Game Preview: Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma

This week the Texas Tech Red Raiders (8-4, 5-2) travel to Norman to face the Oklahoma Sooners (9-1, 5-1). Texas Tech is currently on a 3 game winning streak. Their latest victory was over Texas with a score of 42-38. Oklahoma is coming off a 49-9 victory over Baylor last weekend. The winner of this game will be crowned Big 12 South Champion

Texas Tech Keys to Victory
Protect the Ball – The Sooners do a great job capitalizing on opponent's mistakes. While the Red Raiders have protected the ball well in recent games, turnovers have played a role in all four of their losses.
Stop the RunOklahoma's offense revolves around running back Quentin Griffin. Texas Tech needs a repeat performance of last week's game, when they shut down Texas running back Cedric Benson.
Big Plays in Key Situations – Texas Tech must make the big plays when it counts. Last Week Texas Tech won because of some great plays in important situations. The defense has to make stops on third downs, while the offense keeps drives moving by converting 3rd and 4th downs.

When Texas Tech Has the Ball
Texas Tech's senior quarterback Kliff Kingsbury faces another great defense this weekend. Kingsbury is the nation's leader in passing yards with 4,455 yards this season. The Red Raider offense will spread the ball around to a variety of different players. Wes Welker leads the receivers with 80 catches for 996 yards. Receiver Nehemiah Glover leads the team with 9 touchdown receptions. Mickey Peters, who had a big game against Texas, will play a key role against Oklahoma. Receiver Anton Paige is doubtful for this week's game. While this could be a big loss, receiver is Texas Tech's deepest position Running back Taurean Henderson continues to be on of the most consistent players on the team. Henderson leads the team with 86 receptions. Henderson is also averaging 5.2 yards per carry, and has scored 6 rushing touchdowns this season. Henderson has 11 touchdowns to lead the Red Raiders.

Oklahoma is probably going to start out in a nickel defense early in the game. If Texas Tech can establish a ground game it could force the Sooners to have an extra man in the box. This would open up the passing game considerably. Defensive Tackle Tommie Harris is the player that must be stopped if the Red Raiders are going to have offensive success. Harris is just a sophomore, but he has been a force in the Big 12. At linebacker the player to watch is Teddy Lehman. Lehman is a good all-around linebacker. I expect Texas Tech to use misdirection in order to use his speed against him. Cornerback Andre Woolfolk leads the Sooner secondary. This converted wide receiver is one of the premier big play cornerbacks in the Big 12. Kingsbury will have to be on target with any passes near Woolfolk.

When Oklahoma has the Ball
Quarterback Nate Hybl leads the Oklahoma offense. Hybl has a good arm, but his accuracy is questionable at times. Because of these problems, Oklahoma relies on running back Quentin Griffin to keep the offense moving. Griffin has been hard to stop in conference play this season. Griffin is averaging 6.9 yards a carry this season. He has also scored 11 rushing touchdowns. When the Sooners pass the receivers to watch are Will Peoples, Antwone Savage, Curtis Fagan. All 3 of these receivers are capable of big plays. They have been particularly successful in 3rd and long situations. Tight End Trent Smith is another dangerous weapon. Smith is a player that the Texas Tech linebackers will have to contain.

Texas Tech will probably run their typical base defense. Defensive end Aaron Hunt, the Big 12's career sack leader, is the leader of a defensive line that will be charged with stopping Cedric Benson. Look for Adell Duckett to play a key role from the other defensive end spot. 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 some outstanding football in recent weeks. Look for Saldi to be used on the blitz in certain situations. Saldi does a great job getting into the offensive backfield, and wreaking havoc on the offensive gameplan. The defensive backs must stop the receivers. The defensive backs also need to stay alert for possible interceptions, especially if the front seven can pressure Nate Hybl.


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