Texas Tech Defensive Preview: Lonely Lubbock Nights

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It's Halloween weekend and the Cowboys have to play in one of the scariest places on earth: AT&T Jones Stadium.

Well, here we are. One of our worst nightmares is becoming true.

Oklahoma State is playing a night game in Lubbock.

The Cowboys are riding high from a rare win in Ames, Iowa, and the Red Raiders are doing just the opposite. Tech had a heart-breaker in the Heartland, and that's just the least of OSU's worries.

The Red Raider defense allows a meager 21.1 points per game and are second in the conference for red zone defense. Linebacker Will Smith, and no, not the funky fresh prince from Bel-Air, has gathered up 56 victims in the dirt and averages 3.5 sacks per game.

Starting to sound scary? Well, there's more.

This has been one of the better defensive lines at Lubbock in recent memory. Kerry Hyder, averaging 10 yards on tackles for loss and two sacks per game, will put the Cowboy O-line to the test. Just a few spots down, linebacker Pete Robertson and defensive end Branden Jackson too will be foaming at the mouth to get a chance to blindside somebody from the outside.

While the Pokes have the third best passing offense in the Big 12 (yes, you read that right), Chelf, Walsh or whoever Gundy decides to put under center Saturday will have to make good decisions under pressure. If not, safety Tre' Porter will be waiting to snatch the ball from the air or truck through the guy running with it.

Don't worry folks, there is a bright light at the end of this tunnel.

In the last game in Norman, the Oklahoma offense exposed some weaknesses in this tenacious Red Raider defense. The Tech defense made very few mistakes during the game, but the three penalties they did earn resulted in a 42 yard swing. As far as conference statistics go, the Red Raiders are last in the Big 12, averaging 71 penalty yards per game. The Sooners also piled up some rushing stats, going for 277 yards at 5.5 yds/att. The Hall of Fame arm of Blake Bell completed almost 64% of his passes for a gaudy 17.8 yards per completion.

What does all of this mean? Well, up until last week, it looked like Texas Tech may be near unstoppable. The defense isn't the greatest statistically, but they're strong. One mistake is all takes to be the difference between a win and a loss.

But the chink in the armor has been exposed.

The students and fans are going to be rabid, since they'll have all day to tailgate and prepare for this game and the team is going to be looking for blood. The Cowboys will have to be smart with their decision making and the offensive line is going to have to play one of it's best games to date. If the Pokes can just stick to those few key things, let Desmond Roland do his thing, and win the battle in the trenches, they just might come out of this one alive.

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