Texas Tech embraces spoiler role, welcomes No. 9 Oklahoma State
No. 9 Oklahoma State can earn a berth in the Big 12 title game by winning the final two games on its schedule.
The Cowboys visit Texas Tech on Saturday in Lubbock.
Oklahoma State (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) has won three straight games to move into a first-place tie with No. 8 Oklahoma (9-1, 6-1). The Cowboys host OU in the regular-season finale next week. Baylor (8-2, 5-2) is the conference’s lone team with two league losses, as the Bears have defeated Oklahoma and lost to Oklahoma State.
The top two finishers meet in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 4 in Arlington, Texas.
Oklahoma State can move closer to its first Big 12 title game by knocking off the Red Raiders (6-4, 3-4).
“What’s got them here is their focus, their discipline and their toughness and staying the course,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “It’s just so difficult in the world today with social media and the outside people who now are going to tell them how great they are more than ever for them to stay focused.
“As soon as you start thinking you’re pretty good there’s somebody down the street here that is going to whip you if you back off at all in your training and your progress in getting better every day.”
Texas Tech is coming off a dramatic, 41-38 win over visiting Iowa State on Saturday and is bowl-eligible for the first time since 2015.
Jonathan Garibay hit a 62-yard field goal as time expired after Iowa State’s Andrew Mevis tied the game at 38 with a 29-yard field goal with a minute remaining.
Garibay’s rocket through the uprights capped a terrific night for the Red Raiders, who ended a two-game losing streak.
Freshman quarterback Donovan Smith was great in his first career start, throwing for 322 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target was Myles Price, who had nine receptions for 175 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown catch.
“You see (Donovan) throughout the course of the season, every role we have given him, he’s done what with it? He has been successful,” Texas Tech interim coach Sonny Cumbie said. “He has gotten better and better, and he has practiced that way, and now it is a challenge to do it again (Saturday).”
Oklahoma State’s 63-17 victory over visiting TCU wasn’t nearly as dramatic.
Jaylen Warren rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season before leaving in the third quarter with the game no longer in doubt. Since becoming the Cowboys’ starter, he has rushed for at least 100 yards in five of eight games.
Dominic Richardson and Dezmon Jackson took over where Warren left off, as they each rushed for a pair of touchdowns and combined for 202 yards on 27 carries. The Cowboys rushed for 447 yards and eight touchdowns on 62 carries — an average of 7.2 yards per attempt — while Spencer Sanders went 17-for-25 passing for 235 yards and a touchdown.
The Cowboys’ running game has been complemented by a passing offense that features receivers Tay Martin (43 receptions, 592 yards, six TDs) and Brennan Presley (29 catches, 361 yards, five TDs).
–Field Level Media