Look for a lot of passing as Texas Tech plays Oklahoma

It might take four hours to finish this Saturday’s game between No. 15 Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. and the game will be on ABC.

Texas Tech (5-2, 2-2 in the Big 12) comes to Norman as the No. 2 passing team in the country, averaging 427 yards per game. The Sooners, who relied on running last season, rank No. 14 in the country in passing, averaging a healthy 330 yards per game.

The Red Raiders average 8.6 yards per completed pass while the Sooners get 9.7 yards. Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, who ranks third in the nation in total offense, has thrown six interceptions while OU quarterback Baker Mayfield has only suffered four picks.

The OU defense is perhaps the only reason the game might end before four hours. The Sooner defense is holding opponents to 152 passing yards per game. Texas Tech, on the other hand, gives up 289 passing yards per game.

That ranks No. 114 in the nation.

Mayfield was excellent Saturday, throwing five touchdown passes in a 55-0 win at Kansas State. The victory was impressive after the Sooners were upset by Texas.

“Baker was strong,” said OU coach Bob Stoops. “And you know what, it is not always just the one guy. There was better route running and better timing with getting the ball out. But Baker threw the ball really well and scrambled for some big plays. He had an excellent day.”

Mayfield threw five touchdown passes in the first half, tying Jason White’s (vs. Texas A&M in 2003) school record for the most in a half.

Texas Tech beat winless Kansas, 30-20, on Saturday. Their losses have been to No. 2 Baylor (63-35) and No. 4 TCU (55-52). They are averaging almost 50 points per game and rank No. 2 in the nation in total offense.

Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1)  is in fourth place in the Big 12 but still has to play the top three teams – Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor. Victories over those three would be critical for the Sooners to win the conference and compete for a spot in the four-team national championship playoff. But that is moot if OU loses to Texas Tech Saturday. After Tech, Oklahoma will be heavily favored in games against Kansas and Iowa State.

A win over the Red Raiders probably means the Sooners will be 8-1 when facing Baylor, TCU and OSU to end the regular season. A loss to Texas Tech would probably mean a 7-2 mark with no chance to win the Big 12 and perhaps a tailspin like last year, when the Sooners went 8-5.

K-State was shut out by Oklahoma following two close loses to ranked Big 12 teams. Before Saturday, Kansas State had scored in 234 straight games.

“We executed really well,” Stoops said after the game. “Give them the credit, the players. The execution was maybe as good as we have had. I thought offensively, run-pass, the tempo was better. We did a better job having a quicker tempo and not allowing the defense to get such a bead on us. Again, the execution was really solid and we took care of the football.

“Defensively, it was the same thing. We tackled really well. Our assignment responsibility was really good and our coverage did a great job.”

The loss to Oklahoma marked the first time the Wildcats have been shut out at home since 1991.

“I think all of us are embarrassed,” said KSU coach Bill Snyder. “I cannot remember being involved in a game like this since 1989 in the first year that we were here. I do not even know if we had one that bad during that first go around. I am not really smart enough to put my finger on it. I feel badly for the guys in the locker room, but we were not as prepared to play. It is more than just the emotional preparation as well.”

Oklahoma has not lost two games in a row since Stoops arrived in 1999.

“Fortunately, we have good players and good coaches,” Stoops said. “Overall, we have not lost a lot. So when that happens, we have been able to respond and come back to play well. I can’t say there is any one thing. There are just guys responding in practice, improving, and being ready to play when they came here.“

After the stinging loss to the 2-4 Longhorns, the Sooners had a statistical field day against Kansas State.

OU is 6-0 in Manhattan under Stoops, a former assistant coach under Snyder at KSU. All six wins were by double digits. No other Big 12 school has more than two wins at Manhattan in the Big 12 era. OU under Stoops is 16-1 after the Texas game and 7-0 in games after a loss to Texas under Stoops.

OU wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who caught two touchdown passes, said the team tried to forget about the loss to Texas.

“You just got to catch the guys that are hanging their head about it, and tell them we have to move on we have a long season ahead of us,” Shepard said. “We are not even halfway through the season. You have to keep pushing forward you can’t look back. Even though we didn’t play the way that we wanted to (at Texas) we know what we are capable of. We have to go in and make some changes and that is what we did. The guy’s intensity coming out, it was amazing.”

The 55-0 win was payback for a 30-31 upset by Kansas State in Norman last year – a loss that sent OU into a tailspin.

The OU defense smothered Kansas State Saturday, holding the Wildcats to just 110 total yards (60 rushing and 45 passing). The defense had three interceptions. OU is 28-1 in games under Stoops when the defense has three or more picks.

OU running back Joe Mixon had his third touchdown reception of the season on a 10-yard pass from Mayfield early in the first quarter.  Mayfield had 73 yards on 15 carries to lead Oklahoma in both categories. Mixon also caught three passes for 29 yards and added a rushing TD to give him two total scores on the day. Tight end Mark Andrews got his fourth touchdown of the year on a 3-yard pass from Mayfield in the second quarter. Andrews is now tied for third in program history among OU freshmen in receiving touchdowns.

The Sooners posted their first shutout since holding Louisiana-Monroe scoreless in 2013 and their first of a Big 12 opponent since blanking Iowa State in 2010.