The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The 20th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys have opened the 2010 season with five straight victories and put their perfect record on the line in Lubbock this weekend, when they take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Big 12 action at Jones AT&T Stadium.
Mike Gundy's Cowboys have been one of the nation's most explosive in terms of scoring and have scored over 40 points in four of their five games this year, including last week's 54-28 rout of Louisiana. OSU is 1-0 in Big 12 action thus far with a 38-35 victory over Texas A&M at the close of September and should vie for a Big 12 South crown heading down the stretch.
Tommy Tuberville's Red Raiders have dug themselves into a Big 12 hole at 1-2 in league play. However, the first league win came a week ago, with a shootout victory over Baylor in Dallas (45-38), so the hope is that Texas Tech can build off that victory, something that Tuberville expounded on after the game.
"It feels good to get -- it feels great to get back on the winning track. We've had a much better team than what showed the last couple of weeks. I'm proud of our players. And both teams played hard. We're getting rhythm. Guys are understanding what to do. We've been able to run the ball better. Last weekend, this week. If that continues to work, we'll be able to score a lot of points for the next six or seven games. But this is one win, we'll take it. We've got a lot of big ones coming up."
Texas Tech leads the all-time series with Oklahoma State by a count of 21-13-3, including a 12-2-3 mark in Lubbock. OSU posted a 24-17 victory over Tech in Stillwater a year ago.
One of the most prolific offenses in the nation, Oklahoma State is averaging a robust 52.6 ppg, doing so on a hefty 526.2 yards of total offense. The team has the ability to move the chains both on the ground (164.2 ypg) and through the air (362.0 ypg).
Quarterback Brandon Weeden orchestrates this lethal attack, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes, for 1,610 yards, with 18 TDs. It certainly helps to have the nation's most productive wideout on the outside in Justin Blackmon. The 6-1 sophomore has 47 receptions, for 748 yards and 11 TDs in the first five games, leading the nation in scoring, receptions per game, receiving yards per game and TD receptions.
Weeden has had to take time learning the offense, but continues to feel better with each week.
"I'm getting more and more comfortable every week. After watching film, I wasn't accurate with some of my throws, but as far as the way I operated and little stuff like that with the offense, I felt really good with it. It's probably the best I've operated all year long. I'm getting more and more comfortable every week and it shows."
The ground game is left in the capable hands of tailback Kendall Hunter. One of the nation's premier ball carriers, Hunter is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and 140.0 yards per game. He is responsible for nine of the team's 10 rushing TDs to date.
The Cowboys have not performed with similar dominance on the defensive side of things, but then again, they haven't needed to. OSU is allowing 29.2 ppg and has been particularly vulnerable to the pass (290.8 ypg), due in large part to team's abandoning the run to keep up. Where this unit has excelled however, is in making big plays. The Cowboys have recorded 14 sacks on the year as well as 16 turnovers. Senior MLB Orie Lemon paces the defense in tackles with 45. Senior CB Andrew McGee (14 tackles) has been a force in the secondary, with three INTs and a forced fumble to his credit.
The Red Raiders will definitely test OSU's secondary, as they bring their own lethal passing attack into this contest. Quarterback Taylor Potts is coming off one of his best performances, throwing for 462 yards and four TDs in the win over Baylor last week. On the season, TTU is now putting up almost 37 ppg, fueled by a passing game that nets 333.2 ypg.
Potts is the straw that stirs the drink in Lubbock, completing 66.3 percent of his pass attempts, for 1,649 yards, with 17 TDs and just four INTs. While OSU's Blackmon is having a truly remarkable season, wideout Lyle Leong isn't far behind, hauling in 34 balls for 461 yards and nine TDs.
The Red Raider defense is a lot like OSU's in that the team seems susceptible to the pass (279.6 passing yards allowed per game). A strong pass rush is present, with Tech amassing 15 sacks thus far. Senior rush end Brian Duncan is one of the Big 12's best in that regard. Of his 25 total tackles, 8.5 have come behind the line of scrimmage, including six sacks. Freshman cornerback Jarvis Phillips has burst on the scene as one of Tech's top playmakers in the secondary (24 tackles, four INTs), while senior Bront Bird (team-high 39 tackles) highlights the play in the linebacking corps.