Lubbock, TX – A loss in their last game dropped the Oklahoma Sooners in the national polls, and they will attempt to rebound in Lubbock this week when they face off against the undefeated Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Oklahoma had risen to No. 5 in the AP Poll following a 2-0 start, but the team faltered at home against nationally-ranked Kansas State in its last game, losing 24-19. It was a rare defeat for Bob Stoops in Norman as his team has lost just four of his 82 games there, with the Sooners last home defeat coming in September of 2005 against TCU (17-10).
Texas Tech has gotten off to a fast start, winning four straight to open the season, including an impressive 24-13 win on the road over Iowa State to open its Big 12 slate. The win for the Red Raiders snapped a five-game losing streak in conference play.
Oklahoma leads the all-time series with Texas Tech, 13-6, although the Sooners are just 4-4 in games played in Lubbock over the years.
One 69-point outburst for the Oklahoma offense against FCS foe Florida A&M has skewed its offensive stats through three games (37.3 ppg, 491.7 ypg), as the unit has tallied just 43 combined points in its other two matchups.
"We need to just be more precise in what we are doing," Stoops said of his offense. "Receivers, quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, offensive line, (it) just seems like we are a little off. Just precision in what we are doing and focusing on the little things."
A Heisman hopeful in the preseason, quarterback Landry Jones has not lived up to expectations, completing 63.6 percent of his passes for 772 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He is on pace for his lowest touchdown total since his freshman season, and he has already been sacked six times compared to just 10 all of last year.
Kenny Stills has been Jones's favorite target in the passing game, hauling in 22 balls for 301 yards and a pair of scores. Most of Sterling Shepard's production (10 receptions, 156 yards, TD) came last week in a 108-yard performance against Kansas State.
Damie Williams and Dom Whaley have an even split in the backfield with 30 carries apiece. Whaley has been productive with 168 yards and a touchdown, but Williams has shown remarkable explosiveness with 293 yards (9.8 ypc) and five scores.
The Sooners defense is historically solid and is off to a fine start this season (14.7 ppg), but it couldn't stop Collin Klein and the Wildcats late in the game last week, allowing 14 fourth-quarter points.
The OSU defense has been virtually non-existent in the turnover battle, with the team's lone takeaway coming on a Javon Harris interception against Florida A&M. Jamarkus McFarland leads the team with three tackles for loss and two sacks.
Texas Tech has been able to move the ball with relative ease through its first four games, ranking eighth in the nation in total offense (547 ypg) and 11th in scoring (43.8 ppg).
Seth Doege has tossed 15 touchdown passes, which ranks behind only West Virginia's Geno Smith (20) and Baylor's Nick Florence (16) for tops in the country. He's been incredibly efficient with his passes as well, completing more than 71 percent of his throws (105-of-147) for 1,189 yards with only three interceptions.
Doege does a great job distributing the ball to several different receivers, as six players have 12 or more catches. Eric Ward (238 yards, four TDs), Jace Amaro (209 yards, three TDs) and Darrin Moore (142 yards, four TDs) are the standouts in the receiving corps.
The Red Raiders are far from just a passing team this year, as Kenny Williams (321 yards) and Eric Stephens (253 yards) both average more than 6.5 yards per carry and have combined for four touchdowns. SaDale Foster (34 carries, 165 yards) has also gotten into the mix.
While everyone expects Tech to roll out a high-powered offense every season, the play of the defense has been the real story as the unit has stifled opponents to the tune of 10.8 ppg, fifth-best in the country.
Cornelius Douglas intercepted a pair of passes against Iowa State en route to winning the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. Cody Davis also had an interception and has a team-high 23 tackles and two picks on the season.
"It's really good," Douglas said of the defense. "We were basically last in defense last year. Coach (Tuberville) keeps telling us to run hard and run to the ball. We need to do our key things, if we do our key things we are going to win ball games. That's what we've been doing and it is showing on the field."