The Primer: Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma

Game Details

Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-3, 1-3)
Bad Guys: Oklahoma Sooners (6-1, 3-1)
When: Saturday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium; Norman, Oklahoma
TV/Stream: ABC or ESPN2 (Watch ESPN)
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM | Affiliates | TuneIn App

What Happened Last Week

Player: Baker Mayfield
Position: Quarterack
Ht/Wt: 6-1/220
Year: Senior
Key Stats: 73.8% completion rate; 11.6 yards per attempt; 19 touchdowns; 2 interceptions; 335.3 passing yards per game; 48 rushing attempts; 3.54 yards per attempts; 24.29 yards per game
Player: Mark Andrews
Position: Tight End
Ht/Wt: 6-5/254
Year: Junior
Key Stats: 30 receptions; 520 yards; 17.33 yards per catch; 3 touchdowns; 74.3 yards per game

Oklahoma was down early to Kansas State, 21-10 at halftime, but Mayfield led a furious comeback, starting with 10 points in the 3rd quarter while shutting out K-State and then going on to score 22 points in the 4th quarter for a 42-35 win in Manhattan. Mayfield threw for 410 yards, but only had 2 touchdowns and an interception while the ground game rattled off 209 yards rushing.

Texas Tech lost to Iowa State, a game that the Red Raidered really needed to win in order to get to that mythical 7 win threshold to show some improvement over the past two years. Unfortunately, Texas Tech was essentially shut out in the passing game, being held to just a shade over 200 yards passing and 129 yards running the ball.

Why This Game Is Important

This game is probably important to Mayfield on a personal level and the Sooners are still climbing their way into attempting to playing for a playoff spot. Oklahoma has struggled a bit to start (Kanas State) and finish games (Iowa State). I didn’t get to see any of that Iowa State game, but what would it take for Texas Tech to implement what OU did defensively.

For Texas Tech, this is about staying alive on some level. The Red Raiders have dipped the last two weeks and we, as fans, are down about the prospects moving forward.

What to Know About Oklahoma

Player: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
Position: Defensive End
Ht/Wt: 6-1/240
Year: Senior
Key Stats: 41 tackles; 5.86 tackles per game; 12 tackles for loss; 1.71 tackles for loss per game; 6 sacks; 5 quarterback hurries; 3 forced fumbles; 1 pass broken up
Player: Emmanuel Beal
Position: Linebacker
Ht/Wt: 6-0/218
Year: Senior
Key Stats: 49 tackles; 7 tackles per game; 4.0 tackles for a loss; 0.5 sacks; 1 pass broken up

The Sooners absolutely go where Baker Mayfield goes. He’s really been terrific this year and to say otherwise would be disingenuous. The problem is that as goes Mayfield, so goes the Sooners, and if he’s not producing offensively, then they struggle as a team. He’s a one-man cog. That’s not to say that there aren’t other talented players, but they aren’t on the level of Mayfield.

At running back, it’s a shared backfield, with freshman Trey Sermon (6-0/222) and sophomore Abdul Adams (5-11/205) sharing the load along with Mayfield being the third leading rusher. I think OU fans absolutely love fullback Dimitri Flowers (6-2/247) who they think is underutilized and isn’t really a rushing threat, but he will catch the ball out of the backfield and do some damage.

At receiver, junior tight end Mark Andrews (6-5/254) is a huge match-up problem for teams like Texas Tech that has essentially moved to a 3-3-5 defense may need to employ a linebacker to cover him, which creates additional match-up problems in the secondary (i.e. Texas Tech can’t roll with five defensive backs). Texas Tech is already having a difficult enough time defending the pass, a guy like Andrews who is a heck of an athlete does create significant issues. Sophomore receiver Marquise Brown (5-11/162) and freshman receiver CeeDee Lamb (6-1/173) are your other leading receivers, but as you’ll note, they are both relatively inexperienced and young, but they’ve been productive. The key for the Oklahoma Sooners is that almost all of their top receivers have catch rates around 75%, so they just don’t drop a ton of stuff and Mayfield delivers passes that are quite catchable.

Defensively, Oklahoma hasn’t been as good as they were last year, but it’s not as a result of the play of Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who has been absolutely fantastic at defensive end. The best part of the Oklahoma defense is the defensive line and it’s not even close. They’ll terrorize the offense, but the linebackers and the secondary are not huge playmakers. We’ve already mentioned Okoronkwa, but the line is rounded out by D.J. Ward (6-2/260) at the other defensive end with Marquise Overton (6-1/295) and Neville Gallimore (6-2/310) at the defensive tackle spots.

If you want a match-up that you can take advantage of, from those advanced stats, cornerback Jordan Thomas (again, according to some advanced stats, I haven’t watched OU play just yet), but he starts at cornerback, has just 1 pass break-up and no interceptions. Parnell Motley is the other cornerback and he can be quite good

The linebackers are rounded out by Emmanuel Beal (6-2/218), Kenneth Murray (6-2/242) and Caleb Kelly (6-3/229). The linebackers are good at what they do, they stop the run very well, but they just aren’t making a ton of splash plays.

The Early Line

Via OddsShark, the line started with Oklahoma favored by 18 points, but the line started at 21 and moved down through the afternoon. Texas Tech is 2-1 against the spread on the road, the lone loss for sure is West Virginia (I think).

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