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Top 10 Games of 2015: #3, Texas Tech at Oklahoma 10/24/2015

Coming in at the #3 most important game of the 2015 season is when the Red Raiders head to Norman in October.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Going back to 2011 the Red Raiders are 1-3 against the Sooners in recent years but Texas Tech does seem to play up to OU's level when the two do meet. Last year Texas Tech actually led in the fourth quarter with close to 10 minutes left in the game. Tech was up 28-24 but then OU went on to score 3 straight touchdowns to go up 42-24 with a minute and a half left. The Red Raiders did pick up a mop-up TD to end the game and made it 42-30. One thing I have noticed when doing this series is that Tech has given up a lot of touchdowns in the 4th quarter, seems like we have a really hard time closing out games. On a bright note though, Mahomes had a stellar game last year throwing for 393 yards with 4 TDs, and the Red Raider defense held Cody Thomas to 133 yards passing and forced 3 INTs.

2014 Game

Result: Texas Tech 30 vs Oklahoma 42

OU 2014 Record: 8-5

2015 Game

When: 10/24/2015

Where: Norman, OK

Oklahoma Key Returners: #32 RB Samaje Perine (263 carries, 1713 yards, 21 TDs), #3 WR Sterling Shepard (51 rec, 970 yards, 5 TDs), #1 MLB Dominique Alexander (107 tackles, 6 TFL), #19 OLB Eric Striker (68 tackles, 17 TFL, 9 sacks)

Key Matchup: Can Texas Tech play neck-and-neck with Oklahoma and hold the lead?

Last year Texas Tech and Oklahoma put up some similar numbers, both teams had 10 first downs, Oklahoma had 517 total yards and Tech had 486 total yards. The Red Raiders owned the passing game (393 yards vs 133 yards) and the Sooners owned the ground game (384 yards vs 93 yards). Tech had 3 takeaways and OU actually had zero, that's right we played turnover-free football. But somehow Texas Tech sputtered out in the 4th quarter and literally let the game run away from them.

Oklahoma will be returning two of their offensive studs this year in Samaje Perine and Sterling Shepard. Perine had an awesome true-freshmen season and was named an All-American at the end of the year. This year he should be even better, it would not surprise me if this guy contends for the Heisman after everything is said and done. Also returning to Oklahoma's offense is wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Shepard didn't play in 3 games last year and left the Oklahoma St game early with an aggravated groin injury. Even through injury and inconsistent quarterback play Shepard was able to put up 970 receiving yards, expect him to go over the 1,000-yard mark this year. Speaking of quarterbacks, the Sooners have quite the quarterback competition on their hands. Competing for the job is Cody Thomas, Trevor Knight, and that one guy... Baker Mayfield. While Mayfield took most of the snaps at the spring game, no clear-cut winner has shined yet. Expect this battle to continue right up until the beginning of the season and maybe even into it.

On defense the Sooners also return two of their defensive leaders, Dominique Alexander and Eric Striker. Alexander is a force at linebacker and earned All-Big 12 honors last year. Along with his 6 TFL, Alexander racked up 107 tackles last year as well. Eric Striker also returns to the OU defense. The guy is an absolute monster, 17 TFL and 9 sacks last year. Striker is a beast off of the edge and will find himself playing on Sundays after this season. Both Alexander and Striker will be a threat at the linebacker positions when October roles around.

Why I worry

Samaje Perine. Pretty plain and simple here, the guy is only going to improve from last year. Our greatest weakness which is rush defense just happens to be his strength. If he gets hot, we could be in for a long day. Oklahoma's defense will be good as well. Along with Alexander and Striker, the Sooners will be returning half of their secondary.

Why I don't worry

If the Sooners quarterback situation doesn't work itself out this offseason and into the 2015 season then OU will have to rely heavily on the run. If this is the case then it will allow or defense to focus on the run and try to slow Perine down. Also, last year a young Patrick Mahomes threw for 393 yards, 4 TDs and no interceptions. If Mahomes or Webb take the field come October, our QB will have valuable experience under his belt.