Have we all recovered yet? Most likely not. When a team hangs 60+ on you and sets multiple school and NCAA offensive records it's a bit difficult to turn the page. Fortunately the Jayhawks had a bye week and Texas Tech is coming to town.
You might ask yourself why we're excited about Texas Tech coming to town? Well, this isn't Mike Leach and Graham Harrell coming to town. Tech is probably in the lower tier of Big 12 teams as they continue to transition from Leach to Tuberville and that isn't to say they are a bad team, they just have some issues and weaknesses that can be attacked. That said, Kansas is a 9.5 point dog for a reason and the Jayhawks will have to overcome plenty of weaknesses of their own in order to grab a win.
Kansas Offense vs. Texas Tech Defense
I'm still fairly sold on the Kansas offense even though we saw the production fall off in the second half of the game down in Atlanta. The reality is that it's a very solid offense, but they can't necessarily play from a huge deficit and what offense can really? The mix in play calling, the multitude of weapons and the improvement across the board with this group is certainly the bright spot in year two for Turner Gill and at the very least one would think it could help Kansas remain more competitive then it did a year ago during Big 12 play.
On the Tech side of things it's a defense that has struggled. They are 95th overall and 111th against the run which plays right into what Kansas does well. Last week Tech gave up over 300 yards on the ground to Nevada, 139 coming from the quarterback position and overall the Wolfpack averaged nearly 7 yards per carry. It's going to be absolutely critical that Kansas get the ground game going and while the Tech defense is on the mend and getting a few players back from injury, the Jayhawks should be able to establish the ground game and hopefully control the tempo against Tech a little bit better than they have in years past.
Kansas Defense vs Texas Tech Offense
This is always a scary section because at this point it's hard to have ANY confidence that we can matchup against an opponent with our defense. Tech has the 9th ranked passing offense, the 38th ranked running offense and they rank 7th in scoring offense. All these things are bad because we have yet to play a team that hasn't IMPROVED on their season averages when playing against us.
If you're Texas Tech you want to speed up the game, increase possessions, score in bunches and get a lead. Both defenses are vulnerable but the Jayhawk defense is more vulnerable and the Red Raiders probably feel like they can take the game if they can just provide some early separation. Kansas may have an improved offense, but right now the defense doesn't look capable of getting a stop all that often and that means all the pressure rests on the other side of the ball. Tech offense all the way in this one and Kansas doesn't win the game if the defense can't manage a handful of stops in this one.
Tech has a bit of a dangerous return game but the Jayhawks have been fairly strong in the kicking game so it will be an interesting matchup here. I'll give the edge to Tech because Kansas hasn't been all that dynamic in the return game. Let's be honest, Beshears was special teams player of the week because he returned 7 kickoffs against NIU. That should be cause for concern on the defensive side of the ball more than a celebration of our "return game". Overall coach Stamn and the Kansas special teams have shown improvement and it's great to see, but I'll still give the edge to Tech in what will be a fairly important battle for field position here.
Preparation, organization, competitiveness and gameplan. Those are the things that I'm seeing from a pair of teams in Ames and Manhattan that I'm not seeing out of Kansas. I've said it earlier in the week and I still believe that those two Big 12 teams are not that far superior than the Jayhawks from a talent perspective but I'd probably give both of those teams a very good shot at winning a home game against Tech due to what their staffs seem to be able to do from a coaching standpoint. In some areas Kansas seems to have improved, specifically offensive playcalling and in the special teams. Then again in some areas we couldn't be worse and that's where you have to wonder.
Tuberville did a nice job with Tech a year ago, this season looks to be a bit of a challenge but as a whole the track record is there and the nod in this one likely goes to the Tech staff.
Three out of four categories to the Red Raiders and the somewhat scary thing here is that this almost becomes one of the key opportunities for Kansas when looking at getting a win in the Big 12.