Time & TV: Saturday, 11 a.m. CT, FOX
Line: Oklahoma -27
OU’s first game against Matt Wells-led Texas Tech
Much to the dismay of rest of the Big 12’s teams, Kliff Kingsbury was fired this offseason. He was replaced by Utah State’s Matt Wells in what was a bit of an unusual hire for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Wells has said that he wants to transition away from the air raid, but so far 2019 Tech looks a lot like 2018 Tech (at least from a schematic standpoint). As far as actual production is concerned, things have been a bit less smooth, as Texas Tech ranks No. 69 nationally in offensive SP+, which is actually not nice at all. Plus, that’s the ranking with Alan Bowman, who will be out for some time.
The Red Raiders have thrown the ball 55, 48, and 55 times respectively in their first three games. Expect that to down slightly with Duffey getting at least some of the snaps, but they’ll still throw a lot against a Sooner secondary that is still far from a finished product.
Texas Tech QB situation
Texas Tech starting quarterback Alan Bowman is out with a shoulder injury, and Wells has indicated that junior Jett Duffey and Rice graduate transfer Jackson Tyner will both play on Saturday. So far this season Duffey and Tyner have thrown a combined total of four passes and completed only one.
Duffey played quite a bit last year against OU and is known as a much better scrambler than a passer. Tyner probably has the better arm of the two, but his lack of in-game experience despite being a senior (along with the fact that he didn’t win the job at Rice) can’t inspire too much confidence. Look to see each of these guys situationally, which — to some extent — could tip off the Oklahoma defense as to Tech’s intentions.
Keith Patterson’s defense
Through three games, Texas Tech’s defense is No. 22 nationally in defensive SP+. It’s obviously a small sample size, but considering that the Red Raiders haven’t finished with a mark that high since Ruffin McNeill was running the unit in 2009, it’s certainly impressive. The man behind the resurgence in Keith Patterson, whose Sooner State connections include growing up in Marlow, being the head football coach at Edmond Santa Fe High School (1994) and serving as TU’s co-DC for five seasons (2006-10).
Patterson has been able to accomplish a lot with aggression, as he’s been know to dial up the pressure and puts a heavy emphasis on disruption. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Having said that, his defense will be facing a different beast on Saturday, and while this group might be able to keep things somewhat competitive for a quarter, I’d expect the floodgates open at some point.
Reports surfaced during the bye week that freshman Trejan Bridges, a five-star 2019 WR recruit, has been taking reps at safety during practice. Bridges played some defensive back in high school and reportedly approached Riley about possibly switching to the other side of the ball.
There’s almost no chance Alex Grinch would actually play Bridges at safety this week given the timeframe. The more interesting thing to watch for is whether or not Bridges plays at all on offense, especially if the game is in hand in the second half. Oklahoma has only played three games so far this season and thus could still redshirt and take the year to learn the defensive scheme if that’s the road OU decides to go down. Whether or not he checks into the game could be an indicator of what his future as a Sooner holds.
Tech will be the best team OU has played up to this point, but that’s obviously not saying much at all. With Bowman out, it’s really hard to envision Tech being able to score enough points to keep pace with OU’s offense.
OU’s had two weeks to prepare for this game, and I expect the defense to come out and make a statement.
Oklahoma 55, Texas Tech 20