Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-1 SU, 0-3 ATS) vs. No. 24 Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date and Time: Thursday September 25th, 2014. 7:30PM EST
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium Stillwater, O.K.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TT +13.5/OSU -13.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
Thursday night football stays in the Big 12 this week when the Texas Tech Red Raiders go into Stillwater for a meeting with the no. 24 Oklahoma State Cowboys. Last week, Kansas State proved to the nation just how difficult it is to go on the road in one of the tougher Big 12 environments as the Wildcats nearly knocked off no. 5 Auburn in a game that was much closer than experts expected. This Thursday the Cowboys take center stage inside Boone Pickens Stadium where they have won 22 of their last 25 games in Stillwater.
The visiting Red Raiders will enter Stillwater as 13.5 point underdogs this Thursday after suffering their first loss of the season last week against Arkansas 49-28. Last week’s loss highlighted some of the same defensive problems that plagued head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s first year in Lubbock last year. The Red Raiders were trampled for 438 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. Arkansas running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams ran wild against the Texas Tech defense to combine for 357 yards and 6 touchdowns. It was the same type of poor defensive performance that Red Raiders’ fans remember all too well from their 2013 campaign.
After a perfect 8-0 start last year, Texas Tech closed out the year by losing 5 straight games. The common theme throughout those 5 losses was the inability of the Red Raiders defense to stop the run just as it was last week against Arkansas. Texas Tech gave up nearly 300 yards on average during their 5 game losing streak to end 2013 and it appears those problems are still just as evident as they were a year ago. The Red Raiders now how the tall task of slowing down a Cowboys offense that is averaging just less than 40 points per game.
The Cowboys have a very balanced offense that could easily continue to frustrate the Red Raiders defensive problems. While the Cowboys are not overwhelmingly dominate on the ground, they still have a solid group of running backs with Rennie Childs and Desmand Roland. Considering how awful Texas Tech has been against the run, the passing game should open up if Roland and Childs are able to keep the chains moving. Once the passing game opens up, it will be up to Daxx Garman to take advantage. Garman took over the starting role for injured quarterback J.W Walsh and has played well to throw for 559 yards with 4 touchdowns and 0 picks through just two games of action. In those two games, Oklahoma State has battled against inferior competition. Though Texas Tech’s defense is not exactly a big jump in competition, it will still be interesting to see how Garman plays in his first big game in front of a nationally televised audience.
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If Oklahoma State stalls on offense, Texas Tech has the firepower to make this game interesting. The Red Raiders offense has a lot of talent on the edges with wide outs Jakeem Grant and Bradley Marquez. Not to mention they have a quarterback in Davis Webb that is a flat gun slinger. Webb has completed 65% of his passing for 982 yards with 10 touchdowns and 4 picks through his first 3 games. In fact, Webb has led the Red Raiders to become one of the most prolific passing offenses in college football throughout the early part of 2014. Therefore rest assured this Red Raiders offense will be able to move the football this Thursday. The key will be how often Texas Tech can avoid turnovers and cash in on touchdowns which will determine their ability to contend in this game.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I do not believe the Red Raiders have the talent to go into Stillwater and keep this game in reach. Oklahoma State plays very well in Boone Pickens and I think they roll Thursday night. Add to the fact, Texas Tech is just 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games overall and just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road trips. My prediction is that Oklahoma State covers the -13.5