Five Keys To Beating Texas Tech

Last season the OU/Texas Tech game was crucial towards determining the Big 12 conference champion. Had the Red Raiders been able to pull the upset in Norman then it would have been them putting a spanking on Missouri instead of Oklahoma. Instead the Sooners used the 65-21 thumping of Tech as a springboard into the conference championship and on to the BCS title game.

The game plan for beating Texas Tech hasn't changed from last season but the location of the game has and that may prove to be the biggest factor. The Sooners are averaging 49.8 points at Memorial Stadium but just 16.8 away from home. Even worse the Sooners are 1-4 this season away from Norman. Some of that has to do with opponents (OU has played 3 ranked opponents away from home) and yet even more with their ability to just function properly away from home. The Sooners proved last season that the game plan for beating Tech isn't complicated and hey, if Texas A&M can do it then the Sooners should be able to follow these five simple steps.

5. Force Turnovers - Last year Tech gave up two fumbles and had a pick which greatly hampered their offensive effort. This year Taylor Potts has thrown 10 interceptions and Steven Sheffield 4. Oklahoma has to get as many scoring opportunities as possible against the Red Raiders and conversely take as many as they possibly can away from them.

4. Pressure The Quarterback - Oklahoma registered four quarterback sacks in last years contest. This year OU's defensive front is better and Tech's offensive line is much worse. Texas Tech has given up 27 quarterback sacks so far this season so there's no reason to believe that Oklahoma can't get the pressure on. With Texas Tech's spread attack they are going to have receivers running everywhere making it extremely difficult to keep everyone accounted for all the time. The best thing to do is make the quarterback run for his life and put him on his back as much as possible. It's hard to find the open receiver when you're laid out on your back.

3. Avoid The Jitters - The Jekyll and Hyde routine is getting old and frankly its time that this team grow out of it. Tech is a hostile environment which means that the crowd will be rowdy, the team will be jacked and mistakes will only feed the frenzy. Know the snap count, beat your man and dominate.

2. Protect The Quarterback - Basically take everything from point two and apply it here with a focus on the Sooners. Sam Bradford is gone because they couldn't protect him and the depth chart at the quarterback position isn't that deep. Oklahoma has given up 9 sacks this season and it should go without saying that the offense runs a lot smoother when Landry is upright.

1. Run The Football - This offense isn't anywhere near as explosive as the one that ran Texas Tech out of the stadium last year so the last thing we want to see is a shootout. Oklahoma needs to control the tempo and the time of possession. They need to keep the Red Raiders offense off the field and to do that they must run the football.

It will be a bit of a challenge for the Sooners because running the ball hasn't really been Oklahoma's bread and butter this season. However, DeMarco Murray is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and Chris Brown 4.4 and they'll be going up against a Tech defense that ranks 8th against the rush so were not necessarily talking about mission impossible here.  

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