The Oklahoma State defense looked like perhaps the best in the conference on Saturday against Boise State, and now the Cowboys have another stiff test as they host the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday.
The Red Raiders boast a prototypical Texas Tech high-scoring offense, and they have put that on display the last two weeks as they put 77 points on Lamar and then 63 points against Houston. Here are a few things the Cowboys need to focus on in order to find success against Tech on Saturday.
Get Pressure on Alan Bowman
Texas Tech’s true freshman quarterback Alan Bowman is off to a hot start so far this season. He is fourth in the nation in passing yards with 1160, and he has eight passing touchdowns to zero interceptions. On top of Bowman’s impressive stats, the Red Raiders have allowed only a single sack through three games.
Oklahoma State needs to stop the passing game, but with a questionable secondary defending the pass, pressure falls on the defensive line to get pressure on Bowman. The Cowboys lead the nation with 16 sacks, and after a successful showing against Boise State, they will need to do everything they can to get into the Red Raider backfield.
Shut Down the Rush
If the Cowboys can get pressure on Bowman and limit the pass game, then shutting down the run game should be easy. The Red Raiders are 71st in the NCAA with 175.7 rush yards per game, and the Cowboys are 7th in the nation allowing just 74 rush yards per game.
Texas Tech does not have near as much success on the ground as they do through the air, but the Red Raiders have 13 rush touchdowns, which is T-13th in the NCAA. Oklahoma State’s strong point on defense is the defensive line, and stopping the ground game could be just as important as shutting down the air raid.
Limit Big Plays
The Cowboys have one of the best red zone defenses in the nation, allowing just three touchdowns in six red zone trips through the first three games of the season. The other four scores on the season against Oklahoma State’s defense has been on plays over 20 yards.
Oklahoma State has had a tendency in past seasons of giving up big plays, especially due to secondary let downs. The Cowboys most experienced defensive back is Kenneth Edison-McGruder, who transitioned from linebacker this season, so big plays are bound to happen. The key here is limiting to them to as few as possible.