Lincoln Riley returns to his alma mater for the second time as the Sooners’ head coach when No. 24 Oklahoma visits Texas Tech on Saturday.
Both squads are coming off big victories heading into the Halloween night matchup. The Sooners (3-2, 2-2 Big 12) defeated TCU on the road, 33-14, while the Red Raiders (2-3, 1-2) bested West Virginia, 34-27, at home last weekend. For Oklahoma to keep its hopes at playing for a sixth-straight Big 12 title, it’ll need to top Texas Tech on its home turf.
The Daily spoke with The Daily Toreador’s sports editor, Zachary Richards, about his predictions for Saturday’s game. Here's what he had to say:
The OU Daily: Texas Tech’s quarterback play in recent years has produced some of the Big 12’s most consistent passers. What have you seen from the Red Raiders’ QB room this season?
The Daily Toreador: “Alan Bowman took a hit against Kansas State and came out of that game different. He wasn’t throwing it downfield, it looked like he lost a step and lost some confidence. (TTU) did go with a new quarterback in Henry Colombi which is actually doing really well. … He started last game, and that essentially led (the Red Raiders) to beat West Virginia, which is, if not the best, one of the top defenses in the nation. Colombi adds another element (on the ground). … I think he’s a really good quarterback.”
Daily: Defensively, what have you seen from Texas Tech this year?
Toreador: “Coming out of the gates, their secondary has been a struggle. (Coach Matt Wells) talked about it, but there has been definite improvement there, not a lot, but some steps in the right direction for the secondary. In the middle, Texas Tech’s linebackers have been the vocal point (defensively). … Up front, there’s been a struggle getting pressure on quarterbacks. That kind of leads into the reason why the secondary struggled a bit. … (Overall), Tech’s taking strides in the right direction, so there’s steady improvement.”
Daily: What led the Red Raiders to victory against West Virginia last weekend?
Toreador: “It was a complete game. … Offensively, their passing yards and rushing yards were almost identical. Texas Tech had a click in its offense. Like I said before, Henry Colombi gives (Texas Tech) an extra element on offense. … When receivers aren’t open, he can hit the ground and open up a run. That really opened up their offense a lot. … On defense, before West Virginia, Tech couldn’t get off the field. (Against WVU), the offense helped them out a lot, but the defense made stops when it needed to make stops.”
Daily: What does Texas Tech need to do to slow down Spencer Rattler and the Oklahoma offense on Saturday?
Toreador: “Definitely just contain him. (It’s) going to come from all levels against him. He’s an extremely talented young kid. … They’ll need to step up on all levels. Coach Wells said it’s not just a linebacker thing, it’s just a getting pressure on him thing, it’s just they all need to come together to slow him down.”
Daily: What makes Lubbock such a tough place to play in?
Toreador: “If it was any other year, I’d say it was because of the atmosphere. The fans are always rowdy, they’re throwing tortillas all over the field. They’re crazy fans. But with only 25 percent capacity this year, I’d say it’s the conditions. It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s not fun to play in. It’s dusty. It’s disgusting. The weather is not always ideal, especially night games. Definitely hard to get some air under the ball (and) definitely hard for everyone to play in.”
Daily: Any final score predictions for the game?
Toreador: “If Texas Tech comes out and plays like they did against West Virginia, I want to give them the edge. I’m going to stay 35-28, Tech."