Texas Tech and Oklahoma are set to kick off their Big 12 season with an exciting match up. This matchup is known to light up the scoreboard with electric offensive displays.
Oklahoma is coming off a bye week, while Texas Tech lost their offense in the desert and fell to Arizona 28-14. To make matters worse for the Red Raiders, they will be without quarterback Alan Bowman once again. After the Sooners knocked Bowman out of the game with a collapsed lung last season, there was a steep drop off between the Red Raiders with Bowman versus without.
This will also be coach Matt Wells’ introduction to the Big 12. I’m guessing that Oklahoma is not exactly the opponent he wished for out of the gate. The Sooners haven’t missed a beat under Jalen Hurts, so coach Wells will need to have something up his sleeve if Tech wants a chance in Norman.
It has been the better part of a decade since the Red Raiders have won in Norman, they are heavy underdogs this time around.
- When: SAT, SEP 28 at 11:00am CT
- Where: Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK
- Weather: Scattered Thunderstorms, High of 87°
- TV: FOX
- Stream: Fox Sports Go
- Betting Line: OKLA -27, O/U 70.5
As mentioned above, Texas Tech is heading into this game without star quarterback Alan Bowman after he suffered a shoulder Injury against Arizona. Bowman is 4th in passing rating in the Big 12, so it’s a big loss. The loss is made even bigger by the fact that we have seen the Jett Duffey Show before, and it wasn’t spectacular.
Duffey is the favorite to replace Bowman after starting three games last season, but don’t be surprised to see graduate transfer Jackson Tyner get some snaps. Coach Wells has said both will see the field against the Sooners as he weighs his options.
The advantage with Duffey is that he can run the ball. He was the team’s leading rusher in 2018. However, he has shown limited ability as a passer. Tyner is a graduate transfer from Rice who also showed dual-threat abilities, but didn’t get a ton of playing time with a total of 1,000 passing yards and 350 rushing yards during his career. The unknown factor is one Wells should try to use to his advantage.
The last time we saw Oklahoma they were running circles around UCLA two weeks ago in a 48-14 victory. It was yet another display of the Sooner’s fire power. Quarterback Jalen Hurts finished with 439 yards and four total touchdowns. Receiver Charleston Rambo caught five passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns and Kennedy Brooks ran for 62 yards and one touchdown on just seven carries.
Hurts has picked up where Kyler Murray, and Baker Mayfield before that, left off. He has been outstanding and leads the Nation with a 250.2 passer rating. He is going to be a problem for anyone they face.
The Sooner’s defense has also looked improved under Alex Grinch, and has a chance to make a statement against a floundering Texas Tech offense. Grinch’s Speed D scheme will likely confuse and pressure Tech’s inexperienced quarterbacks into making mistakes. If that happens, it will make the Red Raider’s long day even longer.
Texas Tech Keys To The Game
Find Some Offense – The Red Raiders put up just 14 points and averaged just 5.6 yards per pass attempt. That is not going to cut it against Oklahoma. The Red Raiders have a talented receiving corps and offensive coordinator David Yost needs to find a way to get them the ball.
Start Fast – The last time Texas Tech won in Norman, a commanding second quarter performance gave them a big lead heading into half time, and it was too much for Oklahoma to overcome, though they nearly did. If the Red Raiders want a chance on Saturday, they will need the same kind of fast start. Knock OU on their heels, and put some doubt in their heads, and who know what could happen.
Be Efficient – The Red Raiders are nearly a 4-touchdown underdog. They will need to play just about a perfect game to overcome that. They cannot afford silly penalties, turning the ball over, or to waste opportunities. If the get into the red zone, they need to capitalize.
Stop The Run – Texas Tech must stop the running game, or at least slow it down. Oklahoma is averaging over 300 rush yards per game thus far. The Sooners also have a deadly passing attack with CeeDee Lamb and Grant Calcaterra, but the Red Raider’s only shot is to rely on their veteran secondary in man-to-man coverage. It’s a gamble, but I think it’s a risk a team has to take to try and stop OU’s strong rushing attack and contain Jalen Hurts.
Oklahoma Keys To The Game
Beat Them However They Want It – Texas Tech will have the toughest defense the Sooner’s have faced yet, but with weapons at every level of the offense, that shouldn’t matter. If they load the box, find Lamb, Rambo, Calcaterra. If they drop back and double up Rambo or Lamb, again, find Calcaterra, or just do it on the ground. No reason to force anything in this one. Let the Red Raiders pick their poison.
Field A Secondary – Reports surfaced this week that receiver Trejan Bridges has moved to safety. That says something about the Sooner’s play at the position so far and it’s not good. Tech offensive coordinator David Yost will likely try to find ways to exploit personnel advantages there, which would help out the Jett Duffey-Jackson Tyner combo behind center. Trying to block OU’s aggressive front six represents a far tougher task, though.
Pressure The QB – Alex Grinch should bring plenty of pressure early in this game. Make the Red Raider running backs pick up blitzes, and try to fluster whoever Matt Wells starts at quarterback.
The Sooners will be energized playing in front of their home crowd again for their Big 12 opener. Jalen Hurts will continue to show that he may not be the passer of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, but he’s got the wheels to make up for it. In the end, Texas Tech is without their biggest weapon, and the Sooners have weapons for days. Oklahoma is just too much and wins comfortably.