Lubbock provides a gritty venue for the Sooners’ regular season finale | local sports


Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment in a series covering Oklahoma’s schedule for the 2022-23 season. The transcript will rank all games by rating their importance, difficulty, and entertainment value. This article features Texas Tech, ranked #9 in the series.

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NORMAN — Last season was the first time Texas Tech finished with a winning record since 2015, ending the season with a victory at the Liberty Bowl.

However, it was another year of struggle through conference play for the Red Raiders.

Despite finishing the year with a 7-6 record, the Red Raiders went 3-6 against Big 12 opponents. The team finished with three or fewer conference wins in each of the past six seasons.

While the season included a few close losses — they lost to Baylor and Kansas State by four combined points — the team struggled to stay consistent. They gave up 70 points in a 35-point loss to Texas; they lost to the Sooners by 31; and they gave up 52 points to TCU in a double-digit loss.

It didn’t help that head coach Matt Wells — now on Oklahoma’s support staff — was fired after eight games. Interim coach Sonny Cumbie went 2-3 the rest of the way.

Entering this season at the helm is Joey McGuire. The first-time head coach comes to Lubbock after spending five seasons as an assistant coach at Baylor. He has a track record of success, but is heading into his first gig as a head coach tasked with leading a program that has struggled to compete in recent years.

“I know we’re in the Big 12, but we’re in the state of Texas, and football is hugely important to the state of Texas at every level,” McGuire said at Big 12 Media Days last month. last. “I think we tasted it at different times. I’m really excited about what we can do with this team. But it’s really important for this fan base to have a good team and to win games, and man, I’m just happy to be part of it.

The Sooners’ battle against Texas Tech closes conference play and the regular season. Here’s a look at the Sooners’ game against Texas Tech and what to expect from the Red Raiders:

Fast facts

● When and where: Saturday, November 26, Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. The kick-off time has not been set.

last season

● Offense: Scored 30 points per game

● Defense: Returned 28 points per game

The Sooners hold a 23-6 series record advantage against the Red Raiders. They’ve beaten Texas Tech 10 straight, including a 52-21 loss last season to Norman.

This year, however, the Sooners will face the Red Raiders in Lubbock. The Sooners have won five straight there, although two of Lubbock’s last three games have been settled by seven runs or less.

Insight

There’s a lot new for the Red Raiders this season, and it’s not just McGuire’s first year as head coach. They also have new coordinators, with Zach Kittley on offense and Tim DeRuyter on defense. Kittley has had success as an offensive coordinator at Houston Baptist and Western Kentucky the past two seasons, while DeRuyter arrives after a stint at Oregon.

All indications point to a quarterback battle during fall camp between Donovan Smith and Tyler Shough. Smith played in nine games last season and threw for 1,181 yards, while Shough was the Week 1 starter.

The offense doesn’t have many standout players — the Red Raiders were the only Big 12 team without a conference preseason squad selection — but that hasn’t stopped them from averaged 30 points per game last season. The team’s best rushers from last season, SaRodorick Thompson and Tahj Brooks, are back in the fold after rushing for more than 1,000 yards.

The defense lost several key pieces last season, including linebacker Colin Schooler, who graduated last season as FBS’ active leader in career tackles and tackles for loss. But the coaching staff has been touting extra depth heading into this season.

The defense peaked around average last season, and that’s the expectation again this season.

Summary

Conference road games are always tough to win, and Texas Tech will have extra motivation this season with the Sooners leaving for the Southeastern Conference by 2025. But Oklahoma clearly has the talent advantage, and playing Lubbock shouldn’t create too many. problems for the Sooners.

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