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Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Prediction and Preview

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Prediction and Preview

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Prediction and Preview

Much of the coverage surrounding this week’s meeting of the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Oklahoma Sooners has actually focused on a game the teams played two years ago. That shootout between quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes produced points and yards by the bucketload.

This season finds the Sooners and Red Raiders trying to build defenses to match their explosive offensive attacks. Tech defensive coordinator David Gibbs has fashioned the Red Raiders into a go-for-broke unit with a penchant for creating turnovers. Under interim coordinator Ruffin McNeill, OU’s defense is starting to emerge from the rubble of the first half of the season.

If the 2016 epic between these teams came down to which offense was more prolific, the key to this year’s matchup might lie in which side can get more stops.

Oklahoma at Texas Tech

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. ET


Spread: Oklahoma -13.5

Three Things to Watch

1. OU’s explosive plays

The Red Raiders have a nagging problem with giving up chunk plays to opponents. They rank near the bottom of the country in opponents’ plays of 20 yards or more and have allowed 10 plays of 40-plus yards this season. The Sooners have plenty of firepower to exploit the holes in Tech’s D.

In particular, Oklahoma is tied for third in plays of 40-plus yards (20), tied for second in plays of 50-plus yards (9), and are tied for first in plays that cover 60 or more yards (nine). Don't be surprised if the Sooners cover a lot of ground in a single play.

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2. Keeping Kyler Murray clean

Texas Tech defensive coordinator David Gibbs’ attacking 3-3-5 defensive scheme can create havoc in the offensive backfield. In addition to opening holes for the running backs, OU’s offensive line will have its hands full keeping opposing rushers away from quarterback Kyler Murray. One of the keys to Murray's success is that he has only been sacked nine times thus far, as his mobility assists him in his efforts of staying upright.

For all the pressure the Red Raiders like to bring, it has only produced 16 sacks in eight games, tied for fifth in the Big Ten. For all of the criticism leveled against the Sooners' defense, they have produced 18 sacks. Oklahoma also is ahead of Texas Tech when it comes to tackles for a loss (53 vs. 51).

3. Oklahoma’s secondary vs. Texas Tech’s receivers

The Sooners have struggled to contain big wideouts such as Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler and Collin Johnson of Texas this year. The Red Raiders have two targets in that mold: T.J. Vasher (6-6, 190 pounds) and Antoine Wesley (6-5, 200). That puts the onus on OU’s secondary to come up with ways to keep the ball out of their hands. Wesley leads the Big 12 with 58 receptions and 977 receiving yards per game while averaging nearly 17 yards per catch. Vasher is third on the team in those two categories (28, 428) and his four touchdown catches are second to Wesley's seven.

Final Analysis

This matchup pits two of the best offensive minds in college football against each other. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley and Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury will undoubtedly have a myriad of strategies at their disposal to take advantage of the other squad’s defensive flaws.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Oklahoma

If either of these teams has an offensive deficiency, it’s Tech’s running game. The Red Raiders are averaging 3.8 yards per carry, ninth in the Big 12. Unless they can force OU to respect the run on defense, they will find it harder to do much damage through the air.

Kyler Murray has the Oklahoma offense operating at a Baker Mayfield-like level of efficiency at this point. If he and the Sooners just keep on doing what they’re doing, they should get out of Lubbock with a win.

Prediction: Oklahoma 45, Texas Tech 31

— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.