Texas Tech comes to town Saturday night, and if there’s a Big 12 team that is second place to Texas on being an annoyance to the Sooners, it’s Tech. OU head coach Bob Stoops has four losses to the Red Raiders. No other Big 12 team outside of Texas has more than two wins over OU.
Tech is not a notch above the rest of the Big 12 in terms of talent like OU and Texas, so why the relative success? All losses have happened in Lubbock. Is that crowd just too intimidating for the Sooners? Is it because of Air Raid offense instituted by former coach Mike Leach?
Not quite. Although those two reasons may have contributed somewhat to the wins, the true answer is simple: Tech took advantage of four of the weakest Sooner teams fielded by Stoops. Three out of the four Tech wins were against an unranked OU team. The fourth win came against a 2007 OU team without its starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, who got knocked out during the Sooners’ second possession. The stars aligned for Tech during those four wins.
So how are the stars shining this year for Tech? Take a guess: The game is not in Lubbock. Mike Leach is gone. OU is highly ranked.
Although Tech is 9th in scoring offense, they’ll most likely have to play without leading rusher Eric Stephens due to a knee injury. Starting receiver Darrin Moore, cornerback Derrick Mayes and kickoff return specialist Ben McRoy are also unlikely. Those are fast horses that Tech could surely use.
Outcome: Tech needs to be at full strength to pull an upset. The Red Raiders are not. Quarterback Seth Doege will get his yards, but a substandard running game and defense will not be up to the challenge. The Tech offensive line is simply overwhelmed up front, and the OU defense asserts it’s will. OU romps, 55-20, and it really isn’t that close.
If the OU defense doesn’t come to play, Tech will move the chains. Much like the Missouri game, Tech could strike with two or three quick scores if the Sooners come out listless. The Sooners will then have to keep up on offense and hope the defense wakes up.
Outcome: This turns into a shootout, and OU can’t shake the tendency to give up the big play. Tech bombs away, and it takes the OU secondary most of the game to get adjusted without star cover man Jamell Fleming. However, the Sooners are just too talented on both sides of the ball. OU wins ugly, 52-34.