Preview: Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State

Let’s preview the game with the oblong ball.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-5, 2-5)
Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-2, 4-2)
November 28th @ 11:00 a.m.
Boone Pickens Stadium – Stillwater, Oklahoma
Oklahoma State -11
Mostly Cloudy 54-36.

5 Players to Scheme Around

1. QB Spencer Sander (6-1/205, So.): As goes Sanders, so does the Cowboys? I don’t know if that’s the case, but I think that’s accurate and I think he can be incredibly up-and-down in terms of performance. I think he’s wildly talented, with emphasis on the “wildly” aspect. Sanders is completing 65% of his passes with 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 7.7 yards per attempt, and about 173 yards a game. Sanders also runs a bit, but he gets sacked quite a bit and that adds to his issues of averaging 1.72 yards a carry on nearly 11 carries a game.

2. RB Chuba Hubbard (6-0/208, Jr.): Hubbard isn’t having quite the year that maybe he thought he would when he decided to return to school Hubbard is averaging 89 yards a game, 4.7 yards a carry, and has 5 touchdowns thus far. That’s very good, but maybe not Heisman-worth, which is what he thought he might be headed towards this year.

3. WR Tylan Wallace (6-0/190, Sr.): We’re just going to get all of the offensive players out of the way. Wallace is also supremely talented, but maybe isn’t having the year he thought he might when he decided to return. It’s been very good, but I think that a lot of Oklahoma State’s issues are affected by inconsistent quarterback play and iffy offensive line play. Wallace has 39 catches for 656 yards, averaging 17 yards a catch and 94 yards a game with 4 touchdowns. That’s really good, maybe not stellar and he’s capable of stellar.

4. LB Amen Ogbongbemiga (6-1/235, Sr.): Ogbongbemiga leads the team with 51 tackles, and 7.3 tackles a game for the Cowboys, to go along with 4 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, and a quarterback hurry.

5. DE Tyler Lacy (6-4/285, So.):I have no idea how programs like Oklahoma State and TCU continually produce guys like this, but I am ready for Texas Tech to do the same thing. Lacy leads the team in tackles for loss and sacks, 6.5 TFL and 4.0 sacks, to go along with 22 tackles, 4 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumbles.

Thoughts Based on Some YouTube Video

I thought it would be more helpful to watch video of a game where Oklahoma State won rather than the beat-down from last week, so I’m presenting Oklahoma State and Kansas State . . . Sanders arm is huge (sometimes), but maybe doesn’t make great decisions (which we sort of know) . . . the Oklahoma State defense is good, and that runs I think says more about Kansas State than Oklahoma State . . . the play action for Kansas State is some beautiful stuff . . . Sanders just holding onto the ball is an issue, he’s got to make quicker decisions and the Oklahoma State offense design doesn’t help . . . I’m a few minutes into the video and can’t think how Oklahoma State is going to win . . . Oklahoma State should run Kansas State’s offense . . . the running back L.D. Brown is explosive and strong and that’s a concern . . . the fumble right into the arms of the Oklahoma State defender was fortuitous to say the least and an absolute gift . . .


Back with TeamRankings for the stats.

  • I’m shocked to learn that Texas Tech is averaging a high points per play than Oklahoma State, .391 for Texas Tech and .332 for Oklahoma State. This Oklahoma State offense should not be struggling like it is, 5.2 yards per play for Texas Tech and 5 yards a play for the Cowboys.
  • Defensively, Oklahoma State is better, allowing just 4.7 yards a play compared to 5.6 for Texas Tech and only .295 points per play compared to .493 for the Red Raiders. So yeah, that’s not just a little bit better, but significantly better. Both teams average about 0.9 turnovers a game.
  • To stay on the defensive side of the ball, Oklahoma State is averaging nearly a yard less allowed in the run game, 3.8 to 4.7 for Texas Tech.
  • Another significant advantage is that OSU is sacking opponents 10.53% of the time compared to 3.57% for Texas Tech, and as a result. That’s pretty significant and this has resulted in teams only completing 56.86% of passes compared to 65.02% for Texas Tech.
  • Another huge advantage is that Oklahoma State is only allowing teams to convert third downs at a 24.75% rate, compared to 40.38% for Texas Tech.
  • Offensively, these teams are pretty similar, with Oklahoma State having a slight advantage in per play metrics. I already mentioned that the Texas Tech offense is slightly more efficient, but Oklahoma State’s running game is what’s brought them down, 3.8 yards a rush for OSU and 4.2 for TTU. Texas Tech averages 6.3 yards a passing attempt compared to 7.3 for Oklahoma State. The kicker here is that Oklahoma State is running the ball 58.79% of the time, but as mentioned, aren’t as efficient running the ball.
  • Additionally, Oklahoma State is getting sacked nearly 10% of all pass attempts, which is just silly, 9.33% compared to 4.68% for Texas Tech. Both teams throw picks about 3% of the time.
  • Both teams convert third downs at 37% and are the same on fourth down conversions, 50%. The key conversion rate is that Oklahoma State scores on 89.66% of red zone opportunities, compared to 75% for Texas Tech.

