OU vs. Texas Tech: Where Do the Advantages Lie?


Saturday’s OU vs. Texas Tech game shapes up as an offensive shootout, but it is the defensive play that most likely will determine the outcome of this game.

The Sooners are ranked 17th in this week’s Associated Press poll (15 in the Amway Coaches Poll) and are coming off of one of the most lopsided wins, a 55-0 beatdown over Kansas State,  in Bob Stoops’ 17 seasons at Oklahoma.

Texas Tech is 5-2 and unranked, but had a relatively tough time putting away hapless Kansas, edging out the Jayhawks by a 10-point margin, 30-20, on the road last Saturday.

Nov 15, 2014; Lubbock, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Samaje Perine (32) rushes against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the first half at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Based on last weekend’s results, it would be easy to conclude that the Sooners should not have any trouble at home against the Red Raiders on Saturday. Even the Las Vegas oddsmakers have made Oklahoma a 12-point favorite in the game. I don’t think that will be the case – at least not with that amount of ease.

I think the Sooners are a better team than Texas Tech, but as we all know, the better team doesn’t always come out on top. It is the team that plays best on any given Saturday. The OU-Texas game a couple of weeks ago is ample proof of that.

So which team has an advantage, when and where, when the Sooners and the Red Raiders meet for the 25th time in the series on Saturday:

When Oklahoma Runs the Ball

Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon both had good run production against Kansas State last weekend. And there is no reason that can’t continue this weekend going against the Big 12’s worst run defense. The Red Raiders are giving up 264 rushing yards a game. That’s the sixth worst run defense among FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) teams. That should be music to the ears of the Sooner running backs. Advantage Oklahoma

When Texas Tech Runs the Football

Oct 3, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (21) carries the ball as Baylor Bears nickel back Travon Blanchard (48) defends during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Raiders are much more dangerous when the pass, but they have also had success on the ground, which is a prime reason they are one of the top two passing offenses in the country. Behind DeAndre Washington, Texas Tech is averaging 197 yards per game on the ground. Oklahoma allowed 313 rushing yards to Texas, but shut down Kansas State on the ground, yielding just 65 yards, largely because the Wildcats fell behind early and were forced to go to the air more than they wanted to. How well the Sooners do this week limiting the Red Raider run game could be a key measurement in Tech’s chances to pull yet another upset in Norman. Slight Advantage Oklahoma

When Oklahoma Passes

With former Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield now leading the charge for the Sooners, Oklahoma’s pass offense has improved dramatically over a year ago. Fourteen different OU receivers have caught passes this season, and Mayfield has thrown 19 touchdown passes to nine different Sooners. The OU quarterback is averaging 312 passing yards a game. The Red Raiders have the Big 12’s most lethal pass offense, but defensively, they are among the worst in the conference. Mayfield should be able put up big passing numbers against his former team. Advantage Oklahoma

When Texas Tech Passes

Oct 3, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders wide receiver Jakeem Grant (11) runs with the ball during the game against the Baylor Bears at AT&T Stadium. The Bears defeat the Red Raiders 63-35. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Raiders, as per usual, are one of the country’s most prolific pass offenses. Texas Tech is averaging 624 yards of total offense per game, and the vast majority of those yards are through the air. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown for over 300 yards in nine of his last 10 games. His primary receiving target, senior Jakeem Grant, is second in the Big 12 this season with 50 receptions in seven games. The Sooners lead the Big 12 in pass defense, yielding an average of 152 yards through the air. That is a misleading stat, however, because the last two Oklahoma opponents have been primarily run-oriented teams. The Sooner secondary is playing better this year, but it will be strongly tested by the Red Raider’s signature version of the Air Raid. Advantage Texas Tech

Special Teams

Field position could be an important factor in this game. Texas Tech has the type of offensive fire power that enables the Red Raiders to strike quickly from anywhere on the field. So you definitely don’t want to give them a short field to work from. Texas Tech’s Taylor Symmank is averaging 47 yards per punt on just 19 total punts. OU true freshman Austin Seibert averages 43.4 yards per punt, but 13 of his 30 punts have been placed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Seibert also is a perfect 10 for 10 in field goal tries. His Texas Tech counterpart in the kicking game is Clayton Hatfield, a redshirt freshman, who is 6 out of 7, with a long of 37 yards. Texas Tech’s Jakeem Grant can be dangerous returning kicks. He is averaging 25 yards per kickoff return, but the Sooners have done a good job this season covering kickoffs. Slight Advantage Oklahoma


OU head coach Bob Stoops is 11-5 against Texas Tech. Kliff Kingsbury is 0-2 vs. OU  as the Red Raiders head coach and 1-3 as a player at Texas Tech. The Sooners also have three former Texas Tech assistant coaches (offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons) on the Oklahoma sidelines this season. Advantage Oklahoma


Oklahoma is very difficult to beat when playing at home, although the Red Raiders have recorded one of the six home losses in the Bob Stoops era. OU is 53-6 in Big 12 games at home under Stoops, and this is homecoming weekend. Overall, Oklahoma is 93-8 at home with Stoops on the sidelines. Saturday’s game will be the 102nd consecutive sellout (85,000-plus) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium since Stoops became the head coach. Hard to pick against the Sooners in this one. Advantage Oklahoma