Gameday Preview: K-State at Texas Tech

LUBBOCK, Texas — It’s hard to imagine any two teams being more different than Texas Tech and Kansas State.

One, Texas Tech, is loaded on offense and tries to score on drives that last less than a minute. The other, Kansas State, is limited in its big play capabilities and tries to score with long, sustained drives.

For that reason, time of possession will be important in today’s 6 p.m. game. Kansas State is hoping to keep its defense off the field as long as possible so it’s rested and ready when Texas Tech starts throwing.

The Wildcats will need every advantage they can get. Texas Tech has a strong offensive line, speedy receivers and backup quarterback Steven Sheffield, who will start his first game today in place of the injured Taylor Potts, has proven capable as well.

The Red Raiders are going to score some points against K-State, that much is a given.

Keeping up with Tech’s offense, which averages nearly 40 points a game, is tough. But if the Wildcats’ defense can end a few of their drives with interceptions K-State will be in business. A score on special teams or defense may help, too.

Texas Tech is tough at home, and is going for a 12th straight home win, which would tie a program record.

About Texas Tech

The Red Raiders have faced a decent amount of drama lately. Following two tough losses to Texas and Houston, players began criticizing coaches privately and publicly on twitter, coaches then banned their players from using twitter and a team captain (Brandon Carter) was briefly kicked off the team.

He’s back now, but starting quarterback Taylor Potts is out with an injury. Sheffield will take his place, and though the Red Raiders are sporting two early losses they are still one of the Big 12′s better teams.

Mike Leach’s system seems to work every year no matter the personnel.

Over the years, here is a list of Texas Tech’s most explosive games in terms of total offensive yard:

1. vs. Iowa State (2003) 775
2. vs. Sam Houston State (2005) 770
3. at Oklahoma State (2007) 718
4. at Baylor (2003) 716
5. at Mississippi (2003) 713
6. vs. TCU (1985) 699
7. vs. Kansas State (2005) 684
8. vs. Baylor (2006) 682
9. at N.C. State (2003) 681
10. vs. Texas A&M (2003) 669

Notice nine of those outbursts came recently under Leach.

And for fun, here is a top 10 list of Texas Tech’s highest single-game point totals:

1. vs. Wayland (1925) 120
2. vs. Sam Houston State (2005) 80
3. vs. Trinity (1932) 79
4. vs. Northwestern State (2007) 75
5. vs. New Mexico A&M (1953) 71
6. vs. TCU (2004) 70
vs. Nebraska (2004) 70
8. vs. Austin College (1932) 64
9. vs. UC-Santa Barbara (1970) 63
vs. TCU (1985) 63
vs. Arkansas State (1995) 63
at Baylor (2001) 63
vs. Indiana State (2005) 63
at Kansas (2008) 63

About Kansas State

Coach Bill Snyder hasn’t said publicly who his starting quarterback will be for this game, but after the way senior transfer Grant Gregory looked against Iowa State last week it’s hard to imagine him not taking the snaps today.

Gregory, with his quick feet, can scramble outside of the pocket and keep plays alive when other quarterbacks would get sacked. That’s big right now for Kansas State.

It takes a lot of pressure off of Daniel Thomas and gives his receivers time to find open space. If Gregory plays well for a second straight week against Texas Tech, K-State should have a chance.

But the Wildcats will need a strong effort from their secondary as well. K-State’s pass rush has been non-existent against FBS foes this season and it will be tough to pick up sacks against Texas Tech’s strong offensive line.

Snyder jokingly suggested that rushing one and dropping 10 into coverage would be a possibility against the Red Raiders. I doubt he goes that far, but K-State’s secondary will need all the help it can get.

Tysyn Hartman and company have played very well this season, but this will be their toughest test.