College Football Week 7: Oklahoma State v. Texas Tech Key Match-Ups
The difference between an average college football season and a historic one usually comes down to the way a team handles their big road games. Facing Texas Tech in front of a hostile crowd in Lubbock will be one of those make or break games for this Oklahoma State football team. Here is how they stack up:
OSU running game vs. Texas Tech front seven
After an injury-shortened 2009 season, the production of running back Kendall Hunter was one of the wild cards heading into this season. Hunter has answered any lingering questions through five games, averaging 140 yards per game with nine touchdowns. He will face an experienced Texas Tech front seven this weekend that has been inconsistent against the run. The Red Raiders have had some decent performances stopping the run, but gave up 251 yards to a mediocre Iowa State rushing attack. The talent and consistency of Kendall Hunter should be the difference. Edge: OSU
OSU passing game vs. Texas Tech secondary
It is hard to argue against Justin Blackmon being the top wide receiver in all of college football. He has put up gaudy numbers, leading the nation in receptions per game, touchdown receptions and receiving yards per game. He brings the second ranked passing offense into Lubbock to face one of the worst passing defenses in the nation. However, what looked like a clear advantage for the Cowboy offense may have gotten a bit trickier with some injury news this week. Hubert Anyiam (sprained ankle) and Michael Harrison (fractured finger) will most likely miss the game and Josh Cooper is questionable with a concussion. Blackmon can expect heavy coverage and multiple looks, as the Red Raiders will make the other receivers beat them. Big Edge: OSU
Texas Tech running game vs. OSU front seven
In recent years, there has not been much of a running game to speak of from Texas Tech. Now that new coach Tommy Tuberville is at the helm, the ground game has become an integral part of the Red Raider offense. Cowboys defensive coordinator Bill Young believes stopping the run early on is the key to limiting their offense as a whole. That means containing Texas Tech running back Baron Batch, who has improved in every game this season. If Orie Lemon and the rest of the Cowboy front seven can force long third downs it will go a long way to winning this game. Edge: OSU
Texas Tech passing game vs. OSU secondary
Texas Tech has the fourth ranked passing offense in college football. Oklahoma State has the third worst pass defense. That is a huge mismatch. Red Raider quarterback Taylor Potts could not be any hotter, throwing for 462 yards and four touchdowns in the win against Baylor a week ago. The Red Raiders also have an emerging star in wide receiver Lyle Leong, who ranks just behind Blackmon in many of the big receiving categories. It will be very tough for the depleted Cowboy secondary to stop the Red Raiders with consistency, but they must force some big turnovers. Big Edge: Texas Tech
While there is no doubt both of these offenses will put up points, this game will be decided by which defense can come up with the bigger plays. Throughout this season, the Cowboys have had a knack for coming up with big turnovers in important spots. Another major factor is the home field dominance displayed by Texas Tech in recent memory. There has been far too much chatter this week through the media about the struggles of the Cowboys historically in Lubbock. Sure they have not won there in 11 tries, but only two of those have been during the Gundy era and they were not favored in either. This year they have a better team and should win. Oklahoma State 48-38
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