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October 23, 2011

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Texas Tech notched a monumental, potentially program-defining win Saturday against Oklahoma in Norman. The Red Raiders snapped the Sooners' 39-game home winning streak and have, at least for the time being, derailed OU's national championship hopes.

THREE THINGS WE LEARNED

1. I was dead wrong. I kept bouncing back and forth on this game last week. I thought there was a chance that Texas Tech could keep it interesting for a little while, but ultimately leaned more toward the Sooners rolling the Red Raiders as they typically do in Norman.

Pass the ketchup, please. I need to eat some crow.

Leading up to the game, there were signs that Tech could hang with Oklahoma. Bob Stoops' team hadn't faced an offense comparable to Neal Brown's this season. OU had faced a string of average to below average quarterbacks during its first six games, none comparable to Seth Doege. The Red Raiders were able to move the ball easily against Kansas State's Big 12-leading defense the week before, and the Sooners had surrendered over 500 yards of offense at home to Missouri in late September.

Still eating.

Yet virtually no one, myself very much included, gave those factors much weight when discussing the matchup. I looked at Oklahoma and only saw the series' lopsided history in Norman. I looked at Tech and only saw its back-breaking mistakes over the last two weeks, not that it was arguably three or four plays away from being undefeated. I looked at the 29-point point spread and thought, given the Red Raiders' struggles this season and history in Norman, it was probably pretty accurate.

Wrong, wrong and wrong again.

2. Doege is unflappable. Last week, I wrote that we would "learn a lot about Doege" in Norman, and see how he "handles his first truly hostile environment" and whether he could bounce back from a bad game.

Well, any questions?

Doege threw for more yards (441) than Tech has ever had total in a single game in Norman during the Big 12 era. Sonny Cumbie led the Red Raiders to 425 yards of total offense in 2004, which was the program's high-mark in Norman heading into the weekend. Doege's 441 passing yards are also the most for any Tech quarterback against OU.

It's about more than stats, though. Doege handled the pressure, both tangible and intangible, well on Saturday. He wasn't fazed by the delayed start or Deveric Gallington's low snaps in the first half -- credit to Gallington for the job he did Saturday, and it's worth noting his improvement on snaps in the second half. Doege wasn't intimidated by the interlocking OU on the Sooners' helmets, Oklahoma's 39-game home winning streak or their seven national championships.

The rest of the team feeds off of that. Teams are oftentimes extensions of their quarterback, and we've seen that in Lubbock several times over the last decade. Taylor Potts was inconsistent during his two-seasons as a starter, and so was his team. Graham Harrell stepped up in big games and didn't back down from anyone, and his team was the same way. B.J. Symons was cocky and oozed swagger, and the Red Raiders fed off of that in 2003.

3. Glasgow's defense continues to improve. The numbers haven't always been pretty, but Chad Glasgow's undermanned defense has made winning football plays in each of the last three weeks.

Otis Mounds' secondary, with former walk-ons Brett Dewhurst, Eugene Neboh and Sawyer Vest playing the bulk of the game, held Landry Jones to his worst completion rate at home (54.5 percent) since completing just 47 percent of his passes against Utah State in the 2010 season-opener.

Perhaps the best examples of Tech's defensive success Saturday are the third-down numbers. Tech prevented OU from converting on 12-of-17 third-down attempts. Not only that, but the Sooners entered Saturday's game having been held to just 10 three-and-outs on the season; Tech forced six on Saturday. OU's offense hadn't been held to more than two three-and-outs in seven-straight game.

All that with no Blake Dees, Donald Langley, Derrick Mays or Jarvis Phillips.

OBSCENELY OBLIGATORY OVERREACTION

BIG 12 POWER RANKINGS
1. Okla. State -Cowboys control their own destiny. Win out, and Pokes are in the BCS Championship Game.
2. Kansas State - Bill Snyder's Wildcats dominated Kansas in all facets Saturday.
3. Texas A&M - Sluggish, ugly win against Iowa State but never easy to win on the road.
4. Texas Tech - Tommy Tuberville's young Red Raiders shocked the college football world on Saturday.
5. Oklahoma - Bob Stoops hasn't lost a home game in six years, spotlight on Sooners as they head to KSU.
T6. Baylor - The last time we saw Baylor, they were getting seal-clubbed by A&M. Big test Saturday against OSU.
T6. Texas - Thanks to LHN, most will be spared from watching UT's game against KU.
7. Missouri - M-I-Z may be heading to S-E-C, but Tigers are very A-V-E-R-A-G-E.
9. Iowa State - Backup quarterback Jared Barnett will get his first start Saturday against Texas Tech.
10. Kansas - Terribad
One of the dominant Tech-related conversations last week on RRS, on Double T 104.3 and around the Hub City was whether or not the Red Raiders, coming off of two straight home losses, could extend their 18-season bowl eligibility streak.

