Here is everything you need to know about the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Kansas Jayhawks in our Texas Tech vs. Iowa State preview.
3 p.m. Central Time, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kansas
TV: ESPN+/Big 12 Now
Radio: Texas Tech: Texas Tech Sports Network; Kansas: Jayhawk Sports Network.
Records: Texas Tech: 4-2 (1-2 in Big 12); Kansas: 1-4 (0-2).
Ranking: Texas Tech: None; Kansas: None.
Last week: Texas Tech lost to TCU, 52-31; Kansas, bye.
Fun fact: Kansas and Texas Tech have played each other 22 times. Texas Tech is 20-2 in those meetings and has won 13 of the last 14 meetings. The two Kansas wins? An overtime win in Lubbock in 2001 and a victory in Lawrence in 2019. Up until 2019, the Jayhawks had not beaten the Red Raiders at home in 10 tries, dating back to 1966.
RB SaRodorick Thompson: With quarterback Tyler Shough out, the Red Raiders will make a bowl game on Thompson’s back. He has scored six touchdowns in the last four games and is coming off a 118-yard game against TCU in which he scored three times. In doing so, he’s rolling right up the Texas Tech all-time rushing leaderboard. He is the 10th Red Raider since 2000 to rush for at least three touchdowns in a game. With 29 career touchdowns, he’s tied for eighth in program history, alongside Red Raider legends Billy Taylor, Zebbie Lethridge and Byron Hanspard.
WR Kaylon Geiger: While Erik Ezukanma gets a lot of attention, as he should, Geiger is emerging as a great option for starting quarterback Henry Colombi. The senior transfer has 396 receiving yards, 385 of which has come in the last four games. He’s put together a pair of 100-yard outings — a six catch, 121-yard performance against FIU and five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown against Texas. He had a 75-yard touchdown reception in that game, the longest of his career. He’s built up enough of a reputation to siphon off some of the attention defenses pay to Ezukanma.
DB Eric Monroe: As injuries beset the Red Raiders secondary, they have to be happy with Monroe’s consistency so far this season. The senior has played in all six games for the Red Raiders this season and is third on the team in tackles with 30. He also has an interception, a pass break-up and quarterback hurry. Heaven forbid if the Red Raiders lose this guy for any length of time.
QB Jason Bean: It’s Kansas, so not much has gone right this season. But, one decision that new head coach Lance Leipold did get right was making Bean his starter from Game 1. The North Texas transfer has thrown for 892 yards and five touchdowns (66-of-119 passing), while leading the Jayhawks in rushing with 289 yards and two touchdowns. Bean leading the Jayhawks in rushing probably isn’t ideal, but with the transfer of Velton Gardner, Kansas is still feeling out what their running game should look like. Expect Bean to continue to shoulder a heavy load offensively.
WR Trevor Wilson: Wilson was one of those players that followed Leipold from Buffalo, where he caught 16 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns last season. Wilson has nearly matched that output in five games this season, as he has 15 receptions for 271 yards and a touchdown. His best game so far came against Duke, where he caught five passes for 122 yards. The good news is that Wilson is just a redshirt sophomore, so the receiving corps will be in good hands once Kwamie Lassiter moves on after this season.
LB Gavin Potter: Shouldn’t a Broken Bow, Oklahoma, native be playing for Oklahoma or Oklahoma State? If the pair failed to recruit Potter, he’s making them regret it. He is second in total tackles for Kansas with 36. As a freshman in 2019 Potter was an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year after recording 56 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks. He’s a perfect fit for the new scheme in Lawrence.
Here’s the thing you don’t want to hear when your defensive line is healthy and your opponent, in this case TCU, is down two starting guards — “we’re getting our butts whupped.” That’s what Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells told ESPN at halftime about how TCU’s run game was just gutting his defensive front. TCU racked up 394 yards and had two 100-yard rushers in that game, and one of them — Zach Evans – left at halftime. It was another example of just how utterly inconsistent Texas Tech has been now that Big 12 play has started. Texas and TCU completely dominated them offensively, while the Red Raiders eked out a close win at West Virginia. So WHO is this team? I’m not sure even Wells know right now.
Few were harboring any visions that Kansas would be more than it is right now, but that shouldn’t be the point of this season. The Jayhawks have been so bad for so long that it feels like background noise at this point. So, you look for little cracks of sunlight wherever you can find them. And there are a few. Bean’s stabilization of the quarterback position, an area Kansas has struggled with for several seasons. The quick integration and leadership of the Buffalo transfers that followed head coach Lance Leipold. The play of young rising stars like wide receiver Lawrence Arnold and defensive end Steven Parker. This season is all about building for 2022 and 2023 and making Kansas a place for recruits to come that may be ignored by schools like Oklahoma and Texas but could flourish in a system like the one Leipold is building.
Prediction: Texas Tech 37, Kansas 24
If Texas Tech is the team I think they are, they should win this game. If they’re not, then the Red Raiders have big issues — and Kansas could get a big upset.