Week 12 Big 12: Oklahoma at Texas Tech

    Oklahoma (6-3) at Texas Tech (3-6) Nov. 15, 3:30, ESPN Here’s The Deal: Normally a fun and wild matchup with big possibilities for the offense, this is

    November 14, 2014

    Oklahoma (6-3) at Texas Tech (3-6) Nov. 15, 3:30, ESPN 

    Here’s The Deal: Normally a fun and wild matchup with big possibilities for the offense, this is now a play-out-the-string game as Texas Tech’s dead season is about to officially be done with all bowl hopes, while Oklahoma is banged up and bruised, going from a top favorite for the College Football Playoff to an also-ran. The Sooners had their chance to get right back in the fun with Baylor coming to Norman last week, but after getting hot early, nothing else worked in the 48-14 loss, losing QB Trevor Knight along the way. The offense has been balanced, but disappointing. The defense has been great against the run, but a disaster against the pass. There’s still time to come up with yet another ten-win season – needing to win out with home games against Kansas and Oklahoma State coming up, along with a bowl game – but it’s not going to be a Big 12 title-winning campaign. 

    Texas Tech is mostly known for getting its doors blown off by TCU in an 82-27 loss that could’ve been even worse. There were warning signs early, needing to fight to get by Central Arkansas and UTEP, and there was a home win over Kansas and battles in losses to Oklahoma State and West Virginia, but that’s it. There’s hope for the future – this is a young team that’s going through a ton of transition, even this late in the year – but it would be nice to come up with something positive after losing the last two games by a total score of 116 to 40. 

    Somewhat stunningly, this is just the 22nd meeting between the two programs – the first meeting wasn’t until 1992 – with Oklahoma holding a 15-6 edge. 

    Why Oklahoma Might Win: Expect the Oklahoma offense to run, and run, and run, and run some more. There’s no need to throw too much with Knight hurting, and the Sooner ground game should be able to rumble at will against a Texas Tech defense that allowed three rushing touchdowns or more in five of the nine games and 241 yards or more in four of the last five. When the Sooner ground game works, it really, really works, rumbling for 510 yards against Iowa State and 301 against West Virginia. It’s going to work against the porous Red Raider front seven. 

    Why Texas Tech Might Win: In every way, this is a wounded Oklahoma team. This is a program used to fighting for championships, but instead, it lost in heartbreaking fashion to TCU and Kansas State before getting rolled by Baylor. With Knight likely out and hurt, and star receiver Sterling Shepard trying to fight through a groin injury, the offense isn’t likely to have the same pop, while the defense has to figure out how to stop a decent passing game. The Sooners haven’t come up with an interception over the last three games, and have given up 300 yards or more in four of the last six games. Texas Tech’s passing game might not be the high-octane machine it normally is, but it’s still productive. 

    Who To Watch Out For: With Knight out with an apparent head/neck injury, it’s now up to Cody Thomas to show what he can do. The 6-4, 211-pound redshirt freshman has seen a little time so far completing 5-of-16 passes for 50 yards and a pick, while running for 20 yards. While he’s not a runner by nature, he can move a little bit, but he has the pro-style skills and the passing arm to push the ball all over the field. His job will be to keep the chains moving and not screw up. If he can hand off, he’ll be fine – he likely won’t have to make any tough, pressing throws. 

    What’s Going To Happen: The Sooners will run for over 300 yards and come up with an easy bounceback win. Texas Tech is about to pay for what happened to OU against Baylor. 

    Prediction: Oklahoma 45 … Texas Tech 23 
    Line: Oklahoma -17 o/u: 61 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Foxcatcher – 1: The Comeback … 2.5 

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