Back in 2000, the Oklahoma Sooners were heading into a stretch of games called “Murderer’s Row.” It saw the Sooners face ranked Texas, Kansas State and Nebraska. By the end of the stretch, the Sooners beat all three higher ranked teams and marched undefeated to the National Championship. This year, Oklahoma has already lost a game – to Texas – and a national championship is out of the picture. However, they still have a chance to get a Big 12 title.
The problem is that a two-game “Murderer’s Row” starts this week, and the Sooners need a miracle to survive this one.
First up this week is the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Norman and then next week a road game with the Baylor Bears. In the first BCS poll of the season, Texas Tech is ranked 10th while Baylor is ranked 8th. Oklahoma sits at 15th, and they are lucky to be there.
The Red Raiders come into the game ranked 2nd in the nation in passing yards and 15th in scoring. Their defense also ranks 15th in scoring, while their offensive running game is almost non-existent, ranked 98th in the country. Texas Tech has only scored less than 33 points once this season, a 20-10 win over the TCU Horned Frogs. In their last three Big 12 games, they have scored 54, 42 and 37 points.
That will be hard for the Oklahoma Sooners to keep up with.
Outside of a 51-20 whipping of the Tulsa Hurricanes, Oklahoma has only scored as many as 35 points in a game – their win over Notre Dame. They rank 63rd in the nation for points scored and 97th in the nation in passing. They are decent in running the ball, ranked 18th, and rank 9th in points allowed.
The only way that OU can win this game is to slow down the Texas Tech offense. If the Red Raiders score like they usually do, OU has not proven equipped to keep up this year. Even after losing starting quarterback Baker Mayfield in game five of the season, David Webb came in and never missed a beat. As a matter of fact, Webb is the first Texas Tech freshman quarterback to throw for over 400 yards in both of his first two starts of his career.
On the other hand, after Blake Bell broke the Oklahoma Sooners’ record for a first time starter with 413 yards against Tulsa, he has dropped in every game since. In his last three starts combined, Bell has only throw for 416 yards combined and has more interceptions in those three games than touchdowns, with a 3-2 ratio.
The Sooners have to hope that Texas Tech falters like they did against West Virginia, when they gave up 437 yards and 27 points last week. The Sooners would need to rely on their solid run game to control the clock and move the chains if they want to match those numbers.
Brennan Clay leads the team with 496 yards and three touchdowns while Damien Williams, Roy Finch, Keith Ford, Trey Millard and Blake Bell himself are there to add yards as well. On the season, OU has rushed for 1,595 yards and only thrown for 1,359 yards.
It will be the Oklahoma Sooners running game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders passing game and the defense that cracks is the team that will lose the game.
The Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. EST.