Keys to the Game

RaiderPower takes an in-depth look at the keys to the game for the Texas Tech - Oklahoma matchup, while avoiding the usual common sense analyses. What must the Red Raiders do to pull the upset against the Sooners? Come inside to find out.

1. Limit their backfield.  I don't care if OU lines up Adrian Peterson, Allen Patrick, Jacob Gutierrez, or some random dude I've never heard of in the backfield.  Odds are, if he's at Oklahoma as a running back, he can play football.  This also goes for Paul Thompson, as he is just as much of a threat running the football as he is to throw it.  I am more worried about Thompson beating us with his legs than his arm.  That said, our secondary needs to worry about getting beat deep, as OU's receivers are a talented group.  Basically, Oklahoma's offense works the same as UT's, except with slightly less talent.  Our defensive gameplan needs to be similar to what it was against UT, except we need to watch the deep ball better than we did.  If we can do that, we can win this game.

2. Be patient on offense.  This is not the game to try and go for the big play.  Oklahoma's defense has too many good athletes on it for that strategy to work.  If we try fancy stuff, it will lead to turnovers, which will absolutely take us out of this game.  Our offense needs to do what it does best, and that is to punish the open areas with good routes and accurate throws.  I don't want to see many homerun balls unless somebody completely loses their man.  Then again, I won my NCAA 2007 game at OU on Heisman on a late hot route to a fly pattern when their safety was out of position, so I wouldn't mind seeing Harrell pull out something like he did A&M and own them if they make a scheme mistake.  Still, I think five to fifteen yard routes is our key to victory in this one.

3. Take the crowd out of it.  There is no question that the OU fans are going to come out of the meth labs woodwork for this one.  There will be some Deliverance-esque people there, whose only joy in life is derived from the football success of a university that they never attended.  They, along with the actual fans, will make their presence known.  We must score early to have a chance.  A comeback after OU gets the momentum would be nearly impossible.  It is the last home game for their Seniors, so their team won't want to let up, especially if the Sooner fans get behind them and and make them feel special.  Hopefully our fans will do their part at the game as well.  Maybe, just maybe, the GOOO RAAAIDERS guy will have paid for his ticket so he can say what he wants.

4. Leach vs. Stoops.  This a battle of two very good coaches who both know each other's strategies very well.  For those of you who have forgotten, Leach was a member of the Oklahoma staff for a while.  They still talk regularly, which I can only assume are interesting conversations.  I would guess that there's a bit of a competitive rivalry between the two.  After all, Leach is an offensive-minded head coach, while Stoops is more of a defensive guy.  They do share common traits, though.  Both coaches are known as gutsy guys whose coaching abilities are widely respected.  In a game like this, the outcome may very well depend on which coach gets the better of the other.  I just really hope that the game doesn't come down to some controversial officiating at the end.

5. Remember what you're playing for.  Winning this game could put us on the inside track for a good bowl game.  At this point, we could end up anywhere from the Holiday/Gator Bowl to the Independence/Texas Bowl.   We're better than a 6-4 team.  Let's finish strong and match up against a talented team in our bowl game.  We don't want to play some lesser team like Indiana.  If you don't want to look that far ahead, then focus solely on beating down those pesky Sooners.  If you don't get motivated by anger, then do it for the guys beside you.  The 2006 Texas Tech Red Raiders are still a good team; one who nearly shocked the world again by defeating Texas.  This weekend is our second chance.  Let's remind the college football nation that TTU is still here.

-Trent Wycoff

(Questions, comments, praise, and constructive criticism can be directed to Trent within the forums or through email at

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