For the first time since my Sophomore year of high school, the Red Raiders have defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys. I don’t know if I can put into words how frustrating it has been to watch the success of Oklahoma State over the past decade or so… But I will try.
With last weeks win, Texas Tech regained the lead in the all time series vs Oklahoma State. I would imagine that is quite surprising to most people considering the state of these two programs over the past 10 years. But simply regaining the series lead isn’t THAT big of a deal, not to me at least. To talk about why it was so satisfying to see the Red Raiders finally break the 9 game losing streak against OSU, we need to go back in time a little bit.
The last truly great season for Texas Tech. Who could possibly forget that month long run of being a top 5 team in the country that controlled their own destiny for the BCS National Championship. That year Texas Tech made it to 10-0, and won consecutive games over #23 Kansas (63-21), the game everyone remembers against #1 UT (39-33), and a blowout over #9 OSU (56-20). Obviously, when we talk about the 2008 season, everyone will talk about the UT win and the OU loss. One was one of the greatest games in college football history and the other was a tragic melt down that still manages to creep into my head and ruin my day every now and then (anytime I hear Jump Around, I want to cry). But the part of the 2008 season that I will never forget is the Oklahoma State game. Coming off of the UT win, everyone (including Tech fans) were wondering how the team could handle being the favorites in a big time top 10 matchup. And they could not have delivered any more than they did that night. An absolute beat down over a really good Cowboy team. After that game, I was a cocky college football fan for the first time in my life. We were the second ranked team in the country and just had one more tough game to get by before we could cruise into the National Championship. Well, as we know, it all came crashing down after that. OU crushed our dreams, the next week Tech slipped past Baylor, then the season was capped off with a disappointing loss in the Cotton Bowl. It was a disappointing way to end such an amazing season, but I was still thrilled. Why? Because we had arrived. Mike Leach proved he could compete with the big boys and recruits were going to come flooding in… Then 2009 happened.
Despite the fact that Tech needed to replace two guys that finished in the top 5 in the Heisman race, QB GrahamHarrell and WR Michael Crabtree, there was still some hype going into the season. Taylor Potts was supposed to be even better than Graham, we had a bucket full of offensive weapons, and a good offensive line returning. Defensively, they had established a nice group of guys that made a habit of making just enough plays. When you look at the record that year, 9-4 doesn’t seem that bad. But a disappointing loss to Texas A&M that year still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Against OSU that year, it was a 24-17 loss (and I believe this was the famous ‘fat little girlfriend” game for Mike Leach). Again though, OSU had a good team so it was not that big of a disappointment to lose that game. But the ending of this season is where these two programs began to go in different directions. ESPN analyst and world famous brat Craig James lead a successful witch hunt and got Mike Leach fired before the Alamo Bowl vs Michigan State. And just like that, everything was gone!
-2010 to 2017-
Both teams went 9-4 in 2009. Sense that year though, prior to this season Texas Tech had won 52 games, OSU had won 78. Texas Tech has played in Bowls like the Holiday Bowl, the Texas Bowl, and the Birmingham Bowl. While OSU has played in Bowls like the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl. Texas Tech has not had a winning record in the Big12, OSU won their first Big12 title in 2011. And worst of all the Cowboys have dominated the Red Raiders unlike anyone else in the league. The scores in each game: 2010, 34-17. 2011, 66-6. 2012, 59-21. 2013, 52-34. 2014, 45-35. 2015, 70-53. 2016, 45-44 (missed an extra point to send it to OT). 2017, 41-34.
It was almost as if stealing all of Texas Tech’s traditions wasn’t enough for the Pokes, they also stole all of the success that we had built towards under Leach. 2008 was supposed to be the foundation season for this soon to be consistent Big12 contender. Instead, it was where Tech peaked and where OSU began their consistent relevance in Big12 title races.
So that is why it felt so. freaking. good! to not only beat OSU, but dominate them IN Stillwater. It truly was incredible to see the true freshman QB Alan Bowman unfazed by the environment lead this offense so efficiently. To see this offensive line man handle the defense that was leading the country in sacks and had help Boise State to like 40 yards rushing the week before. And to see another surprise performance by an unlikely RB, this week it was Raymon Felton and SaRodrick Thompson. An unproven backfield to start the season now has 5 guys that the coaching staff can trust to carrie the ball in big games. And how about this defense! I mentioned last week that I thought they played better than the score indicated against Houston. Getting JaShawn Johnson back at safety was huge, and I expected a good performance overall, but I certainly didn’t expect to see them control the game the way they did. The Cowboys scored their 17th point with at around the 10 minute mark of the 2nd quarter, after that the Red Raider defense pitched a shut out. Simply could not ask for anything more.
The attitude on the sideline was incredible Saturday!
Because this blog was more about the context of how much fun that win was, expect a follow up soon going more into the details of the game as well as looking ahead to a huge top 25 matchup against West Virginia. And I hope to also get up some blogs about the rest of our Texas teams soon.
Check out our weekly UT blog here.