Will this year be the year that Texas Tech ends its losing streak versus Oklahoma State?
It would be surprising if the Red Raiders finally got back in the win column against the Cowboys with a win in Stillwater, especially a week after the Cowboys dismantled a ranked Boise State team.
There's really no mystery to Oklahoma State's success against Texas Tech since 2009. Former Red Raiders coach Mike Leach stopped working to build the program after his peak in 2008 and quickly melted down after the 2009 season, causing the Red Raiders to fall several notches in the Big 12 pecking order. That helped Oklahoma State move a couple notched ahead of Texas Tech.
But as Kliff Kingsbury said this week, the Red Raiders have closed the gap in the last couple years. It's difficult to tell whether or not that trend will continue on Saturday night.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Alan Bowman enjoyed a breakout game in Texas Tech’s win over Houston. He passed for 605 yards and 5 TDs and showed the kind of poise reminiscent of a long line of Red Raider quarterbacks.
WR Antoine Wesley has emerged as the Red Raiders’ go-to play-maker. His 261 receiving yards were a school record, and considering some of the WRs that have come through Texas Tech, that’s a big deal.
S Vaughnte Dorsey had 4 total tackles, including a sack for a loss of 13 yards against Houston. That brings him up to 13 tackles for the season despite missing most of three quarters due to a targeting ejection in the season-opener.
LB/DE Tony Jones had a sack for the third straight game, making him Texas Tech’s top pass rusher this season. He now has 3 sacks and 5 TFLs among his 17 tackles this season.
SERIES HISTORY: The Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State series is tied 21-21-3. The Cowboys have done a lot of work to pull even, winning nine straight dating back to 2009.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "(Wesley) really works at his craft every day in practice. He goes as hard as he can on every rep he gets. It’s paid off. That was a breakout game, he had some unbelievable plays. We’ve just got to keep him coming. He’s a long ways from where he can be and he knows that.” Kliff Kingsbury on WR Antoine Wesley’s 13-catch, 261-yard receiving game versus Houston.
KEY MATCHUP: Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman versus Oklahoma State secondary. The Cowboys surrendered 380 passing yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions last week against Boise State QB Brett Rypien. Meanwhile, Bowman earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors after he passed for 605 yards and 5 TDs in a 63-49 victory over Houston.
QB McLane Carter suffered a high ankle sprain in the first quarter versus Ole Miss and didn’t play against Lamar or Houston. Even when Carter is ready to go again, it’s unclear rather he’ll be the starter with the freshman Bowman taking off.
S Jah’Shawn Johnson hasn’t played in the first three games as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury. He's been the best player on the field for the Red Raiders' defense when healthy and they definitely need him back.
RB Da’Leon Ward missed the Lamar and Houston games with a groin injury. Kingsbury said he had a setback last week in preparing for Houston.
RB Tre King missed the Lamar and Houston games with a knee injury. Kingsbury said he expects both Ward and King back at practice “quickly.”
LT Travis Bruffy missed the Lamar game with a lower leg injury. He returned and started against Houston, but he was replaced by Dawson Deaton.
CB Octavious Morgan suffered a lower leg injury in the first scrimmage of training camp. It appears that he is out for the season and eligible for a medical redshirt, though Texas Tech hasn’t said that officially.