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Preview: Texas Tech v. Oklahoma State

v.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys (1-2, 0-0) v. The Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-0, 0-0)
September 22, 2007 @ 2:30 p.m.
Television: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio:
Texas Tech Affiliates
Gamecast:
CSTV
ESPN ($)
Fox Sports
Weather:
Stillwater, Oklahoma

The Numbers:

Statistic Texas Tech Oklahoma State
Rushing Offense 89.33 181.33
Passing Offense 479.33 214.00
Total Offense 568.67 395.33
Scoring Offense 51.00 26.33
Rushing Defense 143.00 114.67
Passing Efficiency Defense 106.17 138.22
Total Defense 337.33 380.33
Scoring Defense 21.33 27.33

The Players:

Statistical Leaders Texas Tech Oklahoma State
Passing Graham Harrell:
120 Comp., 160 Att., 1,317 Yds., 14 TD, 2 Int.
Zac Robinson:
33 Comp., 58 Att., 446 Yds., 4 TD, 3 Int.
Rushing Shannon Woods:
26 Att., 166 Yds., 4 TD
Kendall Hunter:
24 Att., 184 Yds., 1 TD
Receiving Michael Crabtree:
38 Rec., 538 Yds., 8 TD
Adarius Bowman:
17 Rec., 257 Yds., 3 TD
Tackles Paul Williams: 24 Brian Raines: 21
Sacks Ten players tied with 1.0:
Clint Stoffels, Paul Williams, Daniel Howard,
Brandon Williams, Brian Jones, Colby Whitlock,
Chad Hill, Jake Ratliff and Kellen Tillman
Derek Burton: 1.5
Interceptions Three players tied with 1:
Jamar Wall, Anthony Hines and Daniel Charbonnet
Three players tied with 1:
Perrish Cox, Donovan Woods, and Andre Sexton

WHEN TEXAS TECH HAS THE BALL:

  • Texas Tech Passing Offense v. Oklahoma State Passing Defense: Field day, right? OSU gave up 234 yards against Georgia, 175 yards against Florida Atlantic and 388 yards against Troy. The 388 sort of throws the whole equation out of whack, but the Cowboys are still giving up 265.7 yards a game. Seems like a sure thing, right?

    The easy answer is yes, the Red Raiders should dominate yet another opponent in the passing game, but not without reason. The offensive line has been solid and just short of spectacular. I thought that Coach Moore getting right tackle Marlon Winn some time on Saturday was smart, and having a healthy starting five, including Shawn Byrnes is huge. One other thing to mention about the offensive line is that I don't recall hardly mentioning or thinking about Rylan Reed or Louis Vasquez for three games. They've been so good I haven't had to think about them in two games. That's some good work.

    Harrell has been outstanding and I think that he's over being bothered by stadiums or opponents. The days of bad games (Missouri and Colorado) are behind him. He seems like a different person. There's no reason why Harrell shouldn't have a banner day.

    There are few superlatives left to describe Crabtree and we've said numerous times that he's without compare. I'd still like to see consistent 2nd, 3rd and 4th receiver options emerge, but Harrell is taking what the defense gives him and that's exactly what he should do.

    The secondary is led by redshirt freshman safety Andre Sexton, but none of the defensive backs are necessarily standouts. Martel Van Zant, Ricky Price and Jacob Lacey round out this secondary group.

    On the defensive front, the Cowboys are only averaging 1.33 sacks a game, which is rather pathetic. Nathan Peterson and Marque Fountain have been strong off the edge so it will be interesting how Reed and Johnson handle their first real test of the season.

    Advantage: Texas Tech


  • Texas Tech Rushing Offense v. Oklahoma State Rushing Defense: This could be interesting. The linebacker corp of OSU is actually fairly impressive led by Chris Collins and Donovan Woods. Collins leads the team with 26 tackles and physically they're an impressive bunch. Defensive tackle Tonga Tea was supposed to help anchor a defensive line, but he's only managed 5 tackles for the year. Not to mention, Derek Burton and reserve defensive tackle Jeray Chatham had 4 tackles for a loss and as a team they are averaging 6.67 tackles for a loss each game. There's no doubt that these guys get after the opposing offense. Not only that, the OSU defense is only giving up 114 yards a game, but running the ball isn't a huge part of the Texas Tech offense. Sort of a no harm, no foul concept.

    What we can say about the Texas Tech rushing offense is that the Red Raiders have been fairly effective. Sure, this team is only averaging 89.3 yards a game, but 4.07 yards a carry isn't bad and is in fact good for 61st in the country, which is almost right down the middle. There is also something to be said that Texas Tech has already rushed for 7 touchdowns, which is a pretty good pace even for teams that rush more than pass. I know, the competition you say was subpar, but it's non-conference for almost every team.

