OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (6-1)
at TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (7-1)
Kickoff: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Texas Tech -2, Total: 66.5
Two Big 12 teams square off in Lubbock on Saturday night in what could be a conference elimination game as No. 18 Oklahoma State visits No. 15 Texas Tech.
Both teams are currently one game behind Big 12 leaders Baylor and Texas, and this game will go a long way in determining which team still remains in the race. Last season, these two teams squared off in Stillwater, and it was not close as the Cowboys defeated the Red Raiders 59-21 to give them four straight wins (SU and ATS) in this series by an average of 30.5 PPG. This includes a 66-6 drubbing the last time OSU visited Lubbock. In last year's contest, Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf had a very solid game, throwing for 229 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. After losing the job to J.W. Walsh early in the season, Chelf has become the starter again, but really struggled in last week’s 58-27 win over Iowa State (10-for-26, 78 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT). However, it did not make a difference as RB Desmond Roland had a monster game with 219 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Roland figures to get the bulk of the carries once again, seemingly taking the job from senior RB Jeremy Smith. Texas Tech was unable to get the victory in Norman last week, but had a chance with 1:17 left to tie the game, before falling 38-30. Freshman quarterback Davis Webb played well, throwing for 385 yards and two touchdowns, but had two big interceptions that played a huge role in the outcome. Also, the Red Raiders defense, which had been playing so well, gave up 526 yards of total offense, including big play after big play. They must shore that up this weekend, as the Cowboys definitely have the playmakers to post similar numbers. Mike Gundy loves high-scoring games, going 21-10 ATS (68%) when the total is between 63.5 and 70 as the OSU head coach, but is just 12-22 ATS (35%) in the underdog role.
Which high-scoring Big 12 school will come out on top Saturday? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The four experts are a combined 56% ATS (86-68-7) in college football Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary who is 65% ATS (13-7-1) in college football Best Bets over the past seven weeks and 58% ATS (14-10-1) this year. StatFox Dave is also 58% ATS (28-20-2) in Best Bets this season, while StatFox Brian is 57% ATS (21-16-1) for yearly CFB Best Bets.
With Chelf in at the quarterback position, Oklahoma State has a guy that is going to keep the offense composed and not make many mistakes. While he is being counted upon to be more of a game manager, Chelf still has the weapons on the perimeter to make the big plays. Josh Stewart leads the Cowboys on the season with 34 catches and 483 yards, while also scoring two touchdowns. He is extremely quick and is able to turn a short pass into a long touchdown on any given play. He complements Tracy Moore, (26 catches, 332 yards, 1 TD) who is more of the possession receiver that Chelf will look for on the big third down conversion. While the offense has been solid (38.9 PPG, 23rd in FBS) this season, it is the play of the defense that has the Cowboys still in the Big 12 race. They are currently giving up just 19.6 PPG, which ranks 19th in the country. For many years, they have had a championship worthy offense, but the defense has let them down. Justin Gilbert is one of the best cornerbacks in the country, with the ability to lock down any receiver in the Big 12. Against the offense that the Red Raiders are going to throw at Oklahoma State, he will have plenty of opportunities to make the big play.
Kliff Kingsbury has been quite impressive in the Big 12 in his first year as the Texas Tech coach, but for the first time all year, his team will be coming off a loss. Per usual in Lubbock, the Red Raiders love to throw the ball around the field, ranking third in the country with 413 passing yards per game. Davis Webb, the highly touted freshman has gotten the job after fellow freshman Baker Mayfield’s injury, and has played very sound football. Webb is completing 61 percent of his passes, while throwing 13 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. TE Jace Amaro has become his favorite target, with a rare combination of size and speed at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds. After being suspended for the first half of the game this season, he has at least eight catches and 86 yards in each of the team’s past seven games. The Cowboys will have to slow him down over the middle of the field, so that could create opportunities on the outside for Webb to attack downfield. Like OSU, the Red Raiders are playing their best defense in years, giving up just 21.0 points per game. However, the big play really hurt Texas Tech last weekend in Norman. In that game, the Sooners also carried the ball 50 times for 277 yards, which could be a bad sign, as Roland and the Cowboys' ground attack was so successful last weekend.