Texas Tech Week 9: Play Loose

Texas Tech Week 9
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The season does not slow down for the Red Raiders after Matt Wells was fired on Monday. The Texas Tech week 9 opponent is also its toughest to date. A road trip up to Norman to take on the defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners is never an easy task. Is there any path for the 19-point underdog Red Raiders to pull off the upset?

Oklahoma Isn’t “Oklahoma” Right Now

How can a team that 4-0, ranked number four in the latest AP poll, and a six-time defending conference champion be viewed as beatable? Especially since the Sooners have won nine straight against the Red Raiders. And it hasn’t been close with an average margin of victory of 20.4 points (36.5 in the last two meetings). Anyone who has watched the Sooners this year realizes how frequently the team has flirted with a loss. Against FBS opponents this season, their average margin victory is 8.7 points (remove a 21 points win against TCU, it drops to 6.6). Make no mistake about it, there is something to be said about a team that continues to find ways to win when they just aren’t blowing teams out.

The offense looked bad not just by Oklahoma standards, but by any offensive standards. Quarterback Spencer Rattler came into the season as the Heisman favorite for good reason. But against FBS opponents, he only threw for over 300 yards one time (304 against Tulane). He also only had thrown for five touchdowns and five interceptions. The defense was supposed to take the next step and become a top-30/top-25 caliber defense, but that hasn’t come to fruition either. Oklahoma ranks 68th in total defense and 60th in points allowed per game (this includes a 76-0 shutout against Western Carolina). Without an explosive offense to help its defense, it led to Rattler’s eventual benching against Texas.

Texas Tech Has Nothing To Lose

Oklahoma brought in true freshman Caleb Williams to help save the day against the Longhorns and looked very much the part of the number two nationally ranked quarterback from the 2020 recruiting class. However, against bottom-feeder Kansas, he struggled for most of the game and the Sooners still had only scored 14 points through three quarters and were losing 17-14 in Lawrence. And while the Sooners did eventually pull away, the superstar freshman showed that he still is going to have freshman moments right now.

Interim head coach and offensive coordinator Sonny CumbieĀ has got to take chances if the Red Raiders are going to win at a place they haven’t won at since 2011. Texas Tech has offensive talent that can give the Oklahoma defense problems. The Red Raiders have a solid rushing attack, spearheaded by SaRodorick Thompson, which can help keep the ball away from the Sooners.

However, a Texas Tech Week 9 upset is going to require quarterback Henry Colombi to have a banner day. The offense is going to need to score, and score in bunches to keep up with the Sooners. Colombi is going to need a completion percentage of at least 70% and not turn the ball over. Cumbie needs to find new ways to open up this offense. It starts with getting the best playmaker on the offense the ball consistently and often.

Erik Ezukanma must get a minimum of ten touches in this game. For whatever reason, since the Ezukanma has returned from injury, he has only where he has more than four touches. It is very clear that if he has the ball in space, he can make things happen. Both Ezukanma and Colombi need career days for an upset. If Colombi is going to reach that 70% completion mark, the entire receiving corp has to elevate their game. Kaylon Geiger and Loic Fouonji have demonstrated flashes, but need a consistent effort all game.

Red Raiders Have To Steal Possessions

In addition to the offense needing to play its best four-quarter game of the season, they have to find a way to steal some possessions. Onside kicks, have the secondary take more chances at interceptions (even if it means giving up a touchdown instead), fake punts, go for every fourth down on the plus side of the field, and maybe even send the entire team out to celebrate the first touchdown to send a message. Those are just a few ideas that come to mind with a team that has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Oklahoma has had to play “tight” all year, so if Texas Tech can find ways to gain a few extra possessions, stranger things have happened.

Texas Tech Week 9 Prediction

Oklahoma could have very easily loss to Kansas…and Nebraska…and you get the point. Texas Tech comes to Norman looking to rally around each other to salvage the season. The Red Raiders could jump out of the gates fast, similar to the Kansas State game. And the freshman quarterback for Oklahoma could have his freshman moments. But this Red Raider defense hasn’t shown any evidence to suggest they can slow down this Sooner offense. And while Tech should play loose, they haven’t put together four quarters of good offense. Expect this one to be one-sided in the end.

Oklahoma 59, Texas Tech 31

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