    I thought last week, Woods ran with more passion than he had in the SMU game. He looked strong and he was able to get around the corner against Rice. As far as the offensive line, it seems like that because these guys are so big, the least they have to do is seal their defender, one way or another, which is creating running lanes for Woods and Lewis to gain nice chunks of yards.

    Texas Tech still gets what they need.

    Advantage: Texas Tech

WHEN OKLAHOMA STATE HAS THE BALL:

  • Oklahoma State Passing Offense v. Texas Tech Passing Defense: With the change at the quarterback position, there's certainly a shift in which team to favor. I gushed about the Texas Tech defensive backs early in the year and I still think these guys have a tremendous amount of talent, the problem that we have to suffer through is watching these kids play a scheme that they aren't necessarily suited. The entire group is forced to sit back and react to the offense, playing 8 to 10 yards from the line of scrimmage and trying their best not to get beat.

    As do most teams, this team starts with the quarterback and now that Zac Robinson has taken the helm there may be an increase in efficiency for a lack of the overall talent that Bobby Reid provided. Here's the scary part. Robinson is only completing 56.9% of his passes and Reid was only completing 51.4% of his passes. That's the key right there. When you can barely complete over 50% of your passes that's your problem. The other issue here is that neither of these guys were really making plays. Robinson had 4 touchdowns, but he's also had 3 interceptions. You want your quarterback to make plays with his arm, but right now, that's just not happening.

    Adarius Bowman, despite not having stellar numbers as of yet, is still an immensely talented receiver, catching 17 passes for 257 yards. I know, Crabtree does this in one game, but for your normal and human receiver that's great. Brandon Pettigrew has also caught 10 passes for 134 yards and he's by far their second biggest threat.

    The OSU line is only giving up 2.0 sacks a game so they're doing a decent job of protecting their quarterback. Of course, both OSU quarterbacks are fairly mobile so this isn't as big an issue as it is for other teams.

    The Texas Tech defensive line is improving each game and after considering it more, defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich is trying to combine both youth and experience on the defensive line. I expect the combination of Whitlock and Henley to get to the passer better than you might expect, in addition, with Brandon Williams and Jake Ratliff on the ends, I think this starting group is pretty solid. Let's not forget the stellar play of Sandy Riley and Daniel Howard last week at the end positions. I couldn't have been more impressed with both.

    There are still some questions I have about defensive backfield, but I'm hoping that because OSU doesn't run a spread offense, the coaches won't give such a big cushion off the line. My hope is that the coaches let Wall, Parker, and Bunton to make plays on the outside while getting help from McBath and Garcia from their safety positions. Linebackers won't be asked to cover slot and inside receivers, we should seee a more normal defensive alignment. As bad as I thought the pass defense played, these guys are only giving up 194.33 yards a game, which is 41st in the nation. That's not all that bad. Of course, we'll see on Saturday how talented these guys going up against top-notch receivers, but I've got faith.

    Advantage: Push


  • Oklahoma State Rushing Offense v. Texas Tech Rushing Defense: For the season, OSU is averaging 181.33 yards a game rushing, that's a damn fine average and is good for 42nd in the nation. Dantrell Savage averaged 6.5 yards a carry last year on his way to 820 yards rushing, but Savage has been injured and isn't expected to play. Behind Savage is Keith Toston, who started the last two games, but had 3 fumbles in both those games. True freshman Kendall Hunter was outstanding last week against Troy, rushing for 125 yards, but it was stinking Troy. Seeing how Gundy really needs this game and right now, he's got nothing to lose, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Hunter starting on Saturday.

    If the Texas Tech linebackers are going to show up for any game, it might as well be this one. I noted last week that the linebackers, for the most part, played out of position covering receivers. This week, they get their chance to stuff the run. It will be interesting to see if Tillman and Marlon Williams will be able to stuff the run and get those important stops during the course of a game. Last week, the second unit also saw quite a bit of time and I would expect for Lyle to utilize the same type of substitution patters and would include Hill, Hunter and Duncan also seeing the field.

    As we discussed above, the defensive tackles are improving with each game and I personally like a lot of the kids playing. Starting tackles Colby Whitlock and Rajon Henley are solid and Whitlock is developing into a nice pass rusher who has skills, even as a freshman, of getting past the opposing offensive lineman. I also like Brian Jones, Richard Jones and Clint Stoffels seeing a significant amount of time during the game. With each game, I think these kids get better.

    Despite my confidence, I still like OSU's ability to run the ball better than Texas Tech's ability to stop it. Show me and I'll be convinced, but until then I'll be a skeptic.

    Advantage: Oklahoma State

PREDICTION: Surprise, I still like Texas Tech. I'm not sure OSU has the horses to stop Harrell & Co. and because most offenses aren't machines like Texas Tech's offense they're prone to a 3 and out. The Texas Tech defense, again gives but does not break. Final score: Texas Tech 37, Oklahoma State 20.