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

college

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

bill.haisten@tulsaworld.com SUBHEAD: OSU looks to its defense to

help break long streak of losses at Texas Tech