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Where: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas
Oklahoma hasn’t lost consecutive regular-season games since 1999. But recent history, along with current trends, suggests that streak is in danger Saturday when the No. 14 Sooners visit unbeaten and No. 24 Texas Tech.
Oklahoma, which has had a week off to digest a 24-19 loss to Kansas State, is 0-3 in Lubbock since 2003 – the same year it last lost consecutive games in the same season.
The Sooners’ suddenly erratic offense faces a surprising Red Raiders’ defense ranked first in the nation in five categories, including passing yards and total yards allowed. Texas Tech ended Oklahoma’s 39-game home winning streak, as well as its national championship hopes, with a 41-38 victory in Norman last season when Seth Doege threw for 441 yards and four touchdowns.
Oklahoma Sooners(2-1, 0-1 Big 12): The Sooners were undone by three costly turnovers against Kansas State. Landry Jones (772 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions), who passed up the NFL draft for a chance at a national championship, fumbled near his own goal line, which led to a score and also threw an interception.
The good news is freshman Sterling Shepard may be emerging as a viable option on the outside next to Kenny Stills (22 catches 301 yards, two touchdowns) after hauling in seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown against Kansas State. Elsewhere, Oklahoma’s improved secondary (123.6 yards per game, second in FBS) will face its first real test.
Texas Tech Red Raiders(4-0, 1-0): Texas Tech and defense have never been synonymous – until this season. That unit has made tremendous strides under new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman with basically the same players (nine starters returned). The defense – although it hasn’t truly been tested yet – has overshadowed Doege and the offense.
Texas Tech is first in the nation, allowing only 167.5 yards per game and a measly 3.1 yards per play. The Red Raiders held Iowa State to 173 yards – 73 through the air – in a 24-13 victory in Ames last week.
Senior cornerback Cornelius Douglas led the way with two interceptions. The offense has been prolific as usual (43.8 points) with Doege (1,189 yards, 15 touchdowns, three interceptions) under center.
1. The Sooners are 18-0 following a regular-season loss since 2004.
2. Oklahoma’s secondary was beaten by the long ball numerous times last season, giving up 241.5 yards per game (79th in FBS).
3. Texas Tech, which was 114th in total defense last season (485.6), ended a five-game conference losing streak last week.