Game Preview: Oklahoma State vs. Texas Tech

This week the Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-4, 3-2) host the visiting Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-4, 2-2). Texas Tech is coming off a 62-11 victory over the Baylor Bears. Oklahoma State is coming off back-to-back wins, with their latest victory over Texas A&M.

Texas Tech Keys to Victory
Protect the Ball – This will be a close game, which could be decided by turnovers. The Red Raider offense has to protect the football in order to prevent Oklahoma State from scoring easy points.
Prevent the Big Play – The Texas Tech secondary faces one of the nation's best big play threats in Rashaun Woods. They will have to keep him contained in order for Texas Tech to win.

When Texas Tech Hast the Ball
Texas Tech's senior quarterback Kliff Kingsbury only played two and a half quarters last week, so he should be ready to go against the Cowboy's defense. Kingsbury is the nation's leader in passing yards with 3,557 this season. The Red Raider offense showed how to spread the ball around by completing passes to 15 different players. Wes Welker leads the receivers with 60 catches for 756 yards. Receivers Anton Paige and Nehemiah Glover lead the team with 7 touchdown receptions each. Another receiver to watch is Carlos Francis, who is averaging 10.4 yards per catch. Running back Taurean Henderson continues to be on of the most consistent players on the team. Henderson leads the team with 74 receptions. Henderson is also averaging 5.4 yards per carry, and has scored 6 rushing touchdowns this season.

Oklahoma State will probably follow the same strategy that most teams adopt against the Red Raiders by dropping extra players into coverage. This puts lots of pressure on the defensive line to apply pressure and stop the run. The Cowboy's defensive line is led by defensive tackle Kevin Williams, and defensive end Greg Richmond. The linebackers face the tough job of having to cover the receivers, and the back out of the backfield. The linebacker to watch out for is Paul Duren, who is coming off a 9-tackle game against Texas A&M. The defensive backs must face one of the top receiving corps in the country. Look for Oklahoma State to use 5 defensive backs for most of the game.

When Oklahoma State has the Ball
Quarterback Josh Fields runs Oklahoma State's offense. Their passing attack revolves around receiver Rashaun Woods. Woods, who is one of the top receivers in the Big 12, is averaging 8 receptions for 111 yards per game. The second option for the Cowbos is running back Tatum Bell. Bell has taken a more prominent role in Oklahoma State's recent victories. Bell's 143 yards last week played a key role in the Cowboy's victory.

Texas Tech will probably run their typical base defense. Defensive end Aaron Hunt is the leader of a defensive line that will be charged with sopping Tatum Bell. The linebackers will also have the primary responsibility of stopping the run, but don't be surprised if a linebacker or two drops into coverage from time to time. Linebacker John Saldi has been playing great in recent weeks. Look for him to be used on the blitz in certain situations. The defensive backs must stop Woods. Look for the Red Raiders to try and use a safety to double team Woods for most of the game. The defensive backs will also have to make clean tackles when Woods does catch the ball.

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