Red Raider Offense vs. Sooner Defense
It was a tough day for Texas Tech fans last Saturday, as the Red Raiders got upset by the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Many Red Raiders were left shocked and appalled that their #13 team was upset by a team who had previously been winless in conference play. I, for one, am surprised I made it through the weekend without drinking myself to death. However, there may be sunshine visible through the clouds. Sure, the Red Raiders are no longer a BCS possibility, and the national media was proved right about Tech being overrated. However, maybe the loss to OSU can bring the Texas Tech players down to earth and make them focus more on this weekend's critical matchup with the Oklahoma Sooners.
The Texas Tech offense had another stagnant performance against OSU, especially in the running game. Taurean Henderson had an uncharacteristically poor performance, rushing 8 times for a total loss of 6 yards. Cody Hodges also had an off day, throwing an interception and fumbling on crucial possessions. However, it was a team loss, since it seemed that no Red Raider had a particularly impressive game. I'm just glad the game wasn't televised, so less people heard about our breakdown. I hate actually being happy about our lack of media coverage for once. Hopefully Texas Tech will get in the spotlight again by beating OU and playing a tough SEC team in the Cotton Bowl.
Oklahoma has gotten back on track lately after a shaky start to the season. Every indication is that their team has finally figured out how to play together and gotten on track. The Sooner defense is solid against the run, but somewhat susceptible against a formidable passing attack. However, the Red Raiders need to prove that they have one after questionable performances against Baylor and OSU. Still, the last team they faced that struggled against the pass was A&M, and we all know how that one turned out.
With a Cotton Bowl berth on the line for both teams, this should be a hard-fought win that separates the men from the boys. The Red Raiders and the Sooners both have a chance to finish their regular season in a way that they can be proud of instead of disappointed in. Texas Tech has one last chance to prove themselves against a solid opponent, otherwise I'm not even sure that we deserve to go pick Cotton.
Red Raider Defense vs. Sooner Offense
It was obvious in last week's game against the Cowboys that only one team came to play a football game, and that team was OSU. Texas Tech, fresh off of their blowout win over the rival Aggies, came in with a UT-esque overconfidence that cost them the game. Once again, it was proved that any team can beat anyone else if they simply want it more. Every Red Raider was talking BCS and the Oklahoma game, and no one took the Cowboys seriously, including myself. Everyone had marked the W assuming all that the Red Raiders had to do was show up, but it was the Cowboys who showed up in a big way. Texas Tech has come down from the clouds, so perhaps now they will start playing with that underdog intensity that has made them great the past few years. Also, they have probably got quite a grudge against teams from Oklahoma.
Unfortunately for Texas Tech, they haven't even played the best team from Oklahoma yet. Rhett Bomar is beginning to live up to his potential, and a healthy Adrian Peterson has proven to be as dangerous as ever. Peterson may be especially impactful considering how well Oklahoma State ran against Texas Tech last weekend. Add the fact that Bomar brings a dual threat as a talented runner, and you have a Texas Tech recipe for disaster. After all, I think I could have put on an OSU jersey last week and run up the middle for 7 or 8 yards. Still, the Red Raiders can win this game, and here's why.
First off, the game is at Jones SBC Stadium, where Texas Tech has been flawless all year. When the crowd gets behind the defense, they start hitting people. Hard. Second, Tech managed to shut down Oklahoma last year when the Sooners had a better offense and the Red Raiders had a worse defense. Third, the Red Raiders should play with anger and focus, considering last week's disappointment. Still, the win is far from a sure thing, as Stoops has owned Leach in the battle of the Mikes. Also, the Sooners are loaded with talent as always. However, this year, the playing field is more leveled than usual, with both teams having similar rankings and bowl implications.
If the Red Raiders can't beat the Sooners, they may drop from the prestigious Cotton Bowl to the Alamo Bowl. This should be motivation enough to play their hearts out. I just don't know if I can put up with another lackluster effort, because that's not what Texas Tech University is all about. I am far from giving up hope on a team that gets better year after year, but I'm not sure I can look fondly at a season in which we went from a possible BCS berth to the Alamo Bowl in two games. Don't let me down, team. Your wins and losses are shared by more than you know.