Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield returns to Lubbock to play for the first time since he transferred from Texas Tech three years ago.
The redshirt junior from Austin will lead the No. 16 Sooners when they meet the Red Raiders on Saturday night. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops believes Mayfield, who's averaging about 300 yards passing and has 16 TD passes, will manage the situation well.
"He's not a freshman," he said. "Just stick to what's been positive for him and good for him. The way he's executing, why would you change any of that?"
Connecting you to your favorite North Texas sports teams as well as sports news around the globe.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, who played Mayfield in eight games in 2013 as a freshman walk-on, doesn't see a lingering issue with the OU quarterback.
"I mean, any time a player was out of school and comes back, there will be some of that volatility, I'm sure," he said. "But for me, the way it's worked out, it's been three years. It's just trying to get prepared to beat a very good OU team."
Mayfield says talk of revenge against at his former school is outdated, though he knows he'll still have to deal with Texas Tech fans.
"That'll be the different part," he said. "But for me, it's no different than playing any other Big 12 team."
Oklahoma (4-2, 3-0 Big 12) is looking for a fourth-straight win and to stay in the hunt for the Big 12 title, while the Red Raiders (3-3, 1-2) aim to rebound after dropping two in a row.
A few more things to look for when Texas Tech hosts Oklahoma:
OU's Running Back — Texas Tech's Relief
Texas Tech must be sighing with relief now that it won't have to defend against Sooners RB Samaje Perine, who is out for at least two weeks with a pulled leg muscle. As a freshman two years ago, Perine rushed for 213 yards on 25 carries against the Red Raiders, and last year he gained 201 yards on 23 carries against Texas Tech. This season he who has rushed for 475 yards and six touchdowns. RB Joe Mixon, who has 476 yards and two touchdowns rushing this season, will carry a bigger load for the Sooners, along with freshman Abdul Adams, who's played in only two games and is averaging 4.3 yards.
"He's going to do whatever it takes to win," Mayfield said about Mixon.
Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes, still working to overcome a throwing arm shoulder injury, leads the nation in passing yards per game (429.8), passing yards (2,579) and total offense (455.2 ypg). Last week he had his second-lowest passing yard total this season (305).
"Mahomes is an exceptional quarterback," Stoops said.
Mayfield's also got some good national stats: third in pass efficiency (180.4), fifth in completion percentage (70.6) and 12th in passing yards per completion (14.42).
Defending the Pass
Both teams rank near the bottom of Big 12 on defending the pass. The Sooners are ranked ninth, giving up 277.3 passing ypg, while the Red Raiders are one slot ahead, allowing 274.3 passing ypg. Each team has a top-notch receiver. Texas Tech's Jonathan Giles is the league's leading receiver (7.2 catches and 125 yards per game). Oklahoma's Dede Westbrook is averaging as many catches as Giles but a few yards fewer (121.3).
"Defenses are definitely going to start keying on him," said Westbrook's WR colleague Mark Andrews. "I think it's something that they have to do. It's going to open up the run game and other guys in the receiving corps."
Texas Tech is last in the nation for number of penalties per game (9.67), having been penalized 58 times in six games for 504 yards. The Red Raiders had 10 penalties for 103 yards in the loss to West Virginia, including a personal foul against offensive tackle Justin Murphy, who was ejected and won't play the first half against the Sooners. Kingsbury said he'll hold players accountable.
"They'll come out of the ballgame and won't play much, if that occurs moving forward. Then they'll have punishment during that week as well."