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October 12, 2010

Role players must step up

It has been well publicized that Oklahoma State's last win in Lubbock came in 1944, but could this be the Cowboys' best chance since the Big 12 formed? We will see.

OSU is one of 13 unbeaten teams in the nation, but will face by far their toughest test Saturday vs. Texas Tech.

Texas Tech currently is 114th in the nation in pass defense, giving up 279.6 yards a game, while OSU is second in the nation in passing offense, averaging 362 yards per game.

The Red Raiders will most likely build their defensive game plan around stopping Justin Blackmon, the national leader in scoring, receptions per game, receiving yards per game, and touchdown receptions.

"He knows he's the best player on the field," said offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen.

While that hasn't been a successful game plan for opposing teams thus far, OSU must be prepared to go to a different option if Blackmon isn't open. Tech is giving up 126 rushing yards a game, so Kendall Hunter could be a viable option if the Red Raiders decide to give extra attention to Blackmon.

What about another option at WR? OSU's current second leading WR, Josh Cooper, may miss the game due to a head injury sustained last week against Louisiana-Lafayette, but his status remains uncertain. Joseph Randle could play a big part in Saturday's bout, coming in with 11 receptions for 146 yards. Hubert Anyiam's status is also uncertain after sustaining a sprained ankle in the second half of last week's game. Michael Harrison, Bo Bowling, Colton Chelf, and Tracy Moore could step up to become factors in Saturday's game. Harrison, however, is likely out for the Tech game following surgery on Monday to repair a broken finger sustained against Louisiana-Lafayette. This air raid offense is potent because of the various number of options, but thus far, it has been fairly one sided on the receiving end, with Blackmon coming in with 47 receptions. How the other WRs fare against a young secondary will be one of the aspects of the game to look out for.

While the numbers on OSU's defense do not look very impressive (89th in total defense), they are improving. The Cowboy's rushing defense is 29th in country. Texas Tech comes into the game with the 4th ranked passing offense and the 103rd ranked rushing offense. Making the Red Raiders one dimensional should help the relatively young OSU defense.

While Blackmon and Hunter will be important in this match up, the other wideouts and tailbacks could decide this game. This offense is looking to regain its rhythm and consistency. It has showed spurts, but spurts vs. Tech could put your team in a big deficit with the way the Raiders' offense played last week vs. Baylor.

The last key for Saturday's game will be the Cowboys' ability to put pressure on Taylor Potts. When given time, Potts has proven he can do some damage (462 yards and 4 TDs vs. Baylor). The OSU defense pitched a shutout last week in the 2nd half, but this Texas Tech offense is a whole different monster.

The Cowboys face their toughest test yet, but could have their best chance to win down in Lubbock in quite some time with the emergence of Blackmon and the return of Kendall Hunter. But, the key to the game will be can the Cowboys be consistent on offense, while slowing down Potts and the Red Raider offense.


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