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Big 12 clash to serve as defacto elimination game for conference title.
Mike Gundy and the No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowboys travel to Lubbock, Texas to take on Kliff Kingsbury and the No. 15 Texas Tech Red Raiders in this Big 12 conference game at 7:00 pm ET on FOX. With both teams already suffering a conference loss, the loser of Saturday's game will likely be eliminated from competing for the Big 12 title. While in the top half of their conference standings, both teams have yet to register an impressive signature win. The Cowboys' best win came at home against a 3-4 Kansas State team, while the Red Raiders' best win was on the road at West Virginia. Oklahoma State has yet to play the top three teams in the Big 12 in Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma. Texas Tech hasn't played Texas or Baylor and just lost to Oklahoma 38-30 last week. Texas Tech holds a 21-16-3 advantage all time in the series. The result of this game will go a long way toward one of these programs making a statement as a serious contender.
Three Things to Watch
The Cowboys lead the Big 12 in takeaways, registering five interceptions and four fumbles. CB Justin Gilbert leads the team with four interceptions. Gilbert has only failed to intercept a ball in one conference game this year. The only problem? Oklahoma State is second in the conference in giveaways with 12.
Run 'N Gun Red Raiders
Kliff Kingsbury has been impressive in his first year guiding Texas Tech, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Behind freshman quarterback Davis Webb, the Red Raiders are third in the nation with 412.9 yards per contest and rank 19th in the country with 39.8 yards per game. While Webb has thrown for at least 385 yards and completed at least 62 percent of his passes in his last three games, he threw two costly interceptions against Oklahoma last week. Webb still had Texas Tech put up an impressive 30 points against a top-15 national defense that was averaging 17.5 points per game prior to last week.
Quarterback Confusion in Stillwater
Mike Gundy has done a horrible job of handling his quarterback situation this year. He has bounced back and forth between J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf a few times in 2013. Chelf started the opener and was pulled after two series. The Cowboys turned to Walsh, but after throwing two interceptions in a quarter of action, and was yanked for Chelf. Chelf looked miserable last week, throwing for just 78 yards and completing 38.5 percent of his passes.
Key Player to Watch: Desmond Roland, RB, Oklahoma State
For a Cowboys team that has been struggling to find consistency through the air, Roland was a huge help last week as he rushed for 219-yards and two touchdowns against Iowa State. Roland and the Cowboys' rushing attack is the key to keeping the potent Red Raiders' offense off the field. If Roland can pile up big yardage it would go a long way toward an Oklahoma State victory.
While I like the rushing attack for Oklahoma State better, I just don't trust their passing game and quarterback play. Davis Webb has proven to be a consistent, big-play quarterback all year long. The Red Raiders will turn this into another shootout, a style of play in which they thrive.
Prediction: Texas Tech 38, Oklahoma State 24