After alternating wins and losses for much of the early 2000's, Oklahoma State seems to finally have Texas Tech figured out. The Pokes have five straight wins over the Red Raiders, a couple of which have come over a higher-ranked TTU squad. So why the sudden domination? Let's take a deeper look.
Even last season, when a look at the box score would suggest a tight game and probably a Tech win, the Cowboys dominated. No. 15 TTU outgained the No. 18 Cowboys 549-492, converted 11 more first downs and committed fewer penalties for fewer yards. OSU only won the turnover battle by one and the time of possession was dead even.
But the score? 52-34.
The Cowboys' 2012 blowout win in Stillwater made a little more sense from a statistical standpoint. An unranked Oklahoma State team dominated the No. 23 Red Raiders from start to finish. OSU outgained TTU 487-383 and a whopping 256-99 on the ground. The Pokes won the turnover battle 3-0 and won 59-21.
There's no need to talk too much about the 2011 Cowboys and their 66-6 triumph in Lubbock. That OSU team remains as one of the greatest non-championship teams in college football history and that TTU squad had no shot. Brandon Weeden led the charge as the second-ranked Pokes racked up 637 yards of offense.
In 2010, the Pokes broke a streak for the ages. OSU won in Lubbock for the first time since 1944; a win that could have changed the tide in this series. Cowboy fans may remember Justin Blackmon shredding the TTU secondary for 10 catches and 207 yards, or Joseph Randle and Kendall Hunter combining for 225 yards and a pair of scores.
The Cowboys kept it simple in 2009. Zac Robinson, Keith Toston and Kendall Hunter combined for 243 rushing yards as the Pokes plowed right through the Red Raiders and held on for a 24-17 win. Tech outgained OSU 307-90 through the air, but its three turnovers were too much to overcome.
When looking at these five games, there's not all that much in common. OSU won each game in a different fashion, sometimes with a high-powered attack and other times with an opportunistic defense. The one common denominator in these games is the Cowboys' rushing attack.
In the chart below, the number on the left is OSU's rushing yards while the number on the right is Tech's.
That's a grand total of 1,188 yards to 549 yards, or an average of 238 to 110 per game. The Cowboys' dominant ground attack is a safe and reliable form of offense and one that wears an opponent down. The Red Raiders simply haven't been able to match the Cowboys' physicality up front, which has led to such a wide discrepancy on the ground and on the scoreboard.
And this problem won't likely be solved on Thursday night in Stillwater. Tech allowed 178 rushing yards to Central Arkansas, 268 to lowly UTEP, and an unbelievable 438 yards and seven touchdowns to Arkansas.
While the Cowboys haven't run the ball as well as preferred so far in 2013, look for Mike Gundy's team to draw on that same physical mentality to wear down the Raiders once again this season.