Kansas State (3-5) vs. Texas Tech (5-5) 3:30 pm
Since 2010, Kansas State is 4-0 over Texas Tech and has won those games by an average margin of 21.7 points per game. This is the Red Raiders 11th consecutive game of the season without a bye. Last year, Kansas State won this game in Manhattan,KS 45-13.
The Wildcats rely on a methodical ball control attack that is averaging 26.9 points per game and pounds the football with a “heavy” offensive line. On the year, the Wildcats are averaging 169 rushing yards per game and are passing for 159 yards per game. Quarterback Joe Hubener is completing 47% of his passes for 1,114 yards with 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Hubener is a blue collar player that makes plays with his legs and leads the team with 411 rushing yards with 8 scores on the ground. Kansas State will look to wear down the Red Raiders defensive front seven and take time off of the clock with long drives. The Wildcats have had good success running the football against the better teams in the conference (TCU 228 , Ok St. 144, Baylor 258) and will look to challenge the Red Raiders between the tackles on Saturday. Running back Charlie Jones is a speedy back that has good vision in hitting running lanes and has recorded 378 yards averaging 4.9 yards per carry with 3 touchdowns. Wide receiver Deante Burton leads the team with 278 yards with 3 touchdowns and has the speed to stretch the Red Raiders secondary. In order Kansas State to win this game it is critical that the Wildcats score first and dictate the tempo of this game. Although the team has shown a come from behind ability (Baylor trailed 31-10 and lost 31-24), the offense is based on wearing down opposing defenses and controlling the time of possession. Against Oklahoma, the Sooners were able to jump out to an early lead 14-0 which forced the Wildcats out of their offensive game plan en route to the Sooners 55-0 road win.
Kansas State is yielding 29.1 points per game and is very good at stopping the run allowing 141 yards per game. The Wildcats are a very quick defense with linebacker Elijah Lee leading the team with 47 total tackles. The defense will be challenged vertically by the Texas Tech offense on Saturday and it is imperative for the Wildcats to win the turnover battle. Entering this game, Kansas State is -5 in turnover margin and is even in turnover margin on the road. Through the first eight games, Kansas State is giving up 288 passing yards per game and must be able to force underneath throws by Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Kansas State has struggled with giving up big plays in the passing game all season long and will need their best effort in Lubbock to get the road win. Pressure will be very important for the Wildcats in forcing Mahomes to make quick decisions. Kansas State has 21 sacks on the season and will look to add to that number this coming weekend.
The Red Raiders know only one speed and that is fast, faster and fastest. The offense will look to push tempo against the Wildcats and run them out of the stadium on Saturday. Texas Tech is averaging 45.2 points per game and is rushing for 189 yards per game while passing for 389 yards through the air this season. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a strong arm signal caller that is completing 64.4% of his passes for 3,527 with 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Mahomes is not afraid to throw over the middle of the field and shows great composure in going through his progressions. Big play wide receiver Jakeem Grant leads the team with 74 receptions for 960 yards and 6 scores, however, he has been limited with an ankle injury suffered in the loss to Oklahoma State. Grant makes plays in the return game as well and played sparingly in the road loss to West Virginia last weekend. Running back DeAndre Washington leads the team with 1,034 rushing yards averaging 6.1 yards per carry with 8 touchdowns and will be counted on to keep the Wildcats defense off balance on Saturday. Texas Tech will look to spread the football around to all of the team’s play makers including wide outs Devin Lauderdale and Reginald Davis who have a combined 57 receptions for 894 receiving yards with 10 touchdowns. The offensive line must be able to protect Mahomes and give him time. Last year, the Red Raiders allowed 13 sacks on the season. Entering this game against Kansas State, the Red Raiders have allowed 23 sacks on the year.
The key to the victory on Saturday will not hinge upon the offense, but rather on the team’s defense that is surrendering 42.2 points per game. The Red Raiders are giving up 273 rushing yards per game and are yielding 285 passing yards to their opponents. Texas Tech has not been able to generate a pass rush and the team has recorded 13 sacks on the year. Texas Tech is +3 in turnover margin and will need to force third down and long situations to make Kansas State one dimensional offensively. A weakness of the unit has been a third down defense that is allowing opponents to convert on 53% of their attempts. It is very difficult to win games constantly by outscoring teams when you the defense cannot get three and outs. That is the main reason why the Red Raiders have worn down late in games and will be a factor on Saturday against a physical Wildcats offensive line.
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Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America),Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor atwww.2FiveSports.com.He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson(www.sportsxradio.com).
Joe has been featured on the FNTSY Sports Network and The Sid Rosenberg Sports Radio Show 640AM Sports (South Florida). You can follow him on Twitter: @Goforthe2.
Joe has a weekly radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com with former Georgia Bulldogs WR Corey Allen called: