Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in Lubbock in our Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State preview and prediction.
Date: September 30th, 2017 | 7:00 p.m. CT | Jones AT&T Stadium
TV: FOX| Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt and Jenny Taft
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network | Dave Hunziker (Play-by-Play), John Holcomb (Analyst) & Robert Allen (Sideline)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network | Brian Jensen (Play-by-Play) John Harris (Analyst) Chris Level (Sideline)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 81 XM 81
Fun fact: Texas Tech leads the all-time series a 21-20-3 and a 12-6-2 advantage in Lubbock. But lately the match up has been all Cowboys. Mike Gundy is 10-2 in his career against Texas Tech, and Kliff Kingsbury is 0-4 against OSU.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Zachary Crabtree, right tackle
Crabtree was a late scratch from last week’s game against TCU and the Horned Frogs exploited the right side of Oklahoma State’s offensive line giving Mason Rudolph plenty of trouble. Crabtree is listed as the starter for Saturday night, but how healthy is he?
Ramon Richards & Trey Flowers, safeties
I lumped Richards and Flowers together since they are both safeties and both seniors and will need to keep this secondary focused as it goes up against the high-octane offense of Kliff Kingsbury and the Red Raiders. OSU is playing a sophomore and freshman in A.J. Green and Rodarious Williams at the cornerback spots, so the senior safeties need to do their part and help when needed.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Nic Shimonek, quarterback
Shimonek has had a great start to the season completing 73% of his passes with 11 touchdowns to one interception. He needs to continue to protect the ball, while also keeping pace with Mason Rudolph. A big reason for Tech’s 3-0 start is +7 in turnover margin. Shimonek needs to keep that going.
Dakota Allen, linebacker
Allen has become the leader of this defense, leading the team in tackles, while also notching one sack and one interception the season. Allen will look to lead the front seven in trying to get pressure on Mason Rudolph, similar to how TCU did last week.
Can Tech continue its success in turnover margin?
As mentioned above, Tech is +7 in turnover margin, which is tied for fourth in the nation. And if they’re going to beat one of the best teams in the country, they’ll have to win that battle again. Oklahoma State proved last week it can be turnover prone with four giveaways in the loss to the Horned Frogs. Whether it’s through strip sacks from the front seven, or a key interception from Octavious Morgan, Desmon Smith or Jah’Shawn Johnson, it’s imperative for the Red Raiders to get that key turnover, along with not turning the ball over themselves.
Oklahoma State has been good itself in this department, ranking second nationally with three defensive touchdowns. So if the Red Raiders are going to pull off an upset, they have to win the turnover battle, which won’t be easy.
Oklahoma State’s offensive prowess
Even in last week’s loss to TCU, Mason Rudolph threw for nearly 400 yards against a very good defense. Tech’s defense looks to be improved, but is it really? They have yet to see an offense as explosive as what Mike Gundy brings to town with Rudolph, Justice Hill, and an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver. OSU has had seven 100-yard single game receiving performances, with four different players contributing at least one: James Washington (three), Marcell Ateman (two), Jalen McCleskey (one) and Dillon Stoner (one). The Pokes defense is OK, but it definitely is vulnerable. So it’s up to the offense to play far less sloppily than it did last week against TCU.
Oklahoma State has not allowed a first quarter point in five of its last six games, and has only allowed six total points in the first quarter this season. The Pokes have buried most of their opponents early and often, but if Tech can get on the board in the first quarter and get a little confidence and momentum, we may have an upset on our hands. Last week TCU jumped out to a lead and was able to hold on for dear life, with the help of some poor play calling by the Pokes. Tech will try and do the same.
Oklahoma State 45, Texas Tech 35
The Pokes are angry and Mason Rudolph, who is known to be a film room nerd, is probably doubling down on his game tape this week. The Cowboys are refocused and realize a loss this weekend completely ends their chances at reaching their goals this season of a Big 12 championship and a potential bid at the College Football Playoff. And while Texas Tech has been better this season, this defense hasn’t seen an offense anything close to what they’ll get on Saturday night. It’ll be a highly-entertaining game, but in the end, the Pokes pull away.