Instant Analysis: Oklahoma St. stays perfect with wild win over Texas Tech
Oklahoma State traveled to Lubbock, Texas, to face Texas Tech one week after a horrible tragedy occurred in Stillwater. The Red Raiders paid their respects by changing the lights inside Jones AT&T Stadium from red to orange and displaying the message #StillwaterStrong on the video board before the game. A high-paced affair that featured more than 1,300 yards of total offense combined ended in a 70–53 win for the Cowboys. Here are three thoughts on the highest-scoring game in college football so far this season:
1. We still don’t what to make of Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State entered with a perfect record (7–0) and a No. 12 ranking in the Associated Press poll. Yet it remained unclear how good the Cowboys really were. All four of their wins in Big 12 play—at Texas, Kansas State, at West Virginia, Kansas—came against teams with losing records, and none of them suggested Oklahoma State should be regarded as an equal to conference frontrunners TCU and Baylor. The Cowboys deserved credit for avoiding a loss, but how would they fare during the toughest stretch of their schedule?
This was the first real test. Oklahoma State passed even though it couldn’t slow Patrick Mahomes and the Red Raiders’ offense. The sophomore quarterback completed 38 of his 55 pass attempts for 480 yards and four touchdowns while adding 46 yards and a score on the ground. This is not the first time this season Texas Tech carved up an opposing defense, but Oklahoma State could have further legitimized itself as a Big 12 and national contender by providing at least some resistance. There was reason to believe the Cowboys would rise to the occasion, as they feature one of the nation’s top defensive linemen in Emmanuel Ogbah and entered Saturday ranked second in the conference in yards allowed per play and third among Big 12 teams in Football Outsiders’ defensive S&P+ Ratings.
Instead, Oklahoma State got torched, as the game devolved into a wild shootout. That’s not an encouraging sign for a team that, while still undefeated, has yet to face the Bears and the Horned Frogs, which rank ahead of Texas Tech in offensive S&P+ and boast stronger defenses.
2. The final month of Big 12 football is going to be great
Consider this a prelude to what figures to be a wild month of football in the Big 12. The land of spread offenses, track athletes and prolific quarterbacks groomed in 7-on-7 tournaments should produce plenty of drama. And three of the most highly anticipated tilts will feature Oklahoma State. Between now and Nov. 28, the Cowboys will welcome the Big 12’s three highest-ranked teams in the AP poll—No. 5 TCU, No. 2 Baylor and No. 14 Oklahoma—to Boone Pickens Stadium. If Saturday was any indication, all of those matchups will feature points on points on points, the type of defense-optional football most fans appreciate. In other words, take the over.
Those games will also have a huge impact on the Big 12’s College Football Playoff chances. Though TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are the conference’s best bets to make the four-team field right now, the picture won’t be as clear as those teams beat up on one another in the coming weeks. The Big 12’s decision to backload its schedule may have contributed to the dearth of marquee games nationally over the last two weeks, but now that we’ve made it through this rough patch, we can look forward to some high-stakes thrillers in Texas and Oklahoma.
3. Jakeem Grant is electric
Grant made one of the most impressive plays of the season four minutes into the first quarter. Mahomes handled the snap in Texas Tech’s end zone and threw a short pass to Grant. He turned and caught the pass near the five-yard line, evaded one defender, split two others as he crossed the field and wound through Oklahoma State’s defense for a 90-yard gain. Grant was brought down inside the 10-yard line, but that made his run only slightly less ridiculous.
That play should have served as a warning to Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys’ special teams unit apparently wasn’t paying attention. Or maybe Grant is just that explosive. After an Oklahoma State touchdown later in the quarter, Grant ran back the ensuing kick for a touchdown to give the Red Raiders a 24–7 lead. That score didn’t feature as many ankle-breaking feints and cuts, but it contributed to a remarkable day for Grant.
Listed at 5'7" and 168 pounds, the sophomore receiver caught 13 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown and tallied 146 yards on three returns.