No. 10 Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0) faces No. 15 Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1) this weekend in Norman as both sides look to keep their conference title hopes alive.
The history between these two suggests a shootout, but defense could be the name of the game this year. Both teams play very good defense against what each other like to do on offense, making this a battle of strengths vs. strengths. Here’s some matchups we’ll be watching on Saturday:
Kerry Hyder vs. Gabe Ikard
This is a matchup of arguably the best players from both squads who just so happen to line up directly across from one another. All-Big 12 center Gabe Ikard anchors a Sooners offensive line paving the way for a rushing attack that averages 228 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry.
All-Big 12 nose tackle Kerry Hyder’s 10 tackles for loss rank third in the country among players at his position, and his 33 total tackles are fourth best on the Red Raider defense. Hyder anchors a defensive line that allows a mere 123 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per rush. In fact, Tech’s defense only allowed over 200 yards rushing once this season (TCU).
This battle comes down to Tech stopping what Oklahoma wants to do on offense and will likely have a huge effect on the outcome of the game.
Tech’s Receivers vs. Oklahoma’s Secondary
The Sooner pass defense is stellar so far this year, allowing a very stingy 150 passing yards per game; best in the country. Aaron Colvin and Zach Sanchez are two of the best cover corners in the league, and safety Gabe Lynn is putting together an All-Conference type season. That being said, it’s not hard to defend receivers from teams like Louisiana-Monroe and Tulsa.
The Red Raiders own the second best passing offense in the country, thanks largely to receivers Jace Amaro and Bradley Marquez; both average over 13 yards per catch. Amaro is the country’s leading tight end with 56 receptions, 742 yards and three touchdowns as a junior, and his team is 16-2 in games where he catches at least one pass.
Oklahoma’s secondary will have their hands full trying to hold Tech to 150 yards through the air on Saturday, especially if Amaro can get going early and often.