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Three Reasons to Watch OSU-Texas Tech

A good showing in Lubbock is more crucial than you might think.

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The Cowboys are on the road in Lubbock looking to string together consecutive Big 12 wins for the first time in nearly two years. Standing in the way is a Texas Tech team currently on a six-game conference skid.

The Red Raiders came back from Norman a little worse for the wear after getting blown out by OU 55-16 in their Big 12 debut. Oklahoma State, on the other hand, is a double-digit favorite on the road, but there is still plenty that intrigues me about this game and this Cowboy team in general.

Here are the three main reasons I’m watching OSU-Texas Tech, and what I want to learn.

1. Which former Mr. Texas Football has the better game?

I know this seems like a silly question, but I don’t grade Spencer Sanders and Jett Duffey by the same parameters, even though they both shared the covered honor in high school. That being said, which Mr. Texas Football will live up to his former honor on Lone Star soil, comparatively? The 2015 winner or 2017’s?

For Duffey it will be about staying in his lane, not turning the ball over and maybe cutting loose on a big run or two. I’m not confident that he will all of the sudden turn world-beater, but if he can get the ball into the hands of playmakers like Armand Shyne, SaRodorick Thompson and T.J. Vasher — and limit mistakes — the Raiders could make things interesting.

For Sanders, I want to see how he comes off maybe his worst game in college. We have seen just how electrifying he can be, and we’ve witnessed his ability to bounce back from bad quarters (like at Tulsa). Will he finally be able to put it all together? This will signify the halfway mark of his inaugural season at the helm of OSU’s offense. We’ll see which level of Donkey Kong he’s made it to.

2. This Defense Might Be Fun

We’ve already seen just how fun OSU’s offense can be replete with a superstars like Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace, and led by a star in the making in Spencer Sanders. Don’t look now, but its defense has looked pretty decent over the past three weeks.

After rebounding in the second half against Tulsa, probably doing enough to escape Austin with a win and then basically shutting down Kansas State, Jim Knowles’ squad could really gain some confidence if it shuts down (or nearly does) a Tech offense sans its starting QB.

Last week, OSU controlled the game by loading up to stop the run. This week will present its own challenges with a completely different, and must faster-paced, offense from Tech. How will OSU adjust? Can this dream of a legitimate defense become a reality?

3. How Will the Cowboys Handle a Little Pub?

This will be an ongoing question all year, but I’m intrigued by how OSU shows up on a weekly basis. Maybe I’m just emotionally scarred from the 2018 season, but I want to see how Mike Gundy’s team follows up a nice win against K-State and, even more importantly, its debut in the top 25.

If the Cowboys can take care of business in Lubbock and head into their bye week 5-1, it suddenly sets up a favorable stretch of Baylor, Iowa State, TCU and Kansas with three of those four games at home. Then they head to Morgantown to face a less-than-scary West Virginia team before Bedlam in Stillwater.

There’s an actual plausible scenario that involves a 10-1 OSU team hosting Oklahoma for all the Big 12 marbles Thanksgiving weekend. We’re a long way from that becoming a reality, but the table is set if OSU can continue to shake off its demons from last year and cross off schools from its revenge list.

Now, it would be completely like last year’s team for the Cowboys to march into Lubbock with their heads held high only to get socked in the mouth by an assumed lesser opponent. I don’t see that coming from this team, but as Gundy is prone to say, you don’t really know a team until October or November. I guess we’re about to find out.

 

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