Seven weeks to go! Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well... it’s a thing. Anyway, time to look at the seventh opponent on KU’s 2018 schedule, Texas Tech.
Kansas @ Texas Tech
October 20, 2018, Time TBD
Lubbock, TX: Jones AT&T Stadium (60,454)
About the Texas Tech Offense
Quarterback seems to be plug-and-play at Tech, and who can guess who will win the QB competition? JR McLane Carter (23-46, 359 yds, 2-2 TD-INT) temporarily passed up Nic Shimonek last season, starting (and winning) the season finale against Texas. He appears to be the favorite, but will be challenged by SO Jett Duffey and Juco transfer SO Nick Gerber.
Elsewhere in the backfield, Tech also be breaking in some backup running backs following the spring transfer of Desmond Nisby (62 car, 273 yds, 7 TD). SR Tre King (131 car, 623 yds, 5 TD) looks to carry the load for the Red Raiders, while SR Demarcus Felton (22 car, 102 yds) appears to be next in line for carries at this time.
Texas Tech is also losing its top four wide receivers from 2017. SO T.J. Vasher (29 rec, 545 yds, 6 TD) is a big target at 6’6” and JR Antoine Wesley (10 rec, 137 yds) stands at 6’5”. With Quan Shorts (9 rec, 109 yds) being kicked off the team in June after an arrest, your guess is as good as mine as to who else will end up catching passes in Lubbock. JoJo Robinson (2 rec, 26 yds), a former four-star recruit who originally signed with Arkansas, came to Tech via the Juco route and is as good a candidate as any. Another one to keep an eye on is FR Erik Ezukanma, a four-star recruit ranked among the top-50 WRs in the country in the 2018 class.
About the Texas Tech Defense
For once, defense is pretty much the complete opposite of offense for Tech. The Raiders return 9 starters and 96% of their defensive production from 2017. This is notable, because Tech finally showed improvement on this side of the ball under Coach Bro in 2017. The finished 5th in the Big 12 in yards allowed per play, good for 77th in FBS, a big improvement over previous years. The Tech defense could actually be... good? ... in 2018.
If there’s a weak spot on this defense, you’ll find it along the line. SO Eli Howard (27 tak, 8.5 TFL, 4.5 sk) led the Raiders in sacks last year despite not playing a lot of snaps. He’ll be looking for a bigger role this year, along with JR Broderick Washington (43 tak, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sk) and SR Quenin Yontz (10 tak, 3.0 TFL, 1.0 sk).
Last year’s leading tackler, SR Dakota Allen (101 tak, 6.0 TFL, 2.0 sk), returns to lead a fearsome Tech linebacker corps. He’ll be joined by JR Jordyn Brooks (89 tak, 0.5 TFL) and SR Kolin Hill (43 tak, 5.0 TFL, 2.0 sk).
The secondary features last year’s second-leading tackler in SR Jah’Shawn Johnson (91 tak, 4.0 TFL), along with SR Vaughnte Dorsey (50 tak, 1.5 TFL, INT) and SO Damarcus Fields (50 tak, INT).
Every year, ambitious KU fans look to Texas Tech and say, hey, maybe we can pull that one out. NOT so fast, my friends. Did you know that KU is 1-18 all-time against Texas Tech? Of course you do, because you read this fine blog.
I have no delusions that KU will be able to keep up offensively with Tech. If this were the second or third game of the season, maybe KU might have a chance. But after two months, I’m guessing Coach Bro’s offense will be humming right along, and based on what we’ve just read, I think their defense will be more than a match for the Kansas offense. I’ll stick with an earlier prediction of Texas Tech 58, Kansas 28.