Lubbock adventures

Related story: OSU notebook: Big game. LUBBOCK, Texas –
According to the Visit Lubbock website, ” … An array of
unexpected adventures await travelers in Lubbock.” When the
travelers are clad in helmets and shoulder pads, the adventures
typically don’t go well. Texas Tech has prevailed in 41 of its last
48 home
football games.

And when the travelers have been clad in Oklahoma State helmets
and shoulder pads, trips to Lubbock have been consistently
dissatisfying. Entering Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. showdown at Texas
Tech’s sold-out Jones AT&T Stadium, the 20th-ranked Cowboys are
dogged by a history of failure and misfortune in Lubbock. OSU has
been beaten in each of its last 11 games at Texas Tech. In their
last five trips to Tech, the Cowboys have allowed averages of 45
points and 492 yards. The Cowboys have not savored victory in
Lubbock since 1944, when the price of a first-class postage stamp
was 3 cents and the average cost of a new house was $3,450. On Oct.
7, 1944 – exactly one month before Franklin Roosevelt was elected
to a fourth term as the U.S. president – OSU prevailed 14-7 at
Texas Tech. This season’s Red Raider defense has been diminished by
injuries. Tech defeated Baylor 45-38 last week but gave up 507
yards. Oklahoma State brings to town an offense that features
quarterback Brandon Weeden (No. 4 nationally in passing yards per
game), running back Kendall Hunter (the No. 5 rusher in
football) and wide receiver Justin
Blackmon (the national leader in catches per game, receiving yards
per game and touchdown catches). First-year Red Raider coach Tommy
Tuberville offers this assessment of the OSU offense: “It is what
gives you nightmares.” If the Cowboys win, they will be 6-0 for
only the fourth time in school history. They will be 2-0 in
conference play for the third consecutive season. Texas Tech is 3-2
overall, 1-2 in the Big 12. Against a Red Raider team ranked 89th
nationally in total defense, the Cowboy offense would seem to be
positioned for a prolific afternoon. Ultimately, however, the
outcome should be determined by OSU’s ability – or inability – to
get stops on defense. Red Raider quarterback Taylor Potts has
passed for 330 yards per game. “Their offense is just like our
offense. They’re winging it around,” Cowboy defensive coordinator
Bill Young said. “They get you in open space and move the chains,
and then you get worn down and they hit a seam on you and it’s a
touchdown. It’s a very tough offense to defend.” Last season, OSU
opponents converted on 34 percent of their third-down plays. This
season, opponents have converted on 43 percent. The Texas A&M
offense was 11-of-21 on third-down conversions and ran 106
offensive plays. Louisiana-Lafayette was 9-of-15 on third down and
had 57 first-half plays. “This (Red Raider) team we’re playing now
… it’s a whole different (class) of guys with the skill they have
on the perimeter,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “Your third-down
defense is based on how much pressure you can put on the
quarterback.” OSU junior strong safety Markelle Martin was asked
whether the 2010 Cowboy defense, with nine first-year starters,
eventually can achieve a level of performance comparable with that
of the 2009 unit. Last year, OSU was 31st nationally in total
defense. Currently, OSU is 88th. In 2009, the Cowboy defense was on
the field for an average of 71 plays per game. This season’s
average is 84 plays. “When we look at the big picture, I don’t know
if last year’s defense would be any better than we’ve been if they
had to play this many snaps,” Martin said. No. 20 Oklahoma State at
Texas Tech 2:30 p.m. Saturday Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock TV:
FSP-267 Radio: KFAQ am1170, KRVT am1270 Records: OSU 5-0, 1-0 Big
12; Texas Tech 3-2, 1-2 Big 12 Last meeting: OSU won 24-17 in 2009.
Series: Tech leads 21-13-3. Bill Haisten 581-8397 SUBHEAD: OSU looks to its defense to
help break long streak of losses at Texas Tech