TTU-OU: Mike Leach Takes His Aerial Show on the Road, Looks to Shock Sooners

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TTU-OU: Mike Leach Takes His Aerial Show on the Road, Looks to Shock Sooners

Introduction

The showdown between No. 2 Texas Tech and No. 5 Oklahoma will be a battle of wills. Both teams are extremely talented and each still has the opportunity to play its way into the BCS National Championship. The stakes could not be higher for either team.

OU brings tradition and big game experience into the game. Texas Tech has in its corner the confidence of a giant slayer. After all, Texas Tech remains the only team to knock off Texas this season.

Texas Tech’s story doesn’t end there, however. The Red Raiders followed up the emotional win over UT with a 56-20 shellacking of Mike Gundy’s Oklahoma State squad.

This week, though, Texas Tech faces a juggernaut and the Raiders don’t have the support of their home fans.

 

OU Passing

Sam Bradford leads the Sooners' offense. On the season he has completed 224-330 passes (67.9 percent) for 3,406 yards with 38 TDs and six INTs.

Bradford has been razor sharp this season and he’s not afraid to throw the deep ball on any defense. His main target, Manuel Johnson, missed several games but that didn’t slow down OU’s passing attack.

 

OU Rushing

Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter is the Big 12’s top RB but next on this list are two OU standouts.

DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown form an intimidating two-headed monster. Murray has 146 carries for 804 yards (5.5 YPC) with 11 TDs. Brown isn’t far behind with 128 carries for 782 yards (6.1 YPC) with 12 TDs.

Mossis Madu (three) and QB Bradford (four) have OU’s other rushing TDs this year.

 

OU Receiving

Until this week it was hard to imagine facing an opponent with a receiving corps as talented as Texas Tech’s. OU’s bunch passes the test. The Sooners are extremely deep with talented WRs all over the field.

The only thing holding back OU’s group of receivers is the Sooner run game. Juaquin Iglesias paces the group with 51 catches for 853 yards (16.7 YPC) with six TDs. Jermaine Gresham, perhaps the nation’s best TE, is next with 36 catches for 553 yards (15.4 YPC) and nine scores.

Manuel Johnson has 34 receptions for 587 yards (17.3 YPC) and eight TDs. Freshman Ryan Broyles, who visited Texas Tech, has 30 grabs for 502 yards (16.7 YPC) and five scores. RB Murray, RB Quentin Chaney, FB Matt Clapp, RB Brown, and TE Kolby Smith combine for 11 TDs between them.

 

Texas Tech Passing

Graham Harrell leads the Red Raiders' offense. He has completed 332-463 passes (71.7 percent) for 4,077 yards with 36 TDs and five INTs. Harrell has been the toast of the town these last few weeks after forcing media pundits everywhere to eat crow.

Harrell’s leadership and big-play moxie have carried Texas Tech through a multitude of potential roadblocks that were allegedly supposed to sink Mike Leach’s pirate ship. So far, the ship is undamaged and with Harrell at the wheel, it’s easy to see why.

 

Texas Tech Rushing

Shannon Woods and Baron Batch are like flint and steel—each is useful but together they become explosive. Woods leads Texas Tech with 116 carries for 588 yards (5.1 YPC) with 11 TDs. Batch is next with 93 carries for 667 yards (7.2 YPC) with five scores. WR Eric Morris has two scores on the ground, RB Aaron Crawford has one, and QB Harrell has six.

 

Texas Tech Receiving

Michael Crabtree proved he was the nation’s best WR in the matchup with OSU’s Dez Bryant two weeks ago in Lubbock. Crabtree also boasts what many would consider to be the catch-of-the-year with his electrifying sideline scamper to knock UT from the nation’s No. 1 ranking.

On the year, Crabtree has 78 catches for 1,010 yards (12.9 YPC) and 18 TDs. Detron Lewis is next with 57 grabs for 730 yards (12.8 YPC) with one score. Eric Morris has 56 catches for 595 yards (10.6 YPC) with six TDs. Oklahoma native Tramain Swindall has 36 catches for 456 yards (12.7 YPC) with one score.

Speedy junior Ed Britton has come up big the last few weeks after barely showing up through the first half of the year. He now has 29 catches for 482 yards (16.6 YPC) with four scores. Britton's speed lined up on the opposite side of Crabtree forces defenses to account for him. He’s a true matchup problem and Texas Tech fans everywhere should expect his success to continue.

RB Woods, Lyle Leong, Adam James, and Ryan Hale combine for seven TDs.

 

Intangibles

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has an impeccable resume, especially in home games. He is 59-2 in games played in Norman. The OU head man also has extensive knowledge of Mike Leach. However, coach Leach brings a different Red Raider team to town. Leach’s ability to game plan well against his former boss will be of utmost importance if the Red Raiders are to keep their national title hopes alive.

If Texas Tech’s solid offensive line can give Harrell time, the Red Raiders should be able to stay in the game and challenge the Sooners. OU lost their team leader in linebacker Ryan Reynolds, but it’s the athletic cornerbacks that have befuddled Texas Tech in the past. Look for Harrell and the Red Raiders to play well despite what is undoubtedly the Red Raiders' stiffest road test.

 

Prediction

Texas Tech: 44

OU: 38

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