Showdown in Norman

The Red Raiders are coming off of an impressive 55-21 victory over the Baylor Bears and are looking to continue their success as they head into Norman to face the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners held off Texas A&M last weekend in the waning minutes and are looking for revenge after Texas Tech handed them a 23-21 loss last year in Lubbock.

Many Sooners have circled the game against the Red Raiders ever since the controversial ending to the game in Lubbock last year.  However, Mike Leach seems to believe that there is more to it than that.

 "The tough thing in this conference is it's hard to distinguish us and go that far. It is hard for me to speak to any of their motivations," Coach Leach said. "You have a lot of games like this."

Leach continued, "When they get done playing us, they have to play Oklahoma State. Before playing us, they had to play A&M at Kyle Field. It's hard to do that. At some point you have to make them all important."

The Red Raiders have struggled a bit in this respect so far this season, with a disappointing loss coming to a Colorado team.  However, the team has done a better job of taking it one game at a time lately, and this week appears to be no different.
Brent Slaughter stated that Norman "is definitely one of those places you don't look forward to going into."  Slaughter also said, "I am not surprised that they overcame some adversity and put together a pretty good team thus far."

The Red Raiders are putting together a good team of their own recently, with three consecutive impressive performances.  Key to this success has been the play of the offensive line, who has made things easier on Graham Harrell as of late.

Center Brandon Jones credits this to being "an experienced group." He also stated that "we kind of know each other well. There are a lot of things that go into the chemistry on the field."  Whatever it is that they're doing, it seems to be working.

However, it's not just the offensive line that has stepped up their game recently.  Sophomore quarterback Graham Harrell has begun to use more of his mobility, even calling and running a zone read play that he took for a first down last week.

This pleased Leach, who said that "It was a good decision on his part." Mike was not as surprised as many TTU fans were, though, as he said that "We've been coaching that up  and trying to get that done for several weeks."

Still, running back Shannon Woods has been the catalyst with his running game, getting 125 yards on the ground against BU.  Shannon's blocking has also been key, with Leach recognizing that "he's done a real good job with that."

The Red Raiders are riding high coming off of last week's blowout win, but the team seems refocused.  Brandon Jones perhaps summarized it best by saying that "They are going to come out and play hard and we are too."


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