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Kansas State Wildcats

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 game in Lubbock, Texas in our Texas Tech vs. Kansas State preview and prediction.

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Broadcast info

Date: November 4th, 2017 | 11:00 a.m. CT |Jones AT&T Stadium

TV: FS1 |Kevin Fitzgerald (Play-by-Play) Evan Moore (Analyst)

Radio: K-State Sports Network | Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play) Stan Weber (Analyst) Matt Walters (Sidelines)

Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network (Brian Jensen, John Harris, Chris Level)

Satellite Radio: Sirius 132, XM 199

Fun fact: Kansas State has won five of the last six meetings against the Red Raiders. Texas Tech’s lone win during that span came in K-State’s last visit to Jones AT&T Stadium in 2015 when the Red Raiders scored a 59-44 victory. Tech had won five games in a row in the series prior to K-State’s string of success that began in 2011.

 

Key Players

Kansas State Wildcats

____________, quarterback

Who’s under center? Who the hell knows. Bill Snyder insinuated last week Jesse Ertz would play. He never did. This week Snyder denied a report that Ertz is done for the season. But Snyder has lost some credibility on the issue. Alex Delton got hurt in last week’s game against Kansas. So is it Skylar Thompson? Maybe? Maybe not. Rumor has it that former quarterback and current quarterbacks coach Collin Klein may just get off the bench and throw on a jersey for the afternoon. Whoever it is will have a chance against a Tech defense that is improved, but is still spotty.

D.J. Reed, cornerback

Reed is tied for third in the Big 12 with nine pass breakups, which includes three interceptions. He’s definitely going to get challenged on Saturday by Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. But he will also be needed to have a big afternoon in the return game. He ranks in the top 10 nationally in kickoff-return average (2nd; 36.4), punt-return touchdowns (8th; 1), and combined return yards (9th; 588).

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Keke Coutee, wide receiver

Coutee is second in the Big 12 conference in receptions (7.1) and receiving yards (104.6) per game. Now he gets to go up against a Kansas State secondary that just allowed Carter Stanley to throw for over 400 yards and wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. to rack up more than 200 receiving yards. But after averaging over 9 catches per game in non-conference game, Coutee is averaging less than six per game in conference play. This is the game for him to break out.

Justus Parker, defensive back

Parker has a team-leading three interceptions this year to go along with two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery, all of which have come in the last four games. It’s not clear how much, if at all, Kansas State will throw the ball, but if the defense can create some issues for a K-State offense that looks like it will be led by an inexperienced quarterback (Delton or Thompson). Parker may be able to take advantage.
 

 

Key Storylines

Tech’s offensive game plan

The Red Raiders are averaging 160 rushing yards per game, which is fifth most in the Big 12 conference. They are also fifth in the Big 12 in rush attempts this season, while ranking T-3 in rushing touchdowns. By comparison, Tech was last in the Big 12 last season with only 101 rushing yards per game, mustering just 3.1 yards per carry, compared to 4.3 YPC this season. Kliff Kingsbury is clearly making an effort to run the ball more. It’s respectable, but he would be wise to let it fly this week against K-State. The Wildcats have the worst passing defense in the Big 12, allowing 360 yards per game through the air, while ranking fourth in the conference in rushing yards allowed per game.

Kansas State’s offensive line

This unit was supposed to be a strength of this team, and it’s stepped up its game in conference play. The Wildcats have allowed just nine sacks in five Big 12 games, tied for third fewest in the conference. Now they get to play a Texas Tech defense that doesn’t get to the quarterback, with only seven sacks in five conference games, which is 8th in the Big 12. Also, they will need to block up front for Alex Barnes, who is likely to get a heavy workload since the K-State quarterback situation is up in the air. Barnes has had his two best rushing games of the season the last two weeks with 108 rushing yards against Oklahoma and 128 against Kansas.

Special Teams

This is where Kansas State has always excelled and that’s been no different this season. K-State is third in kickoff return average, second in punt return average, while ranking third in kick return coverage. The good news for the Red Raiders is that they’re second in kickoff coverage in the Big 12. They’ll need to make sure that D.J. Reed or Byron Pringle doesn’t rip off a big return that swings the momentum in favor of the road team.

Prediction

Texas Tech 35, Kansas State 28 

After playing three of their four games in October on the road, the Red Raiders return to Lubbock for two of the next three weeks, with a neutral site game in between. They should be able to settle down and exploit this Kansas State secondary that has struggled mightily in recent weeks. Granted, the offense has been sporadic for Kingsbury’s group, but it will do enough. Kansas State doesn’t have the ability to keep up with Tech’s offense, regardless of who is playing quarterback.

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