Oklahoma State will face a Texas Tech team Saturday that is reeling from two straight ugly losses, but the Cowboys know they cannot afford to look past any team if they want to win the first national championship in school history.
Texas Tech earned its biggest win of the season three weeks ago with a 41-38 upset of then-No. 3 Oklahoma. But the Red Raiders have lost both of their games since then – to Iowa State and Texas – by a combined score of 93-27.
"We can't overlook anyone," linebacker James Thomas said. "Anybody can give anyone a good game. Like we saw last week, Kansas State got after our butts. I am pretty sure Texas Tech is going to have a chip on their shoulder this week and will be looking to upset us."
Texas Tech beat Oklahoma because it got into an offensive rhythm and quarterback Seth Doege torched the Sooners' secondary. OSU has prepared to make sure Doege does not have that same level of success again.
"I have been watching [Doege] on film," Thomas said. "He is a really good athlete and passer. He puts his passes on the money. We will have to get pressure on him."
The Red Raiders like to attack quickly on offense and run up to the line to prevent defenses from getting properly set. Defensive coordinator Bill Young stressed that the Cowboys must be prepared for that tempo and cannot get frustrated.
"Just as soon as the officials place the ball, they're getting it snapped as quickly as they can, and therefore, there's not that much time on that clock," Young said. "They don't use up much. When they throw a pass, it's either caught for a first down or an incomplete and stops the clock."
OSU runs a very similar type of offense, which means Saturday's game could be very long and high scoring. Both teams can put up yards and points in bunches, meaning no lead is safe.
"They're a good team and they fly around the ball," offensive lineman Lane Taylor said. "They obviously beat OU and can beat anyone. They can score points and we can't take them lightly. We're just going to go out there and prepare for them like we do every week."
OSU will have to travel to Lubbock for the second year in a row, but with much more on the line this time. The Cowboys rose to No. 2 in the BCS rankings this week – the highest ranking in school history – and have their sights set on an undefeated season.
"We have to go down there and take care of business," safety Markelle Martin said. "We understand it's not going to be easy and it's going to be a hostile environment, so we just have to bring whichever guys come on that plane, we have to go down there, perform our best game and just try to come out with a win."