Oklahoma State was the clear favorite as Texas Tech headed to Stillwater. The Cowboys had just knocked off 17th-ranked Boise State in dominating fashion, while there were questions surrounding Texas Tech after an opening season loss to a rebuilding Ole Miss program.
Texas Tech bounced back with big offensive performances behind freshman quarterback Alan Bowman in the next two games, however, they had to travel to Oklahoma State in both squads Big 12 opener. The Cowboys defense looked up to the challenge in stopping the Red Raiders high octane offense. They had 16 sacks going into the game and had just stopped one of the nations best offenses in Boise State.
The game was back and forth in the first half and was shaping up to be your typical Big 12 shootout. In the second half, Texas Tech took over the game and shutout Oklahoma State. Here’s what we found out Saturday night.
Penalties Are Killing The Cowboys
In the first two games, Oklahoma State committed 16 penalties, however, they seemed to be going in the right direction against Boise State.
If the Boise State game was the Pokes at their best, then the Texas Tech game was them at their worst. Against Texas Tech, the Cowboys were flagged eight times for 73 yards. These penalties had a key impact on the game. There was an offensive holding that killed a drive, and OSU ended up settling for a field goal. Then, on defense, a pass interference and defensive holding, both on third down, kept a Texas Tech drive alive. That drive resulted in a touchdown midway through the second quarter, and was the beginning of the Red Raiders taking over the game.
If Oklahoma State cannot clean up the mistakes, then last Saturday won’t be their only embarrassing loss.
Alan Bowman Is Rolling
Alan Bowman looks to be the next great quarterback in what is becoming a long list under coach Kliff Kingsbury. The Freshman quarterback had a rough start in his debut after being thrown in when starting quarterback McLane Carter went down in the season opener against Ole Miss. Since then though, he’s been nothing short of electric.
Bowman set the Big 12 freshman record for yards thrown in a game as he dissected the Houston defense in week three. He threw for 605 yards and five touchdowns in the game. He then followed up that performance by hanging 397 yards and two touchdowns on the Pokes.
Bowman’s potential at this point is through the roof, but he is a freshman, and there will be setbacks. For now though, the future under center at Texas Tech looks very promising.
He already shows poise in the pocket, and he has a great touch on the ball, as shown on this touchdown pass against Mississippi. He drops the fade right into the receiver’s hands.
Losing McLane Carter is a tough blow. Hopefully he's not out for long. Looking at Bowman, he did a great job here of handling the pressure and putting the ball right where it needed to be. Easy pass to over throw. #WreckEm pic.twitter.com/rhO3iH5peD
— LandGrant Gauntlet (@the_LGG) September 2, 2018
On this play Antoine Wesley makes the Houston defense look silly, but what is key here is that Bowman delivered him the ball on time and on the money as Wesley made the break on the hitch route. Bowman put the ball in Wesley’s hands before the corner could make the adjustment, giving Wesley the space he needed to make his man miss.
— LandGrant Gauntlet (@the_LGG) September 16, 2018
This play, which wasn’t defended particularly well, Bowman spots his man wide open and let’s it rip without hesitation, and again, he put the ball right where it needed to be with very little adjustment needed by the receiver.
— LandGrant Gauntlet (@the_LGG) September 23, 2018
Texas Tech Has A Defense?
The jury is still out on this, but the Red Raiders throttled the Cowboys. Especially, in the second half.
Holding Oklahoma State to just 17 points in a half is decent. Holding them to 0 points is impressive. The Pokes couldn’t do anything in the second half as they were limited to just 91 total yards. OSU came into the game averaging 590.3 yards per game, and TTU held them to 386 yards and forced two turnovers.
So why is the jury still out then? Well, we can’t ignore that they gave up 47 points to Mississippi and 49 points to Houston. Which means we don’t fully know if Saturday’s performance was more the Pokes stepping in a cow pie, or Texas Tech knocking them off their horse. One way or another, we’ll likely have an answer by this time next week.
Questionable Play Calling
Its easy to question play calling after the game, but one has to wonder, why did Oklahoma State stop running the ball? A veteran coach like Mike Gundy shouldn’t hit the panic button. However, they played right into the hands of Texas Tech. Only six rushes in the second half is unacceptable, and giving the one of the best running backs in the country the ball only 12 times must be questioned, especially when he is averaging 9.3 yards a carry.
They’ve already had one player this week decide to transfer because he’s unhappy with his touches. Gundy is going to have to figure out what is going on with his offense before the wheels fall off, and I have a sneaking suspicious it starts with reevaluating who’s under center.
Texas Tech is riding high after the big win. However, they host #12 West Virginia this Saturday which will be a bigger challenge for their defense. It’s not just the Red Raider’s defense that will be tested, either. Their offense will be tested in what seems to be a much better Mountaineer defense. So they can’t afford to celebrate ending the Cowboy’s win streak for too long, because if they don’t show up against the Mountaineers, this game will be a distant memory.
There’s no doubt Oklahoma State will regroup. However, they play at Kansas this Saturday. They can’t let that loss carry over and cant overlook the Jayhawks or they might find themselves losing back to back games as the Jayhawks have shown to be more than capable at times this season. And you they think the Tech loss was embarrassing…well, just ask Texas.