Oh boy it’s time for the Dust Bowl! Or the Red Dirt Rivalry! Or whatever this rivalry is being called! (My vote goes to the Dust Bowl, it just works.)
Now, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State have had some great games here in the last 5-6 years, and I expect this one to be no different. Let me introduce you to some of the best skill position players the Cowboys have to offer.
Let’s start here with Spencer Sanders. I know my guy Jack really dislikes Spencer Sanders and thats been fairly deserved, but Sanders still stands in the way as a huge threat for the Red Raider defense. Spencer Sanders doesn’t really worry me much in the pass game. I actually think thats how you beat OSU, make them throw. What worries me is his ability to run. Tech last week was just embarrassed by Adrian Martinez, and if they aren’t careful, Spencer Sanders could be very similar.
Last week against Baylor, Sanders only passed for 181 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. Where he helped OSU win the game was his rushing attack, running 14 times for 75 yards and a TD. He led the team in rushing and was by far the most efficient runner for the Cowboys. His running ability was really the main reason they beat the Bears, other than the fact that their defense is elite.
Sanders is gonna be very similar to Adrian Martinez. You gotta keep him in the pocket, make him make difficult throws. Tech was able to stay in the game last week against Kansas State when they forced Martinez to throw, but as soon as they let him take off, they were exposed. Force Sanders to throw, and you stay in this game.
Let’s move on to the other rushing threat for the Cowboys. Dominic Richardson has been really solid this year for OSU. Doesn’t have eye-popping numbers, but he will churn out solid yards and help beat-down a defense. Richardson leads the Cowboys this season in rushing attempts and yards. He’s ran 67 times for 288 yards and 3 TDs so far this year. He’s only averaging 4.3 yards a carry which is solid, but not world beating.
The last 2 weeks the Tech defense has had to play what are possibly the 2 best running backs in the entire nation in Bijan Robinson and Deuce Vaughn. With all due respect to Richardson, this challenge is far less compared to what they’ve gone up against when it comes to the backfield. I look for Tech to be more efficient in stopping the run now. that those 2 guys are out of the way.
So far this season, Oklahoma State’s top receiver has been Braydon Johnson. He has 17 catches for 360 yards and 3 TDs in 4 games. His standout games have come against Central Michigan and UAPB, where he combined for 10 catches for 219 yards and 3 TDs in those 2 games alone.
This pass game has been fairly spread out but Johnson has been the top guy thus far for OSU. They have other weapons like Brennan Presley and Bryson Green that can also hurt you, but they haven't had as much consistency as Johnson has so far this year.
This game should be really fun. 2 great defenses with some inconsistent offensive play. OSU has had a little more consistency on the offensive end than Tech, but they don’t have any individual guy that will kill you. It’s your usual Oklahoma State team, who will wear you out with elite defense and finish you off with solid offense. Get ready for a bruising game and Tech will need to show a lot of toughness to try to pull off the upset.
Let’s go beat Xerox U in the Dust Bowl!