Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are two teams known for their explosive spread offenses.
But the matchup between the Cowboys and Red Raiders on Saturday will feature two defenses that have improved in key statistical categories.
OSU isn't creating the same volume of turnovers as in 2011, but has jumped from 107th to 56th in the nation in total defense by giving up about 67 fewer yards per game. The Cowboys have also seen a dramatic improvement in rushing defense, from 90th in the NCAA (184.92 yards allowed per game) to tied for 26th this season (129.22 yards per game).
Tech, meanwhile, has risen from 114th in the nation in total defense last season to 18th by allowing 161 fewer yards per game under new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman.
“They don't really give up a lot of big plays,” OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken said of Tech. “They keep a lot of things in front. I think they're really chasing the ball and playing with effort, and they're not as beat up as they were last year.”
OSU, of course, hung 66 points and 637 yards on the Red Raiders a season ago.
STEWART CLIMBING NATIONAL RANKINGS
Josh Stewart continues to climb the national rankings for receivers after hauling in 13 catches for 172 yards against West Virginia.
The sophomore is now eighth in the country in receptions per game (7.67), 20th in receiving yards per game (93.11) and 26th in total receiving yards (838).
“He's always been a good athlete,” Monken said. “You can get him the ball in space. But I think he's obviously become more and more confident in his route-running ability. And we try to find ways to move him around, like we should.
“The one thing that was impressive (against WVU) is he made some nice catches. He's had moments where he had a drop against Iowa State and a fumble, those kinds of things. (He needs to work on) just being consistent. We wear him out a lot.”
Tech starting linebacker Terrance Bullitt will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury, coach Tommy Tuberville told reporters in Lubbock on Monday. Bullitt, who had battled chronic pain for much of the season, is expected to undergo surgery this week.
“We hate that,” Tuberville said. “Same shoulder, and he just couldn't go anymore.”
In Bullitt's absence, Tuberville said sophomores Sam Eguavoen and Zach Winbush will see more playing time.