That line of thinking has now been replaced, and fans have gone from one end of the spectrum to the other -- where fans once saw losses, they now see wins. And, in many respects, I get that. If Tech is capable of playing that well against Oklahoma in Norman, matchups against average to above-average teams like Texas, Missouri and Baylor all of a sudden don't look so daunting.

It will be interesting to see how the Red Raiders respond to this win. No one outside of the football program expected Saturday's outcome. Now, all they're going to hear about over the next few days is how great they are and how they're expected to demolish Iowa State on Saturday.

If Tech doesn't take the Cyclones seriously, they could find themselves facing the same reality that OU is today. Paul Rhoads' bunch will head to Lubbock with the same nothing-to-lose attitude that Tech took with them to Norman.

WEEKEND SUPERLATIVES

Most Likely To Be Reincarnated As Burnt Toast - Gabe Lynn. The Red Raiders picked on Lynn, who filled in for an injured Jamell Fleming, for three quarters before he was finally put out of his misery and benched. But excuse me if I don't feel much sympathy for the Sooners. Lynn is a third-year sophomore and was a Rivals100 prospect coming out of high school. Tech doesn't have a starter with that kind of pedigree in their entire secondary, let alone a backup.

Speaking of toast...

Lubbock's New Official Sandwich - Peanut butter and jelly. With kickoff delayed Saturday due to lightning in the area, the Red Raiders returned to the locker room, listened to music and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that the team's hotel had handed out before they left for the stadium.

Sooner Killers - Alex Torres and Aaron Crawford. When healthy, Torres seems to play his best against Oklahoma. He caught four passes for 94 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday, and had 11 catches for 163 yards and a score in 2009 -- both were wins. Crawford didn't put up monster statistics against the Sooners, but he'll end his career undefeated against OU as a starter.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

There were four Big 12 games on Saturday, and the visitor won all of them. This marks the first time since Oct. 14, 2000 that the league's Saturday slate has been swept by the road teams.

Through 19 Big 12 games, the average score has been 45.7 to 25.7. Only one of those 19 games has been won by a team that has scored less than 30 points (Kansas State 24, Missouri 17).

The Big 12 has five teams -- Oklahoma State (45.8), Oklahoma (44.5), Texas A&M (40.5), Kansas State (40) and Tech (40) -- averaging 40 or more points per game in conference play.

In Big 12 play, the Red Raiders lead all conference teams in total offense (551.2) and passing yards (417.5) per game and are fourth in total defense (436.5).

Tommy Tuberville and Tech both logged their first victory over a top-ranked team on the road with the Red Raiders' victory over Oklahoma -- the Sooners were ranked No. 1 in the Coaches Poll. This was Tuberville's second win over a top-ranked opponent as a head coach; while at Auburn, the Tigers topped No. 1 Florida 23-21 in 2001.

Iowa State has lost its first four Big 12 games by double-digits and hasn't scored more than 26 points in four quarters of play since beating Kansas 28-16 on Oct. 30, 2010; the Cyclones scored 30 and 44 points in overtime games against Nebraska (2010) and Iowa (2011).

In case you missed it, Bill Snyder held a coaching clinic Saturday in Lawrence. Kansas State rolled all over Kansas 59-21 and head into a monster home matchup against Oklahoma.

Missouri could very well exit for the SEC after posting a losing record in its final season in the Big 12. The Tigers are 3-4 (1-3 Big 12) heading into a road game against Texas A&M; MU is a double-digit underdog, and will likely be an underdog the following week at Baylor. Three of Missouri's next four opponents are ranked, and they'll need to win two in that stretch to have any hopes of bowl eligibility when they close the season against Kansas.



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