Texas Tech Running Game Must Produce For Balance Against Oklahoma Sooners

Texas Tech vs Oklahoma

Michael C. Johnson – USA TODAY SPORTS

There’s little doubt that the Texas Tech Red Raiders possess one of the most explosive offenses in all of college football, averaging a whopping 548.1 yards of total offense and 41.1 points per contest. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is heavily predicated on the pass, however — as all Tech units tend to be — and the Red Raiders running game will be faced with a monumental task on Saturday for a variety of reasons.

So far this season, Tech is 98th in the country in rushing offense, averaging only 131.7 yards per contest. Junior running back Kenny Williams leads the statistical categories, with 74 carries so far in 2013, posting 256 yards rushing and six touchdowns. Apart from Williams, the Red Raiders have also seen some decent production from Missouri City sophomore DeAndre Washington who has posted 238 yards and four touchdowns on 64 carries so far this season.

As amazing as it sounds, no Texas Tech running back has posted 100 yards in a game through the first seven games of the season. Now, obviously, the passing offense led by Davis Webb, Baker Mayfield and all-everything tight end threat Jace Amaro hasn’t needed to create balance in the offense given the caliber of defenses they have faced. As Big 12 play accelerates with this Saturday’s matchup with the Oklahoma Sooners, however, this changes with the quickness.

Oklahoma’s 9th-ranked defensive unit is giving up only 17.1 points per game and has been solid against the run, giving up only 143.7 yards per game on the ground through seven games, placing them as the country’s 44th best rushing defense.  As we all know, however, the Oklahoma passing defense is ice cold.

The Oklahoma passing defense gives up only 149.7 yards per game, best in the country, and proof positive that it requires at least a modicum of offensive balance to have any chance of beating them, especially at home and with a chip on their shoulder. This is exactly the situation which Texas Tech faces on Saturday.

You can rest assured the Sooners will be more than happy playing a soft zone against the Red Raiders to try and neutralize the passing threat and force Tech to show they can be effective with the run. Of course, this is easier said than done, but Kliff Kingsbury’s squad hasn’t yet seen anything like the Oklahoma pass defense.

It’s a new frontier for a team that has surprised the country, and one that must be traversed for the Red Raiders to continue to march toward a potential shot at the Big 12 Conference title.

Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and Business Analyst for Rant Sports.

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