General Thoughts and Prediction On the Game

We’re down to the final two games, this game is a long-shot at best. Double-digit underdog and I’ll embed this in a bit, but Bill Connelly’s numbers think that Oklahoma State wins by 17, smashing the projected spread of -11. Oklahoma State’s defense is significantly better, which is really the sort of thing we were dealing with when playing Baylor, but the Baylor offense was significantly worse than Texas Tech, whereas in this game, the TTU and OSU offenses are pretty well on even ground.

Oklahoma State is at a crossroads I think, they’re in that situation where Texas Tech as in back in 2009 with Leach as the head coach, being “satisfied” with 8 or 9 wins and not really being competitive with your rival for the most part (i.e. Oklahoma) and fans aren’t happy that they are paying Gundy $4 million to do. Meanwhile, Texas Tech fans would surely give a perfectly cooked turkey leg to have 8 or 9 wins and it wasn’t that long where Texas Tech was in that position. How things change.

I think these last two games are going to be really interesting and I’ll be interested to see how Texas Tech competes in this game. Coming off of a bye week, Texas Tech should be well rested. And Gundy pretty much lit into his coaching staff for not having a good plan for Oklahoma:

“You guys. You’re all I got. It’s lonely man. Kids at the house they won’t talk to me. The ol’ lady won’t talk to me. Family won’t talk to me. I probably don’t even get to go to Thanksgiving. I’ll tell you this right now, ya’ll think I’m joking, but it’s lonely at the top man. I’ve done this a long time. I’m in Year 16 and I don’t know why anybody would keep me this many years, but I’ve said this a lot and I’ll say it again, my job is to look at the effort and the game plans that we have and put together how I feel about our football team. If effort becomes a problem and attitude ever becomes a problem, we have an issue that has to be fixed. That’s not happened on this football team. If game plans aren’t very good then I have to fix that with the coaches. I didn’t like our concepts on Saturday night. We could have done a better job of coaching. When I looked at it again, I graded every play Sunday morning in all three phases. Special teams we were just fine, but I didn’t think we did a very good job of coaching, more so now than what I thought after the game on Saturday night. I thought the players played hard and competed, I thought we could have done a better job of coaching.

So yeah, this wasn’t a player issue for Gundy and I think that Gundy is having regrets about his hire at offensive coordinator, promoting from within rather than going to go find a guy that knows how to call games.

My biggest concern for Texas Tech heading into this game is Oklahoma State’s pass rush, which, as noted above, is quite significant, and that’s something that Bowman and Colombi can really struggle with during the course of the game. We’ll say this each and every game, but if the offensive line can keep the quarterback clean, then I like Texas Tech’s chances significantly better. A lot of that is on the quarterbacks too, but they need time, both of them, and this has been a significant issue for the team this year.

Because I’m not doing a Morning Stake, here are some links:

* Athlon Sports’ Mike Bainbridge: Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State Football Prediction and Preview

* Pokes Report’s Robert Allen: Cowboys Will Be Down a Quarterback in Illingworth for Texas Tech Game

Oklahoma State has had a number of their players already have COVID-19 but our sources at Pokes Report had informed us those numbers did not include two of the Cowboys quarterbacks in starter Spencer Sanders and back-up Shane Illingworth. Now, Illingworth has reported that he has tested positive and will miss the upcoming game with Texas Tech. The news was first reported by Scott Wright of The Oklahoman and then Pokes Report confirmed it through Illingworth himself. The freshman quarterback reported that he is feeling fine and has no symptoms thus far.

* The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Tramel college football predictions: Can OSU end two-game losing streak in Texas Tech series?

* Avalanche Journal’s Don Williams: Playing spoiler: Tech aims to upset OSU one more time

The Red Raiders appear more well rested, have the series’ recent history on their side and might even be able to work an emotional angle. Popular Tech staff member Tommy McVay died unexpectedly in August and, since McVay grew up in Oklahoma, Tech-OSU meant more to him, so much so that the team awarded him a game ball after the Red Raiders upset the Cowboys two years ago in Stillwater.

Tech quarterback Alan Bowman brought up McVay’s name this week and spoke of him in the present tense.

“He’s from Oklahoma. This is the team he dislikes the most,” Bowman said. “He wants to beat these guys real bad. So do this one for him.

“We’ve done it the past two years, so it’s like he’s been able to go out … soundly. Definitely I think being able to get this one after he passed away, after all the T-shirts we got and the helmet decals we have for him, I think it would be a big-time win.”

As far as a prediction from me, I don’t think that Oklahoma State has a significant advantage and I don’t know why I do this to myself, but I’ll take the Cowboys to win, and Texas Tech to cover.


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