Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in Lawrence in our Kansas vs. Texas Tech preview and prediction.
Date: October 7th, 2017 | 11:00 a.m. CT | Memorial Stadium
TV: FOX Sports 1 | Sean Kelley (Play-by-Play) Brian Baldinger (Analyst)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network | Brian Jensen (Play-by-Play) John Harris (Analyst) Chris Level (Sideline)
Radio: Jayhawk Radio Network | Brian Hanni (Play-by-play), David Lawrence (Analyst), Josh Klingler (Sideline)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 157 XM 203
Fun fact: Both head coaches in this weekend’s matchup previously worked together in 2012 during Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s one season at Texas A&M. Kingsbury was the offensive coordinator on that staff, while David Beaty was the wide receivers coach for the Aggies.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Justin Stockton, running back
Stockton struggled mightily against Oklahoma State, rushing for just 28 yards on 12 carries. In fact, he only has one game this season where he has rushed for more than 47 yards (102 rushing yards @ Houston). Tech will always be a pass-first team under Kingsbury, but there has to be a semblance of a running game to at least keep defenses honest. This is the perfect game for Stockton to gain some momentum and confidence.
Tony Jones, defensive end
Jones leads the team in sacks with two on the season. He’s coming off an impressive performance against Oklahoma State, racking up seven tackles and one sack. Tech hasn’t been great at rushing the passer, but they should have some opportunities this weekend.
Dorance Armstrong, defensive end
Yes, Armstrong has five quarterback hits, but he still has yet to record a sack on the season. Armstrong was selected a the preseason Big 12 defensive player of the year, but has looked like anything but that through the first month of the season.
Peyton Bender, quarterback
Bender is going to have to keep pace with Tech’s quarterback Nic Shimonek. Bender was unable to do that two weeks ago against Will Grier, when the Kansas QB threw one touchdown to two interceptions. He has seven touchdowns to seven interceptions so far this season. That ratio needs to improve for Kansas to have a chance.
Kansas’ defensive line vs. Texas Tech’s offensive line
Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen is under a ton of heat for the struggles of his defense. The issues on the defensive line have been most surprising. As a team, the Jayhawks have only recorded three sacks all season, which is last in the Big 12 conference. As noted above, Armstrong has none. Texas Tech’s offensive line has struggled at times this season, notably last week against Oklahoma State when the Cowboys had their way, holding Tech to 54 total rushing yards for 2.1 yards per carry, including six tackles for loss. Armstrong, Daniel Wise, Josh Ehambe, and J.J. Holmes need to find themselves this weekend for KU to have any chance to win a game or two in conference play.
Texas Tech’s passing game
While the Red Raiders would love to see improvement in their running game from last week, the reality is this game will be won on the arm of Nic Shimonek. Kansas has the worst pass defense efficiency in the Big 12 conference, while Tech is third in the Big 12 conference behind the Oklahoma schools in pass efficiency. KU is allowing teams to complete over 66% of their passes (lowest in the Big 12) and throw for over 300 yards per game. Remember, these stats include match ups against two MAC teams, along with Southeast Missouri, as three of their four games.
These two teams are on total opposite ends of the spectrum in this category. Texas Tech ranks first in the Big 12 (+7) in turnover margin and rank 6th in the NCAA. Meantime, Kansas is -5 in turnovers, which ranks last in the Big 12 and 119th in the country. KU has to improve in this department. In their marquee win over Texas last season, the Jayhawks were +4 in turnovers. That tells you everything you need to know.
Texas Tech 49, Kansas 28
Texas Tech is 9-0 all-time in road games against the Jayhawks and that will improve to 10-0 after Saturday afternoon’s match up. Tech will have no issues slinging the ball around the field and will pile up a ton of points behind Shimonek and his plethora of weapons at wide receiver. Kansas has yet to give me any reason to have enough confidence in their defense to keep Tech in check. Peyton Bender has not lived up to expectations on offense either and has been turnover prone, which Texas Tech should be able to exploit on Saturday.