LUBBOCK, Texas — This Oklahoma State defense has largely lived up to every challenge, climbing the national rankings and earning a reputation for aggressive, momentum-swinging plays.
But as the No. 18 Cowboys' schedule stiffens, so does the caliber of opposing offenses. That starts Saturday night in Lubbock, where No. 15 Texas Tech will bring one of the nation's most potent passing attacks and certainly the best OSU has faced.
“Our guys on the back end (of the defense), we accept the challenge,” cornerback Justin Gilbert said.
Tech ranks third nationally in passing offense (412.9 yards), which has propelled it into a tie for fifth in total offense (537.1 yards) and a No. 18 ranking in scoring offense (39.8 points).
The Red Raiders boast two of the best receiving threats in the conference in Jace Amaro (54 catches, 861 yards, three touchdowns) and Eric Ward (46 catches, 541 yards, five TDs). But tossing the football has been a pair of freshmen, with Davis Webb officially being pegged the Red Raiders' starter this week.
With an offense directed by coach Kliff Kingsbury, the man who used to quarterback Tech's Air Raid attack, the Red Raiders' passing game relies more on timing and accuracy than on throwing deep.
“The ball's out of his hand before breaks (on routes) are made sometimes,” said OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, also noting Webb rarely gives away where he's going to throw the ball with his eyes. “That's hard to get (pass) breakups when you have a quarterback that can throw with that confidence.”