As has been the case for a while now, Oklahoma State lost another Game as a favorite when everyone had them pegged as a legit Big 12 and CFP contender. With a slew of winnable Games ahead, the Cowboys will look to get back on track and this week that means facing an undefeated Texas Tech. The Pokes were -11 point road favorites early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
There remains a mystery to this Texas Tech team as they are undefeated and have covered every Game. Beating Eastern Washington, Arizona State and Houston are all solid wins, but we’ll get to know a bit more about the Red Raiders with Conference play beginning. Their defense remains a toss up after allowing 45 points to ASU and that’s going to be the first issue here.
Mason Rudolph was one of the frontrunners for the Heisman until running into TCU. He threw for 398 yards against the Horned Frogs, but also threw two picks and lost at home by 13 points. Texas Tech will try the same bend and not break approach, but it’s easier said than done. This same OK State offense ripped for 45 points in last year’s Game as Rudolph threw for 395 yards and they ran for 210 more. While the Cowboys are mostly the same from Rudolph to Justice Hill in the backfield and James Washington out wide, the Red Raiders have a number of new faces on the offensive side, namely Nic Shimonek at quarterback. He lacks the running aspect of Patrick Mahomes, so this offense is undoubtedly more one-dimensional than it has been.
Still, the only reason Tech lost this Game in Stillwater last year was because of a missed extra point. The Red Raiders battled the entire way and got what was thought to be a Game-tying touchdown, but the ensuing missed XP did them in. Considering what OK State’s defense looked like last week against TCU, its first real test of the season, there’s a decent chance Tech can stay tight in this Game once again.
Shimonek, already with 11 TDs and only one pick, should find room in the passing Game through top receiver Keke Coutee (446 yards, 4 TDs). After moving the ball with ease against this defense on the road last season, Shimonek could do the same thing Mahomes did. Of course, it’s going to require some movement in the ground Game, which isn’t a specialty in the Air Raid. Justin Stockton may be averaging 6.5 yards per carry, but he only has 30 carries in three Games. Tech remains a pass-first team and that may not be a good thing against an offense that can put points up whenever they want on the Tech defense.
OK State will try and get back on the winning track, but covering this Game will come down to what the defense can do. So far, the Pokes have shown little improvement on that end, which will keep them from beating better teams. Rudolph may drop 40 or 50 points in this Game, but there are no signs that OK State can stop Texas Tech and Shimonek from dropping 40 points themselves, especially in LUbbock.
Our Pick – In what figures to be a shootout, willing to take substantial points with the live home dog. Texas Tech +10.5