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Texas Tech Preparing to Battle Oklahoma With Nothing to Lose

Reeling from a coaching change, the Red Raiders could dial up an air attack to exploit a struggling OU secondary.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders have made a major change.

After starting the year 5-3, head coach Matt Wells is out, and offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie will take over as the interim head coach.

Cumbie will lead an offense into Norman this weekend led by backup quarterback Henry Colombi to take on the No. 4-ranked Oklahoma Sooners, but Saturday’s contest could prove to be a good opportunity for the Red Raiders to hit the reset button.

The Oklahoma defense has been hapless at times over the past four weeks, as they’ve fallen back into the low-100’s nationally in passing defense.

Even after starter Tyler Shough exited the starting lineup with an injury, the Texas Tech passing offense has chugged along.

The Red Raiders rank No. 32 in the country in passing offense, averaging 269.5 passing yards per game. Pair that with Texas Tech’s 27th ranked third down offense, and the Red Raiders have the formula to take to the sky and test the Oklahoma secondary early and often.

The big-play threat is there for Texas Tech as well. Seven different Red Raider wide receivers have caught passes of 30 yards or more, with four of those wide receivers catching passes of 69 yards or more.

But a lot of the Red Raider success will rely on the arm of Colombi.

Saturday against Kansas State, the Texas Tech quarterback completed 10-of-17 passes for just 148 yards and an interception, and he’s posted a completion percentage of just 64.7 percent on the year.

Even though Texas Tech held a 24-10 halftime lead over the Wildcats, Colombi’s inability to keep the offense moving consistently cost his team in the second half.

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“I think the first thing this week would be just sustaining things on offense,” Wells said in his last press conference as the Red Raider head coach on Sunday night. “That’s what kind of the story of the second half became.”

Going back to last year, Colombi struggled against Oklahoma’s defense. In the 62-28 rout of the Texas Tech last year, the Sooners limited Colombi to 15-28 passing for 227 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Both of those picks were thrown to Tre Norwood, but there are no Norwood’s in this year’s OU secondary.

The Sooners only have hauled in three interceptions on the year, with the most recent one coming five games ago against West Virginia.

Oklahoma’s pass rush has become non-existent as well over recent weeks, opening up the possibility that Colombi can stand in the pocket and deliver quick strike after quick strike to move the Texas Tech offense down the field against the Sooner defense.

Already this season the Oklahoma Sooners have been susceptible to overlooking their opponents, and the Red Raiders enter Norman with nothing to lose.

OU’s defense will have to look within themselves to find the fire they played with across the three-game stretch of Western Carolina, Nebraska and West Virginia, or Saturday could be another long day for Alex Grinch’s unit.


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