Tomorrow night Oklahoma State opens up Big 12 play by hosting Texas Tech. There are two main concerns entering the game: the craziness of a Thursday night games and the fear of another inexplicable loss. Cowboy Nation isn't going to overlook any opponent after the Iowa State game in 2011 and the loss to West Virginia last season, but if there is one opponent the Pokes expect to wreck each year, it's Texas Tech.
To say the Red Raiders haven't been competitive in this matchup as of late, is an understatement. While the Red Raiders struggle to stay above the likes of Kansas and Iowa State in the Big 12 standings, the Pokes have ascended to compete with the elite of the conference. Even in a "rebuilding" year the Cowboys have enough talent to be in the thick of things in December; should a few things go their way.
While Kliff Kingsbury has brought in some much needed energy to the Tech program, so far it's amounted to little more than a flash in the pan. Last season Tech went undefeated through mid-October; picking apart the cellar dwellars of the conference. When it came time to play the big boys of the conference though, the Raiders were exposed as pretenders and lost five straight games.
Arkansas sent the message loud and clear a week ago. Texas Tech isn't ready to compete on the big stage. The Razorbacks gashed the Red Raider defense with 438 yards on the ground. You won't get far in conference play with that kind of performance. According to ESPN the only two teams Tech has better than a 40% chance of beating the rest of the season are Kansas and Iowa State. Ouch.
This is no longer a back and forth series. Oklahoma State owns Texas Tech. To quote a Red Raider fan from last year's game...
"What is it with OSU? They beat us like we are an FCS school."
A win Thursday would be the sixth consecutive, and 8th overall win since Gundy took over in 2005. I'm not sure any graph better illustrates the Cowboys rise to power under Gundy than the point differential between OSU and TTU.
Some may point to the slide from 2011 to 2013 as a sign that Oklahoma State is slipping, but let's remember that peak is a 60 point difference! It was bound to come down. If it didn't I would seriously consider giving TTU the boot from the Big 12 in favor of the University of Tulsa.
Barring any Thursday night shenanigans, there are three main reasons the Cowboys will further embarrass Tech.
To this date, this is the only known evidence that a Texas Tech defense actually exists.
A crudely made sign indicating the Defense at least made it to the Stadium.
If indeed the Red Raiders' defense make it to the stadium something odd is happening once they step inside, because they've yet to show up on the field. Tech ranks 116th in defensive efficiency. Anybody and everybody is gashing the Red Raiders on the ground. Tech is giving up almost 300 rushing yards per game. Desmond Roland, Rennie Childs, and Tyreek Hill are looking to have a field day, but don't rule out Oklahoma State airing the ball out.
Statistically Tech is significantly better defending the pass, but the disparity in the stats tells us this isn't a case of the Red Raider secondary putting receivers on an island. It's simply that the Tech safeties spend the whole game chasing the running back down the field instead of defending the pass.
The Texas Tech defense is in disarray, and to make matters worse their Defensive Coordinator, Matt Wallerstedt, abruptly resigned last week. Mike Smith, the linebackers coach, has filled the vacancy, but don't expect a big difference in scheme in just one week. The Tech defense is what it is, and that's good news for the Cowboys.
Win The Turnover Battle
Oklahoma State has an advantage in the turnover department. Tech is -1.33 in turnovers on the season, so while the defense is struggling, the Raider offense isn't doing them any favors. Tech QB David Webb has already thrown four picks, and with Ashton Lampkin and Kevin Peterson lurking in the Cowboy secondary things could get out of hand in a hurry. Peterson has a chance to be a marquee corner in this league, and Lampkin has already proven to be lethal.
Home Field Advantage
Oklahoma State is undefeated playing Thursday night games at Boone Pickens Stadium, and according to TeamRankings.com the Cowboys are the 6th best team in the country at home. Texas Tech on the other hand is ranked 54th on the road, and while there have been some close games, Mike Gundy has never lost to Tech in Stillwater.
