Tech—OU: Red Raiders and Sooners Face Off In The Schools Biggest Games

Andrew GloverCorrespondent INovember 21, 2008

The No.2 Texas Tech Red Raiders are about to play their third straight “biggest game in school history” this Saturday at Oklahoma. The No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners are saying this is their biggest game since defeating Nebraska 35-14 in 2000.

The Red Raiders (10-0) and Sooners (9-1) meet with the Big XII South Title on the line. Tech will be trying to clinch their first Big XII South Title. Oklahoma will try to force a three-way-tie in the Big XII South, trying to reach their seventh Big XII Championship.

In addition, the Red Raiders will try to accomplish more historic firsts for the football program. A win would give Tech their first ever 11-0 start and their first season of beating both Texas and Oklahoma. The Red Raiders defeated their first No.1 ranked school, beating the Texas Longhorns 39-33 three weeks ago.

The Sooners will look to keep their dominance going at home. Under Bob Stoops, Oklahoma is 60-2 playing at home. The team's only losses were 17-10 against TCU in 2005 and 16-13 to Oklahoma State in 2001.

Oklahoma leads the series 11-4, but the Red Raiders have taken two of the last three. Tech won 23-21 in 2005, The Sooners won 34-24 in 2006 and The Red Raiders won last season 34-27.

While both teams have the Big XII South Title on the line, three players have their Heisman Candidacy on the line.

Tech quarterback Graham Harrell leads the nation in passing yards with 4,077, is third in touchdown passes with 36, third in completion percentage at 71.7 and seventh in quarterback rating at 169.18.

Harrell has only thrown five interceptions and has been sacked five times. Harrell is only six touchdown passes away from breaking Colt Brennan’s career record of 131.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is fifth in passing yards with 3,406, leads the nation with 38 touchdown passes, eighth in completion percentage with 67.9 and second in quarterback rating at 188.94.

Bradford has only thrown six interceptions and has been sacked seven times. Last season against Tech, Bradford was knocked out in the first quarter with a concussion.

Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree leads the nation in touchdown receptions with 18, sixth in receptions with 78, eleventh in yards with 1010. Crabtree has 13 straight games where he has caught five passes and one touchdown. Larry Fitzgerald holds the record at 14 straight.

DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown lead Oklahoma’s rushing attack. Murray has 804 yards on 146 carries, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns. Brown has 782 yards on 182 carries, averaging 6.1 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns.

Texas Tech has their own running tandem. Baron Batch has gained 667 yards on 93 carries, averaging 7.2 yards per carry and five touchdowns. Woods has 588 yards on 116 carries, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns.

Batch and Woods can both block and receive. Batch has 32 receptions for 374 yards and one touchdown. Woods has 21 receptions for 267 yards and two touchdowns.

Juaquin Iglesias leads the Sooners in receiving with 51 receptions for 853 yards and six touchdowns. Manuel Johnson has 34 receptions for 587 yards and eight touchdowns. Johnson has been limited the last couple of games because of injury.

Jermaine Gresham has 36 receptions for 553 yards and nine touchdowns. Ryan Broyles has 30 receptions for 502 yards and five touchdowns.

Crabtree may get most of the attention of Tech’s receivers. However, Harrell has several options to throw to. Detron Lewis has 57 receptions for 730 yards and one touchdown. Eric Morris has 56 receptions for 595 yards and six touchdowns.

Edward Britton has 29 receptions for 482 yards and four touchdowns. Tramain Swindall has 36 receptions for 456 yards and one touchdown.

The key for both Oklahoma and Tech is slowing the other offenses run game. The defense that does this will put more pressure on the opponents passing game and could lead to turnovers. In addition both offenses have to keep clicking. Oklahoma averages 51 points per game and Tech averages 48.

Oklahoma’s defense has to limit Tech’s yards per catch. If they do not Harrell could have a field day.

Tech’s run defense most remain strong and keep Murray and Brown contained for four quarters.