The most talked about matchup entering Texas Tech's game with Oklahoma centered around the Red Raiders Big 12 leading pass offense against the Sooners nationally top-ranked pass defense - a true battle of wills that many believed would favor the home team.
Throw in the fact that rain played a factor throughout the evening and all signs pointed to a game where the Red Raiders would struggle to move the ball through the air.
Not so much.
Texas Tech torched the Oklahoma defense with a relentless aerial attack, attempting 54 passes and racking up 388 yards - far and away the most passing yards the Sooners had allowed all season.
Of course, all the passing yards didn't result in a win for the Red Raiders, which is the most important statistic of all, but the fact that the Red Raiders proved Kingsbury's offense can match up with anybody was a positive takeaway from Norman.
With all the success Texas Tech enjoyed through the air, the biggest benefactor was Eric Ward. Number 18 was all over the place Saturday, grabbing nine catches for 106 yards and most important of all, two touchdowns. As a result, Ward wins KCBD's Raider Zone Week 8 Player of the Week.
"We had a great game plan," Ward said. "We practiced it day in and day out in practice and we went out and executed it in the game. It gives us a lot of confidence (to do it against OU). It shows that we have what it takes to go out and contend for a Big 12 championship."
A conference title is still very much alive for Texas Tech despite the loss on Saturday, as the Red Raiders still have games with Big 12 leaders Baylor and Texas left on the schedule.
Of course, for those games to be meaningful in the Big 12 title picture, Tech must take care of business at home, starting this week with 12th ranked Oklahoma State - a game that will very much act as a Big 12 championship elimination game, as the loser will suffer a crippling second conference loss.
"It's very important," Ward said. "We need this game. We need every game after this as well, so we need this game and we got to go out and give our best effort and it starts at practice. We got to keep moving forward, work on things you feel like you need to work on and go out and win the games."
No doubt Ward, Texas Tech's most veteran receiving option, will play a big factor in the coming weeks. Ward is second on the team in receiving yards with 546, tied with Bradley Marquez with a team-leading five touchdown receptions this season.
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