The Jayhawks are off to Texas Tech this weekend. KU is coming off a bye week during which the head coach fired the offensive coordinator at 5 PM on a Wednesday. Needless to say, things are not going well in Lawrence.
Texas Tech has just one loss in conference play so far and is in line to go bowling for the fourth time in six years under Kliff Kingsbury.
Texas Tech Schedule
vs Ole Miss, L, 47-27
vs Lamar, W, 77-0
vs Houston, W, 63-49
at Oklahoma State, W, 41-17
vs West Virginia, L, 42-34
at TCU, W, 17-14
How They Rank
Following the conclusion of all the games from Week 7, Texas Tech is ranked #35 in S&P+ (out of 130). Their offense is ranked #11 but their defense is ranked down at #95.
Conversely, Kansas finds itself down at #103, with the #112 offense and the #78 defense.
In the preseason, Texas Tech was given an 80% chance to beat KU by S&P+. That number is up to 86.4%. S&P+ predicts a 19-point Tech win, 40-21.
F/+ has a similar outlook, predicting a 24-point Tech win and giving the Red Raiders a 92.1% chance for victory.
ESPN’s FPI gives Texas Tech an 89.5% chance of victory.
Vegas has the line set at -18 as of the time of this posting.
Players to Watch
So far in 2018, Texas Tech has a very balanced 48/52 run/pass ratio (the same as West Virginia, interestingly enough).
True freshman quarterback Alan Bowman took over starting duties in week 3, but is not expected to play due to a partially collapsed lung suffered against West Virginia back on September 29. In his place will likely be sophomore Jett Duffey, a dual-threat QB that will likely give the Jayhawks fits.
The rushing attack is led by freshman Ta’Zhawn Henry, who averages 4.3 yards per rush and is a threat as a receiver out of the backfield. Senior Demarcus Felton averages 4.8 ypc and will see plenty of action as well.
Obviously Tech is loaded at receiver once again. This year, the Big 12’s leading receiver to date is junior Antoine Wesley, a 6’5” target who averages 17.1 yards per catch. SR Ja’Deion High and SO T.J. Vasher also average over 15 yards per catch.
Linebackers Dakota Allen and Jordyn Brooks lead the team in tackles, while RS-FR defensive back Adrian Frye lead the team with four INTs so far on the year.
Keys to the Game
I’m gonna keep these really simple this week.
- Get the ball in the hands of your best players. That’s Herbert, Pooka, and Sims.
- Don’t waste timeouts.
- Be aggressive, especially on fourth down.
Once again, it’s tough to see any way that Kansas even keeps this game close. Tech will be playing a quarterback who KU doesn’t have much film on, but who appears to be an adept rusher as well as a decent passer.
Can the Kansas offense get going against a Tech defense that allows a hair over 6 yards per play? The game could turn into a shootout, considering the Jayhawks allow 5.8 yards per play themselves.
In the end, I have no doubt this will be over early; go out and enjoy your Saturday afternoon. Texas Tech 56, Kansas 21.