The last time Texas Tech traveled to Norman they ended Oklahoma's 39-game home winning streak with a shocking 41-38 upset win over the Sooners. It was the first of three home losses for Bob Stoops since the 2011 season and it brought about an end to an era in which Owen Field was the most intimidating place in America for team's to visit.
Two years later, Tech returns to Norman with an undefeated record and a national ranking higher than Oklahoma's. The last time that happened was the 2008 season and the Sooners won in a lopsided affair, providing a moment that will live on in OU football legacy for quite some time.
Looking for a bit of redemption of his own, Kingsbury has his own demons to exorcise in Norman. After beating OU, in Lubbock, as a freshman in 1999, he lost three consecutive games against the Sooners including a 60-15 blowout in his senior campaign of 2002. This makes Saturday's game an all-around grudge match between two groups trying to erase nightmares that have haunted them through time.
Of course no one is willing to compare this team to the 2008 Sooners but, the point is, Oklahoma has a lot to gain and Tech has a lot to lose in this game. OU was bounced from the conference title race by the Texas Longhorns a couple of weeks ago but can make up some ground by taking down one of the Big Twelve's unbeatens on Saturday. Tech is off to their best start since the 2008 season and seem to be on a collision course with Baylor to settle the conference title. A loss in Norman would be just as catastrophic to them as Oklahoma's loss was to Texas less than two weeks ago.
The Red Raiders are second in the nation in passing offense with an average of 416.4 yards per game. The incredible thing is that they've accomplished this feat with two different quarterbacks making starts. Freshman Davis Webb stepped in for the injured Baker Mayfield and guided Tech to a 37-27 win over West Virginia, in Morgantown, last week. On the season he's completed 60.8% of his passes for 1,427 yards and has thrown 11 touchdowns to five interceptions. He'll most likely get the starting nod against the Sooners.
"We've faced a lot of good offenses, but Tech is doing a lot of good things on that side of the ball, and they're finding ways to get the ball in the air and score points. We know that it will be a challenge, but if we play our game we should be alright." - Aaron Colvin
Junior tight end Jace Amaro is not only the leading receiver for Texas Tech, he's also the best tight end in the Big Twelve. At 6-5/260, he's the embodiment of the type of players Oklahoma's has enjoyed in the past but has also missed in recent seasons. He's almost too big for a defensive back to match-up against and he's too fast for linebackers to run with. Averaging 13.3 yards per reception, he has 56 catches on the season and three scores. He'll definitely be a player that the Sooner defense will be looking to scheme around.
"He's a big target, he's very experienced, he reads coverages very well, he knows how to get open. Those are all important characteristics and he has great hands. He is a very complete player and there are no holes in his game." - Mike Stoops on Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro
Junior receiver Bradley Marquez leads the team in yards per reception (13.8) and touchdown receptions (5) but don't be fooled into thinking that the Tech passing attack is limited to just two options. Amaro and Marquez are just two of eight players who have caught a combined 19 touchdown passes.
While running the ball has been a distant second option for the Red Raiders they are still very efficient at it. Kenny Williams and DeAndre Washington average 3.5 yards per carry or better and have a combined 10 rushing touchdowns. They are both terrific options to come out of the backfield in the passing game as well.
The Texas Tech offensive line is solid but not great. They are paving the way for a team rushing average of 3.8 yards per carry and have allowed 12 quarterback sacks.
The Tech defense is allowing opponents to score an average of 18.7 points per game which is the fourth best in the conference and 16th in the nation. They are third in the Big Twelve against the rush, with an average 123.1 yards per game allowed, but seventh against the pass with opponents posting 234.9 yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 56.5% of their passes against a Red Raider defense who has given up six touchdowns through the air while also picking off five passes.
J.J. Gaines has snagged two of the five interceptions to lead the team and also has 16 tackles. A sophomore from Irving, TX, Gaines has a good jump on the ball and can make a quarterback pay for a bad decision. Will Smith is the heart of the Tech defense. The senior linebacker leads the team in tackles (47) and sacks (3.5). The Red Raiders have recorded 18 sacks and forced seven fumbles which has been the catalysis towards the team's resurgent defense. Kerry Hyder seems to live in the opponent's backfield where he's made 10 tackles for loss but he's not alone there. Tech has a combined 21 players who have made 54 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.