Whether one team can maintain its grip on the good feeling it garnered from a final-play victory or the other can respond from a humbling loss to its arch rival makes up the backdrop when Texas Tech visits No. 21 Oklahoma State at Stillwater, Okla., on Saturday.
The Red Raiders (3-5, 2-5 Big 12)edged Baylor on Jonathan Garibay's 25-yard field goal as time expired last week, capping a fourth-quarter rally to lift them to a 24-23 triumph.
By contrast, the Cowboys (5-2, 4-2) unraveled in the second half of a 41-13 loss to hard-charging Oklahoma. While that loss didn't squash OSU's conference championship hopes, it dashed any chance of staying in the conversation for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
"We've got to get rid of that and we got to look ourselves in the mirror and make corrections and see where we made mistakes, see where we got outcoached," Cowboys' coach Mike Gundy said. "When things happened that weren't good, we got frazzled and we didn't settle in and let something else to happen.
The biggest issue that plagued Oklahoma State was an anemic rushing attack. The Cowboys ran for 78 yards on 28 carries after coming in averaging 190.2 a contest.
Star running back Chuba Hubbard ranks third in the league with 89.3 yards a game but has been banged up and it has taken a toll on the OSU attack.
"We can't rush the football when we want to rush the football, and as I've said for six weeks, that's a serious problem that we have to fix," Gundy said.
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders may have found a spark on offense from a familiar face and that bodes well this week.
Junior quarterback Alan Bowman came off the bench against Baylor to engineer three late scoring drives and finished with 181 passing yards on 14-of-23 accuracy.
In 2018, in a 41-17 Texas Tech victory in Stillwater, Bowman turned in a strong road start by hitting 35 of 46 for 397 yards and two touchdowns. The challenge figures to be different this time around against a Cowboys' defense that ranks second in the Big 12 in passing yards allowed (188.1) and per attempt (6.5).
Bowman's re-emergence last week came after he lost the starting job to graduate transfer Henry Colombi after a dismal performance by both the quarterback and the offense in a 31-15 loss at Iowa State on Oct. 10.
Texas Tech coach Matt Wells pegged Bowman as the starter but said Colombi will likely continue to get snaps.
"I think we saw enough to continue to do it," Wells said of the two-quarterback plan. "Just like I said last week, we'll play both quarterbacks. As of today, Alan will start the first series, but we need to bring out the best in both of them."
The Red Raiders are seeking a third straight win over OSU for the first time since 2000-2002. The victory in 2018 broke a string of nine in a row in the series for the Cowboys.
The scoreboard most likely will be put to good use. The winner has scored at least 41 points in each of the last nine meetings, with a combined 75 points scored in eight of the nine games.
--Field Level Media