Preview: Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech

It’s a big game and possibly, maybe, perhaps, winnable.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-3, 1-3)
Oklahoma Sooners (3-2, 2-2)
October 31st @ 7:00 p.m.
Jones AT&T Stadium – Lubbock, Texas
Oklahoma -14.5
Partly Cloudy, 71-39.

5 Players to Scheme Around

1. QB Spencer Rattler (6-1/205, Fr.): Rattler struggled a little bit earlier in the year, but I think he’s been really good as of late. For the year, Rattler has passed for 304 yards a game, completing 70% of his passes for 10.1 yards per attempt, 15 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. Rattler is athletic, but not a huge runner, probably sacked a bit, has 44 carries and 74 yards, so he’s running, but getting sacked too.

2. DL Isaiah Thomas (6-5/267, Jr.):Thomas is a guy I’ve never heard of, but he sure is productive. Only 3 tackles a game, but 4.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sack, 5 quarterback hurries, and a broken up pass and forced fumble as well. I’m expecting speed here.

3. RB T.J. Pledger (5-9/193, Jr.): Pledge has done a really nice job and is definitely a threat, averaging 5 yards a carry, 85 yards a game and has 3 touchdowns. He’s not a huge threat taking the ball out of the backfield, but when he does, he averages 11 yards a catch.

4. WR Marvin Mims (5-11/177, Fr.): Mims is a freshman and he’s pretty incredible. Mims is averaging 17 yards a catch, about 4 catches a game, and 66 yards per game on averages with 6 touchdowns. Again, from a freshman.

5. L Brian Asamoah (6-1/230, So.): I’ve seriously never heard of this player, but here we are. Asamoah averages 6 tackles a game, which leads the team, plus 3 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, and 4 quarterback hurries. Oklahoma is all about pressure, as they are 15th in the nation in registering 15 sacks a game thus far this season.

Thoughts Based on Some YouTube Video

Oh, NBD, just a really nice zone block on the backside, and a fullback clear-out for a 15 yard gain . . . Rattler could have run for 25 yards, but did a nice job finding the receiver one-on-one . . . Pledger runs through some people despite not being a huge guy and that offensive line did a nice job . . . on defense, OU brings the heat but TCU picks it up, not a ton of heat from the OU defenders and the man coverage gets burned . . . the sack is just a speed rush and that’s a concern . . . Rattler throws effortlessly . . . Rattler does a nice job of running and has nice wheels to boot . . . the TCU defense does get Rattler, but it happens quickly and the next play, Rattler is going through his progressions and doesn’t feel the heat, but TCU is getting that late pressure from just 4 down linemen . . . Rattler just picks apart that zone coverage, but the defender does get picked by the ref . . . OU has a bit of trouble covering that tight end, but that tight end runs really well . . . (the TCU uniforms are butt) . . . OU absolutely blitzes TCU and that’s a situation where the quarterback never had a chance . . . again, zone coverage may not be the right call, especially if you just rush 3 . . . Pledger gets a head of steam quickly . . . Rattler is good at recognizing that one-on-one coverage, the end zone looks makes it look pretty easy to recognize . . . on high pressure situations, OU will take a gamble and try to make a play and pressure the quarterback . . .


Back with TeamRankings for the stats.

  • In some respects, Texas Tech has a better offense, which is crazy to think. Texas Tech is only allowing .472 points per play, while Oklahoma is at .506, that’s not a huge difference, but it’s enough. And I think that both teams have played comparable opponents (both have played Texas and Iowa State).
  • Offensively, Oklahoma is slightly better, the Sooners is averaging .476 yards a play compared to .439 to Texas Tech. That’s about a touchdown difference if you want to know how that works out.
  • The time of possession is basically flipped for both teams. OU is averaging 33 (almost 34) minutes a game on offense and the Texas Tech offense is at 26, while the Oklahoma defense is only on the field for 26 minutes, while the Texas Tech offense is on the field for 33 minutes.
  • Oklahoma is significantly more explosive passing the ball, averaging 9 yards a pass, compared to 6 for Texas Tech. Believe it or not, the Oklahoma defense is giving up more big plays than the Texas Tech defense, 8.5 yards per pass for the Sooners and 7.2 for the Red Raiders. That’s kind of shocking.
  • The Texas Tech rush defense is more porous, allowing 4.4 yards a run compared to 3.6 for OU. That’s pretty salty.
  • Both teams are comparable on 3rd down, Texas Tech is completing 42% and OU is at 43%. On the defensive side of the ball, again, it’s close basically neck-and-neck, 36.54% for OU and 36.84 for Texas Tech.
  • Like a lot of these opposing teams, Oklahoma is near automatic in the red zone, scoring 95% of the time compared to 73% for Texas Tech.
  • Oklahoma runs the ball 53% of the time and passes 47%, while Texas Tech is at 42% running and 58% passing.
  • Oklahoma is averaging 9 penalties a game. Want to be surprised? Texas Tech is averaging 4.

General Thoughts and Prediction On the Game

Could I be talked into thinking Texas Tech could win this game? Maybe. I really hadn’t looked at the status that closely, I typically don’t look that closely until I write the preveiw (which in this situation is Thursday night). But Oklahoma is a lot more human than I sort of expected. I know that OU was good offensively and I truly do think that Lincoln is one of the best play-callers and developer of plays in the country. Find me someone better because I just don’t think there’s a ton of creativity for the most part in college football.

Oklahoma’s two away games were Iowa State and then TCU last week. It seems that most teams are on a two-week at home and then two-week on the road sort of schedule.

Maybe it would be better to state that maybe this game is going to be closer than I would have expected. Historically, OU is 9-1 in the last 10 games, 6-4 against the spread against Texas Tech. There’s a clear advantage.

Oklahoma’s biggest advantage is how great their receivers are. OU has invested in those and they have a handful of them that can just go out and make big plays, Marvin Mims, Austin Stogner, Theo Wease, Charleston Rambo, etc. And combine that with a power offensive line that can open up lanes for Pleger and Seth McGowan (5-11/211), a freshman from Dallas, that’s more of the thunder, but still really talented.

Texas Tech’s biggest issue is getting players healthy. Get back KeSean Carter, T.J. Vasher, McLane Mannix, Chaddarius Townsend, Dalton Rigdon, SaRodorick Thompson, and Xavier White. That’s a ton of skill positions and if you don’t think it was somewhat amazing that Texas Tech actually won last week without those players, well, maybe you should. Regardless, if you give Columbi a few more threats offensively, guys that opposing defensive coordinators have to scheme around, then that’s a benefit. I think that technically, Erik Ezukanma is the main guy that you would have to game-plan for, but other than that, these guys were pretty much unknowns.

Defensively, it’s going to be really hard to stop Rattler. He’s really talented and he does have a big arm, but he was prone to make mistakes early in the year, which resulted in his benching for a half. I think that he’s worked out. Against a usually tough Oklahoma defense, Rattler was just 13 of 22, yes, that’s it, for 332 yards. That’s absolutely stupid and a testament as to how many big plays he had throwing the ball down the field. That means that the safeties for Texas Tech are going to get an absolute work-out. I’ve already expressed how I’m not a huge fan of Eric Monroe and I’d love for the coaching staff to really reconsider if he should be playing as many snaps as he’s actually playing.

I’m not picking Texas Tech to win, but I will take those points and take Oklahoma straight-up. I think the Sooners will win this game and be happy to be completely wrong about that.


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