Texas Tech and Oklahoma State enter Saturday’s game hoping to remain in the Big 12 title hunt. Oklahoma State features several similarities to Texas Tech. The Cowboys have a dynamic QB in Zac Robinson, a dynamic receiver in Dez Bryant, and an under-rated defense.
The comparisons don’t end there. The ‘Pokes use the “guns up” hand sign, and have a horse that runs the length of the field. I wonder where they got the idea for these iconic symbols? Like their rivals at OU, it appears that Oklahoma State also appreciates thievery.
Oklahoma State Passing:
Zac Robinson leads the OSU passing game. With great targets in Dez Bryant and multi-talented TE Brandon Pettigrew, Robinson can get the Cowboys into the end zone faster than Boone Pickens can earn (or lose) $1 Billion. Robinson is 129-187 (69%) for 2,082 yards with 20 TDs and five INTs. In the running game, Robinson is just as dangerous as Colt McCoy. In last year’s contest he rushed 13 times for 116 yards and two scores.
Oklahoma State Rushing:
Dantrell Savage is gone. However, Kendall Hunter may be the best RB in the Big 12 and his backup, Keith Toston, is no slouch. Hunter has rushed 182 times for 1,220 yards (6.7 YPC) and 11 scores. Toston adds 76 carries for 565 yards (7.4 YPC) and eight more TDs.
QB Robinson hasn’t quite put up the rushing numbers he had last year but he’s still very dangerous. Robinson has 92 rushes for 341 yards (3.7 YPC) and five TDs. Something to keep an eye on is OSU’s punter, Matt Fodge. He has rushed twice for 28 yards.
Oklahoma State Receiving:
The Cowboys feature a near clone of Michael Crabtree in sophomore Dez Bryant. On the season Bryant has 60 catches for 1,054 yards (17.6 YPC) and 15 TD’s. The Lufkin native flirted with Texas Tech during the recruiting process but never wound up visiting Lubbock.
TE Brandon Pettigrew is OSU’s next best receiver. He’s a freakish athlete who turned a short dump off pass into a 54-yard touchdown in last year’s contest in Stillwater. This year, the senior has 21 catches for 236 yards (11.2 YPC) but no scores. Typically OSU likes to use their TE in the red zone against Texas Tech, so don’t be surprised if Pettigrew is the target near the goal line.
Bo Bowling and Damian Davis have combined for 18 grabs , 394 yards and four TDs. Former Texas Tech commitment Jeremy Broadway has two catches for 118 yards and one score. His TD was a 95 yarder against Iowa State last week.
Texas Tech Passing:
Graham Harrell leads the offensive attack for the Red Raiders. He has completed 292-413 passes (70.7%) for 3,621 yards with 30 TDs and five INTs. The senior from Ennis has got to be licking his chops. In last year’s game, Harrell passed for 646 yards with five TDs and no INT’s. The Cowboys won the game so Harrell’s stats are little more than an after-thought but you’ve got to like his chances of another solid performance Saturday night.
Texas Tech Rushing:
With a healthy tandem of Shannon Woods and Baron Batch, Texas Tech’s ground game has kept opposing defenses off balance and kept opposing offenses off the field. Look for that trend to continue this week if the Red Raiders are going to win. Shannon Woods leads the elusive duo with 107 carries for 552 yards (5.2 YPC) with 10 scores. Batch isn’t far behind with 82 carries for 588 yards (7.2 YPC) and five scores.
Texas Tech will also need them to continue their excellent blitz pickup. Eric Morris has six rushes for 34 yards (5.7 YPC) and two scores and injured RB Aaron Crawford has eight carries for 26 yards and one score. QB Harrell has six rushing TDs as well.
Texas Tech Receiving:
Michael Crabtree leads Texas Tech with 70 catches for 921 yards (13.2 YPC) and 15 TDs. Detron Lewis is next with 50 grabs for 637 yards (12.7 YPC) and one score. Eric Morris has 46 catches for 498 yards (10.8 YPC) and five scores and Tramain Swindall has 33 catches for 422 yards (12.8 YPC) and one TD.
Swindall is primed for a big game this week. He found holes in UT’s defense and will likely do the same against OSU. He also caught nearly everything thrown his way and did not fumble a ball last week.
Edward Britton is starting to become the dangerous weapon I thought he’d be. After catching a TD pass on the second play of the game against Kansas, the junior from El Paso followed that up with a very solid seven catches for 139 yards (19.9 YPC) against Texas.
Britton is unquestionably the team’s speed burner and a legitimate deep threat, but he’s also elusive enough to cause matchup problems against linebackers or safeties in the middle of the field.
RB Batch has shown to be very effective in the screen game and has 27 catches for 324 yards (12.0 per catch) and one TD. Adam James, Lyle Leong and Ryan Hale have combined for 24 catches, 226 yards and five TDs.
To the national media and people outside of West Texas, the Red Raiders are due for a letdown game. I believe Texas Tech has already sailed through those stormy waters after closer-than anticipated wins against Nevada and Nebraska.
To keep his team focused, Mike Leach preaches one game at a time and play the next play more often than parents hound a youngster about tying their shoes. Look for the Red Raiders to be sharp in this contest. Most of the players on this Texas Tech team were part of that agonizing loss against the Cowboys last year and won’t soon forget that awful feeling.
However, the Cowboys have the talent to make this game a blood boiling, nail-biting shootout. Mike Gundy is relatively inexperienced in big games and aside from a disingenuous speech defending a player after last year’s meeting, hasn’t proven that he can handle the media attention that accompanies a top-flight Big 12 program.
In terms of what it means for each team and its conference implications, this game is a must-win for both teams. Look for the Red Raiders superior defensive play and dominant offensive line to help push Texas Tech ahead in this one.