Texas Tech rush defense to get another test vs. OU
Nov. 14, 2014
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Texas Tech hopes its rush defense perks up when Oklahoma brings the Big 12's third-best running attack to Lubbock on Saturday.
Sooners' rushers are averaging 225 yards per game, the most at the school in the Bob Stoops era, while the Red Raiders are giving up 246.6 yards to rushers. That latter number is in part the result of giving up nine individual 100-yard rushers this season, including two each against Arkansas, West Virginia and TCU.
"It will be a tough challenge," Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "We tried to get ahead a little bit last week on scheme and things of that nature that OU's doing to try and help us with this week. We've got to man up and play better defense; that is the bottom line."
The Red Raiders (3-6, 1-5 Big 12), already assured of a fifth straight losing conference record, are coming off a bye week after falling at home to Texas 34-13. Oklahoma (6-3, 3-3) lost 48-14 to Baylor in a game in which quarterback Trevor Knight was injured and taken from the field on a stretcher.
Knight wasn't medically cleared to play Saturday so redshirt freshman backup Cody Thomas will make his first start. Stoops said he's comfortable with Thomas.
"He's shown great poise, when he's been out there, and he's shown a comfort level in what we're doing, the ability to throw it," Stoops said. "I feel good about him out there."
Five things to know for Saturday's game:
Baker Mayfield, a true freshman starter last year at Texas Tech who transferred to Oklahoma at the end of last season and is ineligible to play this season, will likely be in Lubbock. He can't travel with the team but Stoops believes he'll be on the sideline. "He can help quite a bit," Stoops said. "He can't make any plays for you, but he can go through all the reads with us and what they're looking for." Not so fast, says Red Raiders offensive coordinator Eric Morris. "We change some of our main signals and some of our calls to the offensive line, and we'll continue to do that to try to keep them off guard," he said.
RUSH DEFENSE WOES
Oklahoma rushing attack has shined this season thanks to freshman RBs Samaje Perine (788 yards and 11 TDs), Alex Ross (491 yards and three TDs). The Red Raiders have struggled to stop the run throughout the season, giving up 26 TDs on the ground.
Ross is third in the nation in average return yards on kickoffs (34.7 yards) and has returned two for TDs. The sophomore has gotten 521 yards on 15 kickoffs and needs one more to become the first Oklahoma player to return three kickoffs for scores in a season.
PLETHORA OF PENALTIES
Texas Tech is no longer the most penalized team in the nation (that would be No. 6 Baylor) but the Red Raiders are still close to the bottom, tied at 121st. Many of the penalties have extended opponents' drives or negated big plays for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have been flagged 83 times for 787 yards in nine games.
The Red Raiders have turned the ball over 22 times (16 picks and six fumbles) this season to rank No. 116 in the nation. QB Davis Webb has 13 interceptions this season and lost two fumbles in his most recent game two weeks ago. Texas Tech has gone 17 games (0-14-3) without winning the turnover battle. Oklahoma, which has 13 turnovers (11 picks and two fumbles), is plus-five in its six wins and minus-two in its three losses.