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OU Football: Previewing The Sooners' Matchup With Texas Tech

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Oklahoma (4-2, 3-0) will look to continue its hot streak on Saturday evening when the No. 16 Sooners travel down the Lubbock to take on Texas Tech (3-3, 1-2) in a very hostile environment. 

Related: Red Raider Return: Mayfield To Play In Lubbock For First Time Since Transferring

OU has won three straight games to open conference play, but the Sooners will have to take down a potent Red Raider team that knows how to put up points.

“A tough team to play down there, Coach [Kliff] Kingsbury and his offensive guys have really been explosive,” said head coach Bob Stoops. “You look at the yards and points they’ve been able to put up has really been strong that way.”

That being said, here are a few things to keep an eye on as Oklahoma looks to continue its winning ways.

Slow down Patrick Mahomes

His name may not be Baker Mayfield, but Texas Tech has a very capable gunslinger in Mahomes. The junior quarterback ranks first in the nation in passing yards with 2,579 and total offense with a 455.2 yards per game average.

Mahomes has a powerful arm, and leads the No. 1 ranked offense in the nation with an up-temp, high-octane approach.

“Their offense is so explosive, so they can cause problems to any team each and every week, their playmaking abilities and stuff like that, their tempo is going to be kind of hard to manage,” Linebacker and defensive captain Jordan Evans said. “They have a great quarterback back their too and a lot of skilled guys that can cause a lot of problems.”

Mahomes leads the conference with 21 passing touchdowns, but there’s a chance he’ll be a little beat up when the Sooners square off with him. Mahomes strained his throwing shoulder in the Red Raiders’ win over Kansas in late September, but has managed to play in Tech’s last two games against Kansas State and West Virginia.

Despite the minor injury, look for Mahomes to air it out on Saturday night and put pressure on OU’s suspect secondary.

Texas Tech has playmakers on the outside

Unlike OU’s last opponent Kansas State, the Sooners will face a Texas Tech team that has multiple playmakers on the offensive side of the ball that use a fast pace to keep opposing defenses on their heels.

“They’re two different offenses,” Evans said. “I saw something about Texas Tech threw it 60 something times, or something along those lines, so two totally different offenses, different pace and stuff like that, we’ll definitely go into practice this week and try to prepare the best as we can for their tempo and their high powered offense.”

When a team is throwing it that many times, there’s always somebody on the outside reaping the benefits, and that somebody for Texas Tech is sophomore wideout Jonathan Giles.

Giles has 43 catches on the season and leads the conference with 750 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He’s clearly Mahomes favorite target, but he’s definitely not his only target. Five Texas Tech players have at least 20 catches so far this season and at least six have scored multiple receiving touchdowns.

OU’s offense may not be stopped

While there’s plenty of praise to go around to Texas Tech’s offense, the same cannot be said about the Red Raiders’ defense.

Tech ranks No. 124 out of 128 teams in total defense, and allow opposing teams to score an average of 40.2 points while racking up nearly 480 yards of offense.

Even though Oklahoma will be without star running back Samaje Perine, the Sooners should have no problem moving the ball on the ground come Saturday night. Redshirt sophomore Joe Mixon will see an even bigger workload, and that’s never a bad thing.

Another thing going the Sooners’ way is Baker Mayfield’s return to Lubbock. OU’s quarterback started his college career at Texas Tech, and there’s no doubt he’s hoping to have a big day in front of his former fan base.

“Baker’s kind of a different guy,” tight end Mark Andrews said. “He kind of prides himself on stuff like this. I think he’s going to be amped up and ready to go. He knows what he’s going into.”

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