Red Raiders, Cowboys head into Big 12 play on a high
Tech hung 63 points on a feisty Houston squad, leading to a two-touchdown victory in Lubbock. Meanwhile, the Pokes handled Boise State with surprising ease in Stillwater as they crushed the Broncos, 44-21.
Get ready for points a plenty on Saturday. In their last six meetings, these two squads have combined to score 75, 89, 123, 80, 86 and 80 points.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. ET
Spread: Oklahoma State -13
Three Things to Watch
1. Is Oklahoma State's defense for real?
Through three games, Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy’s offseason move to replace defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer with Jim Knowles from Duke seems to be paying off. Holding FCS opponent Missouri State and Sun Belt member South Alabama to a combined 30 points in the first two contests doesn’t say much. Keeping Boise State in check last week (21 points and 414 yards on 87 plays) does, however.
The high-flying Red Raiders might pose the toughest test yet for Knowles’ unit. Texas Tech enters this game with the nation's No. 1 offense in terms of yards per game (624.3) and No. 3 in points (55.7).
2. Who’s the (Bow-)man?
After starting quarterback McLane Carter went down in Tech’s season opener versus Ole Miss, true freshman Alan Bowman has piloted the offense. The rookie threw for an eye-popping 605 yards and five touchdowns last week against Houston. Can he keep it going on Saturday when the level of competition takes a step up?
3. Tech’s disappearing defense
To be fair, something would have to be there first for it to “disappear.” But this was supposed to be the year that head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s team finally fielded a D that wasn’t a colossal failure. So far, not so good: Ole Miss put up 47 points in game one, while Houston scored 49 last week.
The Red Raiders did pitch a shutout versus FCS opponent Lamar in the second week of the season, so they have that going for them.
Don’t doubt Mike Gundy.
That’s the takeaway from Oklahoma State's first three games. Even after replacing QB Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington, the Cowboys have continued to light up the scoreboard. That prolific offense and recharged D have once again positioned OSU as a challenger in the Big 12.
However, public opinion of the Cowboys might be a little overheated at this point. The Pokes took back two blocked punts for touchdowns last week against Boise State, which turned a solid win into a dismantling of a respected opponent.
Texas Tech has enough firepower to turn this game into a track meet, per usual when the two squads hook up. Not enough to pull off the upset in Stillwater, though.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 41, Texas Tech 31
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.