Texas Tech Week 13: Red Zone Lock Down Against Oklahoma

It is the ending of an era at Jones At&t stadium. As soon as the game against Oklahoma ends this weekend, preliminary actions will be underway to start a $200 million renovation project. The most part of this is the last time the famous Double T scoreboard in the south endzone will be up and operational for a football game. And while the new stadium will have a Double T scoreboard of its own, the original is coming down. Senior day is also on-tap to conclude the 2022 regular season for the Red Raiders. So what do the Red Raiders need to do to secure a Texas Tech week 13 victory?

Offense Facing Improved Sooner Defense

Oklahoma’s first half of the Big 12 season was maligned by defensive struggles. In their first four Big 12 games this season, they allowed an average of 46.75 points per game. In a word, oof. However, in their last four games, that number has been trimmed down to just 21.75 points per game. The defense still has yielded plenty of yards to these offenses. In the same four-game stretch, they have yielded only three touchdowns a game, they are allowing an average of 419.25 yards. With Joey McGuire’s and Zach Kittley’s aggressive offensive approach, Texas Tech should be able to move the ball and “steal” points most teams would pass on.

Texas Tech is 27-of-45 on conversion attempts already this season. The 27 successful fourth-down
conversions are the most nationally. The Red Raiders’ 45 attempts are also the most nationally with the second closest being Navy with 37 attempts. So what has that meant on the scoreboard? Converting 60% of its fourth-down tries has resulted in 103 points. Of course, one of the criticisms by both fans and specifically Fox’s Gus Johnson during the TCU game was when this aggressive play backfires. When the Red Raiders failed on fourth down, it resulted in 51 points. And only 44 of those are at the fault of the defense as NC State took a fourth down interception back for a touchdown. With a net gain of 52 points on the season, it is clear the philosophy is working for Texas Tech.

Red Zone Lockdown

Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter has witnessed significant growth in his defense from week one to putting together their best performance last week against Iowa State. Specifically, the turning point came the week of the TCU game. Texas Tech was ranked 125th nationally in red zone defense going into the TCU game. Since then, in the last three games, Opponents have only recorded points in 7-of-17 trips to the red zone. Last week, Texas Tech held Iowa State to 1-of-5 in the red zone. The 14 points surrendered against the Cyclones were the fewest in a road victory for the Red Raiders since 1996. Texas Tech defeated then Big 12 member Texas A&M by a score of 13-10.

Coming into their final game of the season, Texas Tech ranks 14th in the FBS for red zone defense. This is even more impressive given their best defensive player, Tyree Wilson, suffered a season-ending injury in the middle of this impressive three-game stretch. But there have been other individual note-worthy performances by the defense. Marquis Waters has 11.5 tackles for loss this season. This is the most by a Texas Tech defensive back since 2000. Waters also currently leads all defensive backs nationally in TFLs. The red zone defense should continue to play at a high level as Oklahoma only ranks 41st in the red zone offense. Oklahoma ranks in the bottom third nationally in red zone attempts. They do most of their offense damage from outside the 20. Limiting big plays and forcing Oklahoma to play to the strength of this defense is the recipe for a Red Raider seventh victory.

Texas Tech Week 13 Prediction

There is an opportunity for Texas Tech to break a few streaks and make history against Oklahoma. Thanks to an overtime victory over Texas back in September, a win over the Sooners would represent three things. First, it would be the first time in program history Texas Tech has defeated Texas and Oklahoma in the same season. It also would snap some long-suffering streaks. The 10-game losing streak to Oklahoma would be over. Secondly, it would end Texas Tech’s 12 consecutive seasons of sub-.500 records in Big 12 play.

Both teams seem due for a shootout. Coincidently, the last time either team scored more than 35 points was against Kansas. But that motivation for both these teams is in different places. Oklahoma’s first season under Brent Venables has to be considered a “failure” by most Sooner fans. Meanwhile, while Texas Tech has left a lot of meat on their bone, going bowling in year one under McGuire is an absolute success. There is one last thing for Red Raider players, coaches, and fans to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving holiday. And that will be a thrilling, high-scoring football game with the home team victorious.

Texas Tech 49, Oklahoma 42