Texas Tech could never get a leg up on Oklahoma State last year. The Cowboys managed to stay 7+ points up throughout the contest. The Red Raiders never let it get out of hand but just couldn't quite get the stops they needed to tie it up or take the lead. Oklahoma State was only up 35-28 going into the fourth quarter but Tech just couldn't figure it out. Many will recall this was the game Davis Webb suffered a shoulder injury and an inexperienced Patrick Mahomes had to enter the game in a tough situation.
Result: Texas Tech 35 at Oklahoma State 45
Oklahoma St 2014 Record: 7-6
Where: Lubbock, TX
Oklahoma State Key Returners: #38 DE Emmanuel Ogbah (49 tackles, 11 sacks), 4 of their top 5 WRs, 4 of their top 5 leaders in tackles
Key Matchup: Will Texas Tech be able to get crucial stops against Oklahoma State?
Oklahoma State has owned Texas Tech over the past 5 years, averaging 26.8 more points than the Red Raiders including a 66-6 thrashing in 2011. Last year was the closest we have played the Cowboys over that 5-year span. This year the task won't be any easier. Oklahoma State loses Daxx Garman via transfer who put a beating on us last year throwing for 370 yards and 4 TDs, but returns 4 of its top 5 leading pass-catchers. Brandon Sheperd is the leader in the receiving core, last year he caught 39 passes for 737 yards and 5 TDs. The Oklahoma State receivers killed us on several deep balls. They would simply go up and come down with the jump ball, so hopefully this year our secondary will be better adapted to defend the deep threat. It looks as though Mason Rudolph is in line to be the man under center for the Cowboys. Rudolph took over for a struggling Garman and had a solid showing in their bowl game win over Washington. Rudolph was a true freshmen last year and had his redshirt until the 11th game of the season last year. He will have an experienced receiving core to throw to this coming year so I'm sure he won't be asked to be a hero. By the time we play Oklahoma State we will know how good Rudolph really is.
Davis Webb was having a stellar game last year until he went down with a shoulder injury in the 4th quarter. Webb threw for 374 yards accompanied with 4 TDs and had to hold back tears on the sideline when he was told he wouldn't be returning to the game. Instead, Tech sent out Patrick Mahomes. This was a huge stage for Mahomes to make his entrance on. You could tell he was a bit shaky but then again, who wouldn't be. This year's matchup could be very similar to last year's. Oklahoma State returns All-Big 12 defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah along with 4 of their top 5 tacklers. Ogbah had 11 sacks last year and will be looking to improve on his outstanding season. The star DE isn't the only standout returning, the Cowboys will return their entire secondary and two-thirds of their linebacking core. Hopefully our offense will be running on all cylinders when Oklahoma State comes to town because the Cowboys will be bringing in an experienced defense.
Why I worry
Oklahoma State has had our number over the years now. Losing should never be okay but yet when we lost by 10 last year I was relieved. The Cowboys are a lot like K-State, they always seem to beat us somehow. Losing by 60 points in 2011 and then only by 10 last year is a bit of an improvement but it's still a loss. Last year we had 16 penalties, very undisciplined football. We will have to play mistake-free football if we want to win this game. In the sense of both turnovers and penalties.
Why I don't worry
The Cowboys wrapped up their last 6 regular season games with a record of 1-5 and barely squeezed by Oklahoma in OT for that win. The QB situation was a mess as well. J.W. Walsh went down with an injury, Daxx Garman got banged up and struggled, then the Cowboys had to throw true freshmen Mason Rudolph into the mix. Oklahoma State stumbled pretty bad in the second half of the season last year and will enter the season with a pretty inexperienced quarterback. By the time the Pokes come to town we will have a better idea of what kind of team we will be facing.