Can Texas Tech Scare Oklahoma Into a Loss?
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are big underdogs at home against Oklahoma, and there's only one way to beat the Sooners: Scare them into being something other than they are.
Texas Tech's only hope to upset the Sooners in Lubbock, Texas is to make the game a horror movie and force Kyler Murray to uncomfortable levels of fright.
It's hard to believe, but the Kyler Murray offense is better than 2017's Baker Mayfield special. They average more points per game; they have more rushing yards per attempt; and Murray's passer rating is better than Mayfield's.
Pretty much every aspect of the Sooners' offensive attack is more polished this season over last.
The good news is, Texas Tech's defense is better, too.
Much has been said, and written, about the 2016 Texas Tech vs Oklahoma game.
That isn't going to happen again. Not this year.
While the Sooners are better than last year, they aren't better than 2016, and Joe Mixon is in Bengals orange this weekend, not crimson and cream. Dede Westbrook is in teal and black with the Jaguars, and Mark Andrews is wearing purple for the Ravens.
Those were two elite offenses, trading body blows.
In 2018, there's only one elite offense in Lubbock this weekend, and they won't be in all black. Now, that's not to say the Red Raiders' offense is bad -- far from it. But young Alan Bowman, Texas Tech's true freshman QB, lacks consistency, and the team's rushing attack has been hit or miss.
Could the plan all come together for a special night? Yes. Totally. And it isn't like the Oklahoma defense is a unit that has stopped anyone cold this year.
The Ruffin McNeill-led unit gave up 27 points to TCU, and 14 to Kansas State. Bowman and the boys are much more explosive than either of those offenses and have the potential to keep up with the Oklahoma offense if Dakota Allen and the defense can make Kyler Murray uncomfortable.
So, how can they do it? How can the Texas Tech defense lead the Red Raiders to a major upset over the best team in the Big 12?
They can take their cue from the Texas Tech social media team and some legendary horror villains. The assorted social media pages have been saturated with content this week, celebrating movies like Saw, Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. I think Texas Tech needs to really take a look at the messages to find a way to beat Oklahoma this week.
The Red Raiders need to set a trap for Murray and the passing game. Disrupt the passing lanes. Disguise coverages. Force Murray to get everyone else involved instead of beating you himself. It's not just Murray; Texas Tech DC David Gibbs has to out scheme Lincoln Riley. Sure, Baker and Murray have been great QBs for the Lincoln system, but it's a whole lot easier to look great when throwing to wide open receivers the entire game.
Set the trap, and make the Sooners play your game.
2. Winter is Coming
Not a horror movie, I know. I don't make the videos.
But winter is here, and the Night King is marching south to take on Kingsbury and Castle Black as the Red Showman and the Night's Watch try to defend their home.
That was a fun sentence to write, but to win this game Texas Tech is going to have to be more 'Feast of Crows,' and less 'Storm of Swords.' The Red Raiders must, MUST, avoid a shootout. They also have to win the turnover battle. When Army almost upset the Sooners, they had the ball for an astounding 44+ minutes. Oklahoma ran just 40 plays, and it took overtime to get it done.
If Texas Tech can hold Oklahoma to 28 points through an overtime period as Army did, they will be having an after party, and the Night King will have melted.
3. Michael Myers
There are 11 movies in the Halloween franchise, but only one truly matters. It spawned the franchise and countless other knockoffs. The OG Michael Myers is invincible. True evil. Unflappable. Bullets, stab wounds, fire, falling off balconies -- none of it matters to Michael Myers.
The Texas Tech team needs to take a page from the book of Myers.
Mistakes can't end drives; you must overcome. 3rd down defensive penalties cannot guarantee touchdowns as they did against Iowa State. There will be adversity in this game, and the Red Raiders cannot let it affect their game. There is only one person truly left standing in the original Halloween, and that's Michael Myers. Even the victims he didn't kill are still victims.
4. The Shining
The Shining isn't about a villain. It's about a sane man slowly going insane until he ends himself. The Jones on Saturday needs to provide an atmosphere where Kyler Murray and the Sooners can beat themselves. The Jones has been that before, and it can be it again.
Kyler Murray needs to see ghosts on Saturday night.
Be sure to listen on air (1340 AM) or with the free 1340 The Fan app to join Rob Breaux, Karson Robinson, and Robert Wright as they will host SportsRadio 1340 The Fan's Countdown to Kickoff before the Oklahoma game, airing from 4 - 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 3rd.
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