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Texas Tech vs. Kansas State: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Texas Tech

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Texas Tech vs. TCU preview and prediction.

Game Info

6:00 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 23rd, 2019, Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX

TV: Fox Sports 1 (Aaron Goldsmith, Ben Leber)

Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network (Brian Jensen, John Harris); K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, Stan Weber); Sirius 108, XM 200; Sirius 211, XM 382

Opening Line: Texas Tech -2.5

Fun Fact: Kansas State has won three in a row in the series and holds the overall edge 10-9. 

 

Key Players

Kansas State Wildcats

RB James Gilbert

If there is ever a time for K-State to get its running game going after two-straight rough games, this is it. After coming back from injury last week against WVU, Gilbert had just 60 rushing yards on 13 carries with one touchdown. But the Wildcats struggles the past two games can at least, in part, be pointed back to the running game struggles. With one game under his belt to knock off the rust, Gilbert should be able to get going in this one. 

Safety Denzel Goolsby

Goolsby in playing in his final few games as a Wildcat. The senior has played in 45 games during his career with 30 starts. He’s top three on the team in tackles and has been a solid leader in the secondary and that will be needed in Lubbock against Jett Duffey and the Texas Tech offense that is ranked top three in the Big 12 in passing yards per game.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

RB Ta’Zhawn Henry

Yep, two running backs featured in the “Key Players” this week. Henry only had three carries for eight yards last week against TCU, but that’s mostly because the team was playing from behind and TCU has one of the best rush defenses in the Big 12. The week prior, Henry recorded season highs in carries (22), rushing yards (67) and rushing touchdowns (2) at West Virginia. He’s been a steady hand in the back field averaging 4.5 yards per clip and will be needed going up against a K-State team that is ranked tops in the Big 12 in pass defense. 

Safety Douglas Coleman

Coleman leads all of FBS with eight interceptions. Has an interception in six of the last eight games. Can he work his magic against a K-State team that has thrown a Big 12-low three interceptions on the season. He also has 57 tackles on the season and is top five in the Big 12 in passes defended.

 

Key Storylines

Kansas State

Skylar Thompson and the offense needs to get itself back on track on this game. After averaging 37 points during a three-game winning streak, the Wildcats have averaging just 22 the past two games against Texas and West Virginia. Tech is ranked ninth in the Big 12 in rushing defense and last in the Big 12 in passing defense. But where Tech has been good on defense is in the red zone, where they rank second in red zone defense in the conference. But it’s K-State as the top red zone offense in the Big 12, so something is going to have to give. And in what could be a close game, this is something to keep an eye on. But if Skylar Thompson can get back into the groove he was in just a couple weeks ago, the Wildcats can leave Lubbock with a win. 

Texas Tech

The Red Raiders have had an up-and-down season, but once area Matt Wells’ team has had success in is turnover margin. The TCU game snapped a seven-game streak where the Red Raiders had forced at least one takeaway. Texas Tech is now plus-seven in the turnover margin, which is tied for the Big 12 lead and ranks 16th nationally entering this weekend. The Red Raiders ranked 90th in the FBS in the turnover margin a year ago, so it’s been a place of improvement for Tech. Kansas State is tied for the second-most fumbles in the Big 12 with seven on the season, but has held its own in the turnover margin at +3. However, K-State is -2 in turnover margin the past two weeks during their losing streak, so if Tech can get the better of the Wildcats with a key turnover or two at home, they’ll be in good shape. They’re 2-1 this year when they win the turnover battle and also 2-1 when they have three or more takeaways.

Prediction

Kansas State 31, Texas Tech 30

One month ago I might’ve thought of this game as a trap game for the Wildcats. But they’ve lost two in a row and need to get back on track before Iowa State next week. After playing two solid defenses, they now get the Red Raiders who are 9th against the run and 10th against the pass in the Big 12 this season. Skylar Thompson should be able to get this team back on track as the Wildcats eek out a close win in Lubbock.

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