Texas Tech thrives on big plays, already producing 38 gains of 25 yards or longer.
Overall, the Red Raiders are one of the nation's top offenses, ranking No. 3 in passing offense, No. 5 in total offense and No. 18 in scoring offense.
“Texas Tech — they're good,” said OSU linebacker Ryan Simmons. “They throw the ball around a lot, so we have to make sure we're good on our coverages and tight on our receivers and not give up too many big plays.”
The Cowboys seem eager to match up, with a defense that ranks in the top 25 nationally in five categories — and just beyond in another, at No. 26 in total defense. OSU has allowed but 20 plays of 20 yards or longer.
“We've got guys on the same page, guys who want to get it done,” said Cowboys tackle James Castleman. “We've got great coaches giving us great information on what we've got to do, putting us in place to be successful. We're able to execute game plans that they give us.”
One key in the game plan Saturday: getting a pass rush.
The Red Raiders are a hard team to sack, with their quick-release passing attack. Still, their quarterbacks have been sacked 15 times in eight games and the Cowboys have done a good job getting pressure. Eleven Cowboys have contributed to 16 sacks and the defense also has 18 quarterback hurries.
“We've got to get pressure this week,” Castleman said. “We know Tech is a good offense. We've got to do a lot of good things, more good things than bad things.”
JUSTIN GILBERT UNPLUGGED
Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert is in the middle of a resurgent senior season, as the cornerback is tied for sixth in the nation with four interceptions.
Away from the football field, what gets Gilbert going?
“I like to shop. My favorite store is Chic. It's a little store in a couple of malls in different cities …
“I watch a lot of cartoons, but mainly Tom and Jerry. That's one of the only shows that has no words in it and you can still pretty much get what's going on. I've been watching that since I was a kid and it's still a great show for me …
“I can't cook. But I can try. My favorite dish to cook is maybe Hamburger Helper, because it's pretty much the easiest …
“Basketball is the sport I maybe would have played if it had not been for football. That's just one that I always play outside of football. A couple of years I played in an intramural league. We almost made it to the championship. We were like one game away. I can dunk. My favorite player is (Derrick) Rose and I try to base my game off of him. Dunking, shooting, driving into the lane. That's pretty much all I do.”
OPPONENT WATCH: TECH READY TO RESPOND
OSU's roster, almost top to bottom, can claim a history of total success in the series with Texas Tech.
Kye Staley, a sixth-year senior, was inactive as a redshirt freshman the last time the Red Raiders won in 2008. Only Tyler Patmon has been on the field in losses to Tech — when he was at Kansas.
So the Cowboys carry a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game, including routs the past two meetings: 66-6 in 2011 and 59-21 a year ago.
It's a trend that resonates in Lubbock, too.
“I just think that they've had our number the last couple of seasons,” said Red Raiders receiver Jace Amaro. “But this is a new year, a new season, and we're not playing as last year.
“I know we lost, and the year before that we lost pretty big, too. We have no other mindset. Just we're going to prepare the same way. It's just another team.”
BY JOHN HELSLEY