Here are five things Texas Tech fans need to know about the Red Raiders’ Week 6 opponent: the 21st-ranked Oklahoma State.
This Cowboys offense starts and ends with redshirt sophomore running back Chuba Hubbard. Through five games this season Hubbard leads the FBS in rushes (128), rushing yards (938), and is tied with SMU’s Xavier Jones at 10 rushing touchdowns this season.
Hubbard’s staggeringly efficient 7.3 yards per carry makes him the perfect workhorse type of back to carry a heavy burden on offense every week. Listed at 6-1 207 lbs. the Alberta, Canada native has the perfect combination of speed and strength to do everything asked of a Heisman candidate.
New QB at the helm
Former Denton Ryan standout Spencer Sanders won the quarterback job out of camp and has managed the games well in his first season as a starter. With a running back like Hubbard the pressure on the redshirt freshman Sanders is significantly lower allowing him some room for error.
As a dual-threat quarterback Sanders’ running game is a bit ahead of his passing game early in his career. This season Sanders has rushed for 380 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground averaging 5.8 yards per attempt. Through the air Sanders has thrown for 1043 yards and 8 touchdowns but his 5 interceptions leave plenty of room for improvement.
Red zone struggles
Defensively the Cowboys have struggled in the red zone when it comes to preventing touchdowns. Of the 16 red zone drives OSU has allowed this season 11 have resulted in touchdowns for the opposition. On the bright side Oklahoma State have held opponents scoreless on three of those 16 drives and allowed just field goals on the other two drives.
Offensively OSU hasn’t had the expected amount of red zone success with a dominant running back like Chuba Hubbard. The Cowboys offense has scored in 21 of 22 red zone drives but has been forced to settle for field goals in nine of those 21 scoring drives.
Doing the little things right
Part of Oklahoma State’s success this year has come because they are not a team that hurts themself with sloppy play and because they execute well in important situations. Through five games OSU averages 7 penalties per game for an average of 58 yards a contest.
While that number isn’t as low as the team might like the Cowboys have kept from committing costly penalties in critical situations. Oklahoma State is also a very effective team when it comes to converting on third down. This team converts 52% of their third down attempts while allowing opponents to convert just 43% of their attempts.
Through five games this season Oklahoma State has yet to miss a single kick. Redshirt senior Matt Ammendola is 10-10 on field goal attempts and is also perfect in his 24 extra-point attempts. True freshman punter Tom Hutton is also putting up a solid season punting for 747 total yards while averaging 39.3 yards per punt.