No. 14 Oklahoma State was brought back down to earth last week by TCU after three impressive early-season wins had Cowboys fans dreaming of a Big 12 title and possible berth in the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma State looks to get back on track with a ninth straight win against Texas Tech when they visit the Red Raiders on Saturday.
The Cowboys whipped up on Tulsa, South Alabama and Pittsburgh by a combined 110 points during the non-conference slate, but they stumbled at home last week 44-31 to then-No. 15 TCU. Meanwhile, Texas Tech forced five turnovers in its 27-24 win over Houston last week, and are second in FBS in turnover margin (plus 2.3 per game). “That’s the key to our conference. You look at the teams that have won the league the last few years and they’re way up there in the turnover margin, and that’s where we’re trying to get to give (ourselves) a chance in every game in the Big 12”, Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury told the media this week. In last year’s contest, Texas Tech rallied from a second half, double-digit deficit only to lose 45-44 on a missed extra point with 1:44 left in the game.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox. LINE: Oklahoma State -9.5
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (3-1, 0-1 Big 12): Mason Rudolph threw for 398 yards against the Horned Frogs but tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble, dashing his early-season push for the Heisman Trophy. The senior is completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,533 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Wide receiver James Washington has 19 grabs for 520 yards and four TDs, averaging 27.4 yards per catch, while running backs Justice Hill (352 yards) and J.D. King (201 yards) combine to average nearly six yards per carry.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (3-0, 0-0): The Red Raiders are ninth in scoring in FBS (45 points per game) and third in total offense (587.3), and its defense is yielding only 26.3 points – 17.2 fewer per game than last season’s FBS-worst scoring defense. Quarterback Nic Shimonek has completed 92-of-125 passes for 1,248 yards with 11 touchdowns and one interception; his 85.9 QBR rank via ESPN is third-best in FBS, behind Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Rudolph. Shimonek threw for 321 yards and two scores against Houston, hooking up with Keke Coutee 11 times for 161 yards.
1. In last season’s game, Rudolph passed for 395 yards and two TDs while Hill gained 126 yards on the ground. In 2015, Washington scored on 75 and 73-yard pass receptions in the fourth quarter as the Cowboys rebounded from an early 17-point deficit for a 70-53 win at Texas Tech.
2. Coutee has 28 catches for 446 yards and four scores, while WRs Dylan Cantrell and Derrick Willies have each topped 200 yards receiving with two scores apiece for the Red Raiders.
3. Rudolph became the school’s all-time leader in total offense (10,250 yards), moving ahead of Zac Robinson, and also set a school record with his fifth consecutive 300-yard passing effort last week.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 49, Texas Tech 41