No. 9 Oklahoma State smothers Texas Tech 23-0

Red Raider Nation

Texas Tech’s SaRodorick Thompson (4) during an NCAA college football game against West Virginia, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)

LUBBOCK, Texas — A week after Texas Tech’s wild win over Iowa State at Jones AT&T Stadium, No. 9 Oklahoma State came into Lubbock and yanked the Red Raiders back down to Earth. 

The Cowboy defense smothered Texas Tech’s offense in a 23-0 OSU win. The Red Raiders gained just 108 yards of total offense on the day. Their record fell to 6-5 on the season with the loss. 

Freshman quarterback Donovan Smith made things look easy in his first career start against the Cyclones. He deftly evaded defenders and burned his opponent with both his arm and his legs. OSU’s conference-best defense made his life a lot harder Saturday. 

Smith completed just one of his first seven pass attempts, a screen to Kaylon Geiger that went for a loss of three yards. The Cowboys sacked Smith three times and held the Red Raider offense to just 31 yards before halftime.

The Cowboys’ man coverage was airtight, forcing Smith to throw into minuscule windows. To make matters worse, OSU pass rushers were winning their battles up front, putting pressure on Smith and forcing him to rush through his reads. 

Texas Tech did not get anything from its run game either. SaRodorick Thompson, Xavier White and Tahj Brooks combined to carry the ball 11 times for 16 total yards. 

Texas Tech’s best scoring chance came towards the end of the first quarter. Using runs from Smith and Geiger and a 15-yard pass interference penalty, Texas Tech got the ball down to the Oklahoma State 37-yard-line, where it faced a 4th-and-5. 

In a similar situation against Iowa State last week, Myles Price got behind the defense and scored a long touchdown. That didn’t work against the Cowboys. Smith tried throwing deep to Erik Ezukanma, but Cowboy safety Tanner McAlister broke the pass up. 

Smith had two drives two start the second half. The first resulted in a turnover when Smith lost a fumble. The second ended with three straight inaccurate, incomplete passes.

After that, Sonny Cumbie replaced Smith with another freshman quarterback: Eastland product Behren Morton. 

Morton’s first drive went much like the ones Smith was leading. He completed a screen to Ezukanma — his first reception of the game — for no gain. He ran for a loss of two yards on second down and threw an incompletion on third. He scrambled for 17 yards on his next drive, but could not overcome a 15-yard penalty called on Red Raider fans for throwing objects onto the field. 

Smith came back in for Morton after those two drives. He finished the day 9-28 passing for 83 yards.

Despite the team’s offensive struggles, Texas Tech’s defense played well enough to keep the game in range for much of the contest. Star Cowboy running back Jaylen Warren managed just 20 yards on his first 10 carries and the Red Raiders kept OSU out of the end zone until its final drive of the half, when quarterback Spencer Sanders hit John Paul Richardson in the end zone to make the score 13-0. 

The Red Raider defense bent but did not break for most of the night. Late in the third quarter, a careless penalty caused it to finally snap. The Cowboys were lining up to kick their fourth field goal of the game when Texas Tech was whistled for a delay of game for calling out “disconcerting signals.” The penalty gave Oklahoma State’s drive new life, and a Sanders touchdown run made the score 23-0.

Oklahoma State was the better team in all facets Saturday. The Red Raider defense played well, but the dormant offense did not give the team a chance.

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