Game Preview: Texas Tech vs Oklahoma
Texas Tech (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) enters the contest after a 30-20 win at Kansas on Saturday. The win follows back-to-back losses to consecutive top 5 ranked teams, then back-to-back wins against the bottom of the barrel of the Big 12.
No. 17 Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) lost to the University of Texas before dismantling Kansas State 55-0 last weekend. The Sooners are Texas Tech's third nationally ranked opponent of the year. Walk-on Baker Mayfield is the starting quarterback for the Sooners.
Baker Mayfield has been much better than the rotating quarterback position that OU had in 2014. He ranks in the top twenty nationally in total yards and completion percentage. His Texas Tech counterpart, Patrick Mahomes, ranks third nationally in total offense as he averages 408.1 yards per game and 374.7 through the air.
In 2014, Oklahoma won 42-30 with a 21-point 4th quarter that broke the back of the hombre jersey-clad Red Raiders.
The Texas Tech offense is coming off its worst day of the year against Kansas. They scored 30 points -- 20 under their season average. Texas Tech enters this week against OU ranking 3rd nationally and 3rd in the Big 12, averaging 49.4 points per game. Both the offensive line and receiving core had terrible weeks last week, which made the normally unstoppable Mahomes turn human for a week.
Mahomes held the ball too long, could not find any open receivers and took five sacks. It's the first time this season he's been sacked more than once. Le'Raven Clark should be back this week. Devin Lauderdale will be closer to 100 percent.
Meanwhile, DeAndre Washington is a man on a mission. With more than 700 rushing yards, he is well on his way to being a back-to-back 1000-yard rusher. Byron Hanspard is the last Texas Tech player to be a back-to-back 1000-yard rusher when he did it in 1995 and 1996 (with 1,374 and 2,084, respectively).
OU leads the conference in scoring defense, total defense, pass defense and interceptions, and are second in sacks in league play. Oklahoma ranks ninth nationally in pass defense.
Texas Tech ranks second nationally in passing yards per game (427.6), second in total offense (623.7) and third in scoring offense (49.4).
So this game pits a top defense vs. a top offense. I'll go with the offense in this one. Mahomes will turn on his killer instinct and knife through the OU defense. It may not be enough, though.
When Baker Mayfield left Texas Tech and went to walk on in Oklahoma, no one thought he would be starting in 2015 -- especially after Trevor Knight beat Alabama in the bowl game following the 2013 season. Then, in 2014, Blake Bell played tight end, Trevor Knight got benched and a baseball player played quarterback.
And then, Bob Stoops hired an air raid Mike Leach disciple (Lincoln Riley as OC) and the perfect storm for Baker Mayfield to clown walk his way into the starting lineup was in full swing.
At the helm of the Sooner offense, Mayfield has been good and bad. Which is exactly what Baker Mayfield is. He is a gamer.
The key this week is to pressure Mayfield. If the Red Raider front seven can get adequate pressure, Mayfield is susceptible to turning the ball over. It's a byproduct of his gunslinger mentality. The Texas Tech defense has fared well in forcing turnovers this season, as the Red Raiders rank 11th nationally in the category and 17th in turnover margin. So if Texas Tech can win the turnover battle, I think they can overcome.
Samje Perine ran for 213 yards in the 2014 game between these two teams. The game was tied 21-21 in the 3rd quarter when OU stopped messing around and ran the ball 30 times in the 4th quarter, scoring three touchdowns.
Oklahoma has a new offense this year, but if they want to run the ball, they can. Tech fans just hope they won't.
I think that Tech can win four of the last five games on their schedule, and that one loss will not be this weekend. The Red Raider offense will expose the OU defense for what it really is, and the defense will make the walk on quarterback beat himself.
A fatal mistake by Baker Mayfield will allow Texas Tech to win a late one in Norman, 42-38.
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