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Kansas vs. Texas Tech: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Kansas at Texas Tech

Here is everything you need to know about the Big 12 matchup between Texas Tech and Kansas.

GAME INFO

6 p.m. CT, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kans.

TV: FS1 (Dan Hellie, Evan Moore, Kevin Patterson)

Away Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network, Sirius 134/XM 200 (Brian Jensen, John Harris, Chris Level)

Home Radio: Jayhawks Radio Network, Sirius 136/XM 200/Internet 954 (Brian Hanni, David Lawrence, Josh Klingler)

Texas Tech Head Coach: Matt Wells (3-4 at Texas Tech, 47-38 overall)

Kansas Head Coach: Les Miles (2-5 at Kansas 144-60 overall)

Series History: Texas Tech leads 19-1. Kansas’ only victory came in double overtime during Tech’s 2001 Homecoming game. The Red Raiders held a lead when starting quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, who is now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, left the game with an injury.

Series in Lawrence: Texas Tech is a perfect 10-0 on the road in this series.

Opening Line: Texas Tech -4.5

Moneyline: Texas Tech -172/Kansas +158

Over/Under: 61

Fun Facts: Kansas play-by-play broadcaster Brian Hanni is a true Jayhawk having graduated from Kansas in 2002. However, he served as the voice of Texas Tech men’s basketball and baseball from 2012-2016.

 

Key Players

Texas Tech

QB Jett Duffey

Tech’s offense hinges on Jett Duffey. He’s not the best quarterback and it takes him several possessions to get warmed up. However, if the defense stifles the opposing offense early and often, that’s when Duffey lights up the scoreboard. If the Jayhawks offense fails to score more than 10 points in the first quarter, their defense may be in for a long day giving up over 400 passing yards and multiple passing touchdowns. This is exactly what happened to Oklahoma State. It’s worth noting that Duffey has one touchdown pass in the first half this season. It came in the second quarter against the Cowboys.

LB Jordyn Brooks

He is the leader of the Texas Tech defense. The Red Raiders want to defer to the second half. Why? Because it takes a while for the offense to warm up. When the defense is hot early and often, the Red Raiders have the best chance to win. Brooks has 13.5 tackles for loss this season. He’s contributed on 78 total tackles and recorded three sacks. If Brooks and his brothers can bottle up Pooka Williams early, Carter Stanley is going to be forced to beat the Red Raiders through the passing game. If that happens, advantage Tech.

Kansas

The Offensive Line, specifically when they pass and when they kick.

Statistically, the offensive line has provided plenty of pass protection to Carter Stanley. Aside from surrendering three sacks against Oklahoma, there’s nothing atrocious there. However, one can’t help but notice a certain trend. When the Jayhawks offensive line allows one or fewer sacks, they score exactly 48 points. Boston College never recorded a sack and the Jayhawks won that game as 21.5 point underdogs. Texas recorded just one sack for seven yards. If it weren’t for a PAT block returned for 98 yards, Kansas pulls off the upset. The PAT block was a three-point swing (Two points for Texas, minus one for Kansas). If Kansas makes the PAT, they are up theoretically up 49-45. Cameron Dicker isn’t considered a hero and the Longhorns have to score a touchdown on their final drive.

LB Najee Stevens-McKenzie

He’s someone you don’t hear a lot about. Why? Because he’s a senior with one start at nickelback this season. Yet, Stevens-McKenzie leads Kansas with 5.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He has been in on a sack. Stevens-McKenzie also has two interceptions to his name. One of those came in the fourth quarter against Texas which set up what could have been a game-tying touchdown. His interception at the Texas 16-yard line set up the touchdown in which the PAT was blocked and returned for two points. Don’t look past Stevens-McKenzie just because he’s not a regular starter. It nearly cost Texas their game.

 

Key Storylines

Texas Tech

Texas Tech is 9-26 in the month of November post-Mike Leach (2010). Two of those victories are against Weber State in Houston in 2010. Thus, against Big 12 foes, Tech is 7-26 in the month of November post-Mike Leach. The schedule certainly eases up for Tech, but history has a way of repeating itself. Tech can certainly go 4-0 this November (at WVU, vs. TCU, vs. Kansas State, at Texas). It’s highly unlikely they win the final two games. Their games against West Virginia and TCU could easily be considered toss-ups. With this data, we’ll consider this as a must win. We think Tech can scrounge up three wins in its final five games to make a bowl. In fact, the Red Raiders could very well go on a four-game winning streak. We’ll assume the Texas game is a loss. That places the Red Raiders at 7-5 and guarantees Tech a bowl game. However, if history repeats itself, Tech could easily wind up 0-4 in November. A win against Kansas only gives Tech a 4-8 record. If Tech is able to split November, the victory against Kansas makes them 6-6 and highly likely places the Red Raiders in a bowl game. Tech is not going to score a bowl berth with its 120th ranking in APR. Thus, this game is a must win game. For those wondering, the previous three coaches in Texas Tech history went to a bowl game with a winning record in their first season (Mike Leach: 7-5 GalleryFurniture.com Bowl; Tommy Tuberville: 7-5 TicketCity Bowl; Kliff Kingsbury: 7-5 Holiday Bowl). Spike Dykes finished 6-4-1 in his first full season, but was not invited to a bowl game. 

Kansas

Let’s rule bowl eligibility out for Kansas. For the Jayhawks, they can create some serious momentum. First, a victory over Tech would snap a 12-game losing steak against the Red Raiders and provide Kansas with their first home victory of the series. Second, the offense needs to continue rolling. In his debut as offensive coordinator, Brent Dearmon propelled the offense to score 48 points on the road against Texas. That’s huge. Additionally, Kansas has winnable games against rival Kansas State and at Oklahoma State. If Kansas does win two of its next three games, the Jayhawks are guaranteed their best record since 2009. Let’s say they score victories in all three games. This would mean Les Miles scored as many victories in his first season as Turner Gill did in his two-year tenure. It would also provide Jayhawks fans hope for bowl eligibility going into games at Iowa State and vs. Baylor.

Prediction

Kansas 27 Texas Tech 23

This is going to be an interesting game. Les Miles has struggled at home this season. He, however, does have a victory against Indiana State in the season opener. Kansas has improved since. Matt Wells, on the other hand, does not have a road victory. The offense is awful on the road this season and their struggles continue. In three road games, Tech’s passing game has produced one regulation touchdown. This was from Alan Bowman at Arizona. I’m giving Tech’s offense two touchdowns and two field goals this game. It’s up to the Tech defense to win this game. Tech must score a defensive touchdown or the Red Raiders lose.

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