Texas Tech ready for Rattler, No. 24 Oklahoma

Field Level Media

October 28, 2020 at 5:52 am.

Texas Tech coach Matt Wells marvels a bit when he looks at Oklahoma redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler.

“Arm talent, sick,” Wells said. “I mean, the guy flips his wrist and the ball flies. He’s very accurate, he can throw it on the run, he runs well in the pocket. … He has got big-time arm talent.”

Wells and the Red Raiders will get an up-close familiarity with Rattler on Saturday when Texas Tech hosts No. 24 Oklahoma.

The Red Raiders (2-3, 1-3 Big 12) are coming off a 34-27 win over West Virginia.

In that game, which snapped a three-game losing streak, Wells went with quarterback Henry Colombi, a Utah State transfer, after Alan Bowman started the first four games of the season.

Colombi earned another shot after completing 22 of his 28 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown against the Mountaineers. He also rushed for 40 yards and a score.

“It’s been interesting to see with the new guy,” Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said of Colombi and Texas Tech’s offense. “I would think they continue to gain some confidence in him and continue to open it for him.

“But they’re doing a lot of good things, and they’ve always been creative offensively and do a good job of mixing tempo and different formations and challenging you in different ways.”

On the other side, Rattler has had a strong beginning to his career, throwing for 1,518 yards and 15 touchdowns with five interceptions through his first five games as a starter.

Rattler has been especially good since he was benched briefly in the second quarter against Texas on Oct. 10, an eventual 53-45 win after four overtimes.

“Coming out and being a starting quarterback at this level — especially at a school like this — you have to experience it,” Riley said.

“As much as you can mentally prepare guys and do everything you can to get them ready and talk to them and have guys who have been in that same position talk to them, it’s just experiencing it is another thing. I think he’s getting more used to the emotions, the ups and downs and just what it feels like.”

The Sooners have won eight consecutive games in the series against the Red Raiders, averaging just over 50 points per game and never scoring fewer than 38 during that streak.

Of course, Oklahoma’s offense has put up a ton of points on everybody in recent years, scoring at least 28 points in a school-record 57 consecutive games. Alabama is a distant second with an active streak of 18 such games.

The Sooners (3-2, 2-2) could have a couple key players back on Saturday.

Wide receiver Trejan Bridges, defensive end Ronnie Perkins and running back Rhamondre Stevenson were suspended before last season’s bowl game after reportedly failing an NCAA drug test, and they haven’t played since.

Barring further complications, Bridges and Stevenson figure to be available against Texas Tech. The situation is a bit more unclear regarding Perkins, because there were snags after he had a chance to be reinstated earlier in the month, the Tulsa World reported.