Raid to impose their will this weekend against Oklahoma State.
The Cowboy secondary is arguably their strongest defensive unit, only allowing 196 passing yards per game. However, their run defense is downright awful, giving up 228 yards a game. This does not bode well for the Cowboys considering how excellent Taurean Henderson has been playing all year, and how talented Hodges is at scrambling. Sure, we all saw how they shut down Texas for one half of football. Unfortunately, we also all watched Texas score 35 unanswered in the second half in a game that turned into somewhat of a blowout, leaving most to believe that it was nothing more than a fluke.
The OSU secondary will obviously have their hands full against one of the most talented receiving corps in the country, and likely wins or loses this game based on their performance. If they can manage to shut down Texas Tech's passing attack, then they can focus on limiting Taurean Henderson's gamebreaking potential and give their offense a chance for the upset. However, if the Red Raiders can force the safeties and linebackers to start creeping back to defend against the pass, Henderson will have another dominating performance and lead Texas Tech to victory.
Red Raider Defense vs. Cowboy Offense
The Texas Tech defense comes off what I would definitively call their best performance of the year last week against Texas A&M. They tackled hard all game long, and had the Aggie offense running scared. Some of them [cough] Jason Carter [/cough], even began tackling themselves. Usually it's only Dwyane Slay that inspires such fear, but the Aggies were cowering to nearly everyone, including some of Tech's second stringers. After two consecutive good performances, I'll say The Swarm is back, ladies and gents. You've earned your title, defense. Now just keep it going against Oklahoma State.
The Oklahoma State offense has been shaky at best thus far, only averaging 320 yards per game. There has been a desperate search for a quarterback, having had three different starters this year. Al Pena appears at this point to have earned the starting gig for this weekend by giving Texas a slight scare last week. Their receiving corps still has two Woods brothers left in it, who everyone knows come from a talented family. That being said, I doubt they would mind having Rashaun back to improve their receiving corps a little. The one constant that they have had has been the excellent play of Mike Hamilton. He is averaging five yards per carry, and brings balance to what would otherwise be a stagnant offense.
If the Red Raider defense continues to play like they have the past two games, Oklahoma State won't put up enough points to have a chance of winning the game. Dwayne Slay and Keyunta Dawson are becoming more widely known for their accomplishments, and others are also beginning to step up their game as of late. The Texas Tech defense is a sure tackling, hard-hitting group, and if the Cowboys don't give them the respect that they deserve, they might not get on the scoreboard all day long.
It's prediction time. If the 2nd half A&M offense and defense shows up to play, this one could get ugly, Aggie style. However, if Texas Tech continues their typical slow start and lets OSU get ahead early, it could be a closer game than expected. Still, Texas Tech is more talented on both sides of the ball, so I believe they win easily. I'm guessing that the score will be somewhere around 45-17 TTU. However, I've been wrong before.