NORMAN — Texas Tech’s 10-0 start can largely be explained by three statistics. Four-hundred ninety-nine pass attempts. Six interceptions thrown.
Five sacks allowed. Tech’s penchant for avoiding negative plays has been remarkable. In back-to-back wins over Texas and Oklahoma State, Red Raider quarterback Graham Harrell threw 103 times with eight TDs, no picks and was only sacked twice. The challenge for Oklahoma’s defense this weekend against Tech will be to continue what it has been doing the last month: inflicting negative plays on the opponent. Since a 45-35 loss to Texas, in which the Sooners failed to record a turnover, OU has been as opportunistic as any defense in the Big 12. The Sooners have forced 15 turnovers over the last four games, which have led to easy victories. Saturday won’t be easy against Tech, the nation’s No. 2 team. The Red Raiders are third in the nation in scoring, averaging almost 48 points a game. Harrell is the frontrunner in the Heisman race. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree is also a Heisman contender. With that kind of skill, the Red Raiders are sure to score their share of points against a Sooner defense that is allowing almost 31 points a game against Big 12 competition. But if OU can counter with forced turnovers to set its offense up with great field position, the Sooners will send Tech back to Lubbock with its first loss of the season.
Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech
→When: 7 p.m. Saturday →Where: Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman →TV: ABC (Cox 8) →Radio: KOKC-AM 1520, KRXO-FM 107.7 →Live blog: blog.newsok.com/ou Intercepting Leach’s offense
This year, Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell has only tossed five interceptions in 463 attempts. But picking off passes has been a big key for OU in disrupting Tech’s efficient offense under Mike Leach. In the eight meetings between Leach and OU, the Sooners have intercepted a combined 19 passes and have held Tech to an average of 20 points a game: →2000: OU 27, Tech 13 (Norman) INTs: 2 →2001: OU 30, Tech 13 (Lubbock) INTs: 2 →2002: OU 60, Tech 15 (Norman) INTs: 2 →2003: OU 56, Tech 25 (Lubbock) INTs: 5 →2004: OU 28, Tech 13 (Norman) INTs: 3 →2005: Tech 23, OU 21 (Lubbock) INTs: 2 →2006: OU 34, Tech 24 (Norman) INTs: 1 →2007: Tech 34, OU 27 (Lubbock) INTs: 2 By Jake Trotter