It's a good thing Oklahoma State has teased throwback uniforms, because we can't count on Texas Tech to keep the game interesting. Sun glasses and skinny ties don't win football games, so while Red Raider fans keep muttering something about a stolen hand signal, the Pokes will just keep winning. Here's a look at the complete breakdown of the stats.
|TALE OF |
|Oklahoma State||Texas Tech|
|W-L Record (Conf.)||2-1 (0-0)||2-1 (0-0)|
|Points Per Game (Rank)||38 (36th)||33.3 (60th)|
|Points Allowed Per Game (Rank)||24.3 (64th)||36.7 (112th)|
|F/+ Rating (Rank)||16.3% (19th)||1.8% (58th)|
|FEI Rating (Rank)||.202 (15th)||-.005 (66th)|
|S&P+ Rating (Rank)||229.6 (20th)||208.4 (49th)|
|Opponent Win Percentage||65.28%||73.33%|
|Strength Of Schedule Power Rating (Rank)||40.2 (9th)||27.1 (54th)|
|Home vs Away Power Rating (Rank)||H: 66.3 (6th)||A: 33.6 (54th)|
|Yards Per Game||440.33||497.67|
|Yards Allowed Per Game||352||430|
|Yards Per Play||6.03||6.99|
|Yards Allowed Per Play||5.23||5.14|
|AVG Time Of Possession||27:41.67||22:15.00|
|Offensive Efficiency (Rank)||.091 (54th)||.339 (34th)|
|Passing Yards Per Game||264||327.3|
|Passing Yards Per Attempt||8.52||7.61|
|Pass Completion Percentage||55.90%||64.35%|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||176.3||170.3|
|Rush Yards Per Attempt||4.2||5.94|
|3rd Down Conversion Percentage||42.00%||50.00%|
|4th Down Conversion Percentage||33.33%||50.00%|
|Touchdowns Off Interceptions||1||0|
|Sacks Given Up||7||0|
|Red Zone Points Per Attempt||5||5.62|
|Red Zone Scoring Percentage||100.00%||84.76%|
|Red Zone TD Scoring Percentage||49.89%||76.91%|
|Defensive Efficiency (Rank)||-.339 (30th)||-.584 (116th)|
|Passing Yards Allowed Per Game||240.67||135|
|Passing Yards Allowed Per Attempt||7.76||5.19|
|Opponent Pass Completion Pct||60%||50%|
|Passing Touchdowns Allowed||3||1|
|Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game||111.33||295.67|
|Rush Yards Allowed Per Attempt||3.12||5.05|
|Rushing Touchdowns Allowed||4||13|
|1st Downs Allowed||54||84|
|Opponent 3rd Down Conversion Percentage||24.44%||40.43%|
|Opponent 4th Down Conversion Percentage||33.33%||88.89%|
|Interceptions Returned For A Touchdown||1||0|
|Team QB Sacks||10||3|
|Team Tackles For A Loss||26||9|
|Opponent Red Zone Points Per Attempt||3.2||5.59|
|Opponent Red Zone Scoring Percentage||80.18%||94.00%|
|Opponent Red Zone TD Scoring Percentage||20.12%||70.55%|
|Field Goal Percentage||72.75%||49.25%|
|Extra Point Percentage||100%||100%|
|2-Point Conversion Percentage||-||0%|
|Yards Per Punt||40.20||40.64|
|Punt Yards Per Return||12.33||5.57|
|Opponent Punt Yards Per Return||6.33||4|
|Punt Returns For A Touchdown||0||0|
|Punt Return Touchdowns Allowed||0||0|
|Yards Per Kickoff Return||19||24.44|
|Opponent Yards Per Kickoff Return||18.4||23.20|
|Kickoffs Returned For A Touchdown||0||0|
|Kickoff Return Touchdowns Allowed||0||0|
F/+, FEI, S&P+, Offensive Efficiency & Defensive Efficiency Stats Are Provided By FootballOutsiders.com
Strength of Schedule & Home vs Away Power Ratings Provided By TeamRankings.com