Oklahoma St.-Texas Tech Preview
The 15th-ranked Red Raiders will focus on holding onto the football Saturday night at home against No. 18 Oklahoma State while trying to bounce back from their first loss of the season.
A minus-6 season turnover margin accompanied the Red Raiders (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) home from Norman after Saturday's 38-30 loss.
"You cannot come into this stadium against this team with those coaches and those athletes and do that," Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "... We knew coming in that we couldn't have the turnovers, but we didn't take care of business."
Kingsbury's team is tied for ninth most in FBS with 19 turnovers, 12 of which have been interceptions from freshmen quarterbacks Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield.
Webb has thrown seven and will start Saturday.
He threw two against the Sooners with two touchdowns on 33 of 53 for 385 yards. He's thrown the ball an average of 53 times in the last three games for 420.7 yards.
Webb connected with Jace Amaro eight times for 119 yards. The standout tight end has at least eight catches and 86 yards in his last seven games. But his second-quarter fumble led to an Oklahoma touchdown on the next play and a 14-7 Sooners lead.
"As an offense, we've done a terrible job this season giving the ball away, and that's been a big part of our season of being in close games like that," Amaro said. "You can't turn the ball over. That was a huge reason why we lost. A lot of that was because I turned the ball over once."
The Red Raiders' 460 yards of offense was their first game under 500 yards since Sept. 12 against TCU. Their 412.9 passing yards per game ranks third in the country.
The Cowboys (6-1, 3-1) can't boast such impressive passing numbers, but they've also only turned the ball over 10 times and have a plus-9 turnover margin with 12 takeaways in the last three weeks. Their 13 interceptions are tied for eighth in the country.
Oklahoma State's ground game proved too much for Iowa State on Saturday, as Desmond Roland set career highs with 219 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries in his first career start.
The Cowboys totaled 342 rushing yards in a 58-27 victory one week after they were held to 95 in a win over TCU.
"He's worked hard and he got more carries," Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. "The majority of it falls on our offensive line and their ability to block so that the running backs don't have to make a cut in the backfield.
"This was the first game that we were able to play that we had the same starting five, for the most part, as the game before. There was some consistency in practice over a two-week period. I would like to think that has an effect and hopefully they will continue to improve as we move forward."
The Cowboys also have quarterback uncertainty. Clint Chelf started against Iowa State after replacing J.W. Walsh versus TCU, but he's completed just 20 of 51 passes in that time with a pair of interceptions.
"We need to throw the football better, period," Gundy said. "If you look at the opponent we're playing this week, they're scoring and they've been effective in throwing the football. There's three phases in a game. We all know that. At some point, you have to match them where their strength is."
The Cowboys have won four in a row against the Red Raiders, the last two by a combined 125-27 score. They cruised to a 66-6 victory in the most recent meeting in Lubbock on Nov. 12, 2011.
"You're coming back home to play against a team that's really embarrassed you the last two years, to put it bluntly," Kingsbury said. "I don't think there should be any problem with getting them motivated to play this game, and everything's out in front of them. If you want to win the Big 12, you're going to have to win the rest of the games anyways, and I think they see that."