Texas Tech at Kansas
When: 6 p.m. Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan.
Record: Texas Tech (3-4 overall, 1-3 Big 12); Kansas (2-5, 0-4 Big 12)
Last meeting: Texas Tech defeated Kansas 48-16 on Oct. 20, 2018, in Lubbock
What’s on the line?
Texas Tech has yet to notch a road win in three tries this season. At 3-4, Tech needs to pull off a winning record in its remaining five games to attain bowl eligibility. Losing to Kansas would effectively kill its chances at a bowl game in Matt Wells’ first season. Quarterback Alan Bowman’s return should come soon, but asking to go undefeated after he makes his return is a tall task.
These two teams have played each other 20 times all-time. Tech has won 19 of these meetings, winning each of the past six by double digits. Losing to Kansas recently has been seen as a stain on a program, making it an object of national ridicule. Kansas is one win from tying its best record in a decade and has extra motivation to impress in its new head coach’s first season. The Jayhawks look much improved and will beat a Big 12 opponent. The Red Raiders need to make sure it isn’t them.
When Texas Tech has the ball
Running the ball against this Kansas front won’t be difficult. Kansas has surrendered rushing totals of 306, 268 and 239 yards in the last three games against TCU, Oklahoma and Texas, respectively. If quarterback Jett Duffey uses his legs, he and SaRodorick Thompson will have field days against this defensive front. The Red Raiders run an offense capable of going faster than any Kansas has seen outside of Oklahoma. All that success opens up the passing game for big plays on the outside.
Alex Delton and Max Duggan of TCU combined to throw for 286 yards and neither had more than 15 attempts in a 51-14 Horned Frogs win over Kansas last month. Duffey is significantly better than those two, which bodes well for him to have a big day in Lawrence. Deep-threat receivers like Erik Ezukanma and KeSean Carter should have a big day against this defense. When Kansas needs to load the box to stop the run, it will leave those receivers in single coverage, where they can use their speed to simply blow by for big plays. The Jayhawks’ opponents the past three weeks averaged of 48.7 points. Tech’s offense will continue this trend and possibly top its season high of 45 in this matchup.
When Kansas has the ball
Kansas’ offense all starts with running back Pooka Williams. Last week against the Longhorns, Williams ran for 190 yards and two scores while averaging 7.6 yards per carry. Against the Sooners, Williams picked up 137 yards on 23 carries, averaging 6 yards per rush. Because teams have focused so heavily on stopping Williams, quarterback Carter Stanley has had more freedom to work without pressure. Against Texas, Stanley put up the game of his life, throwing for 310 yards with four touchdowns while adding 65 yards on the ground.
Though he doesn’t complete a high percentage of his passes (just 63.2% on the season), Stanley does not throw away possessions. The redshirt senior has thrown just four interceptions this season and hasn’t thrown one in his last three games against three tough defenses. The Red Raiders are capable of holding Williams in check while also not letting Stanley go off. Keith Patterson’s defense will want to come out strong after getting lit up by Iowa State last week. The Red Raiders forced only one turnover last week after exceeding their three-forced turnover benchmark against Baylor and Oklahoma State.
The Red Raiders know what the Jayhawks are capable of doing to opponents who underestimate them, and Tech won’t make that mistake. Coming off a big loss to Iowa State, Tech needs every win it can get to make a bowl game. It can’t afford to take any of its remaining five games lightly, so expect the Red Raiders to come out strong against the Jayhawks.
Les Miles has a feisty team, but the Jayhawks are in the beginning stages of a long rebuild. Kansas has enough firepower to give Tech a fight, but the Red Raiders will be able to outscore the Jayhawks even if this game turns into a shootout like Kansas had in Austin last week. This defense wants to further establish its reputation as one of the best in the Big 12, so it will show up looking to make a powerful impression in this game.
Score: Texas Tech 50, Kansas 24