September 30, 2011

Ultimate Preview: Kansas

Preview: Offense | Defense Ask The Expert Matchups Game Predictions

Kansas gave up over 600 yards on the ground in its last game, but that little statistical nugget isn't going to change the way Texas Tech approaches the upcoming clash with the Jayhawks.

"We'll throw first, run second," coach Tommy Tuberville said of his Red Raiders, who are among the nation's leaders in passing yards per game. "But we are going to take what they give us."

The Opponent
Who: Kansas Jayhawks
Location: Lawrence, Kan.
Colors: Blue, Crimson
Series Record: 11-1, Tech

Record: 2-1 (0-0 Big 12)
National Ranking: N/A

Head Coach: Turner Gill
Record at KU: 5-10 (2)
Total Record: 25-40 (6)

Base Offense: Spread
Base Defense: 3-4

The Game
When: Oct. 1, 11 a.m. CDT
Where: Lawrence, Kan.
Venue: Memorial Stadium (map)

Tickets: SeatGeek

TV: Fox Sports Net
Radio: TTSN (affiliates), Sirius 117

Vegas Line: Tech -

The Numbers
44.3: In Kansas' last 10 games against Division I FBS opponents, the Jayhawks have given up an average of 44.3 points per game. During that time span, KU has allowed fewer than 35 points just twice.

5: Tech has opened Big 12 play on the road in five of the last six seasons. The Red Raiders opened Big 12 play at home last season against Texas.

0: Neither starting quarterback in Saturday's game has thrown an interception this season. Seth Doege's stat sheet is spotless after 115 attempts and Jordan Webb's is clean after 59 tries.

The Quote
"Yeah, all of them said, 'I didn't know you could (run like) that.' And, shoot, I looked kind of fast on film -- I remember across the sidelines saying, saying, hey, man, how slow did I look."
- Texas Tech QB Seth Doege

"The Raiders have upped the ante on their running game this year with tailback Eric Stephens producing nearly 115 yards an outing on the ground and quarterback Seth Doege contributing another 25.

But that in no way compares to the pressure Georgia Tech, which spanked the Jayhawks 62-24, puts on opposing defenses with its run-based triple-option attack, something the Jayhawks apparently never solved.

"Depending on what they do, depending on how many people they put on the line of scrimmage whether we run or throw," Tuberville said. "We are not saying every game we are going to throw it no matter what you do. You just don't do that."

The game at Lawrence will be the Big 12 opener for both teams. Tech is back home for the next two games against conference foes Texas A&M and Kansas State.

-- Sports Xchange


WR D.J. Beshears - 3 att., 29 yards; 12 rec., 135 yards, 2 TD; 18 ret., 387 yards - Leads the Big 12 in all-purpose yardage with 183.7 yards on average, mostly off kick returns. Kansas must find ways to get Beshears more touches as a receiver and also spring him occasionally on end arounds and reverses. He had a 43-yard catch late in the first half at Georgia Tech.

LB Steven Johnson - 31 tackles, 2 TFL, FF - The surest tackler among the Jayhawks, Johnson also covers the most ground and ranks second in the Big 12 with 10.3 tackles on average. Anything the senior can do to help align teammates correctly would contribute to much-needed improvement on defense.

DE Toben Opurum - 18 tackles, 1 sack, 5.5 TFL, 2 QBH - Could emerge as one of the bigger strengths for the Jayhawks defensively now that they will face a steady assortment of passing teams in the Big 12. Opurum ranks second in the conference with 5.5 tackles for loss, though he does not yet have an unassisted sack.

-- Sports Xchange


Brick By Brick: After last week's defensive performance, it's important that Tech come out and show better on defense against Kansas. Not just to give the team a chance to win, but to help boost confidence and offer tangible proof that the defense is heading in the right direction. No one's expecting the defense to turn on a dime and be 1980's Miami Hurricanes-esque, but they must improve from last week's result if they want to be competitive in the Big 12 this year.

Dam Up The River: The most critical component for Tech's defense will be to get stops early and often. Nevada was able to convert third downs seemingly at will last Saturday, and the Red Raiders will have to put on their big boy pants when the opportunity for a stop arises. If you can get up on Kansas early and hold them down on defense, then the Jayhawks will have to move away from their game plan and start throwing the ball.

Rise Up! The Texas Tech offense seemed a bit dejected and out of sorts for a period of time after Darrin Moore left with an injury. When the second half came around, however, the offense finally found itself and started cranking out production from Eric Stephens, Jacoby Franks and Eric Ward. Tech's offense must find guys to step up in Moore's absence, and Ward, Stephens, and Franks can be those guys.

-- McKay


Texas Tech has won the last four meetings with Kansas and have won 11 of the 12 games in the series. Kansas' only win in the series came in 2001, when the Jayhawks escaped with a 34-31 overtime win.

Kansas has played largely turnover free football games. The Jayhawks have turned the ball over once, and gained just one of their own. Quarterback Jordan Webb has yet to throw an interception this season.

The Red Raiders are currently riding a six-game winning streak, second only to Oklahoma (8) in the Big 12.

Both Tech and Kansas have been very efficient on offense this season. The Red Raiders and Jayhawks rank second and sixth respectively in the Football Bowl Subdivision in offensive third-down efficiency and each converted all of their redzone opportunities this season.

-- Dickens


Texas Tech
Tech's passing offense took a serious blow when Darrin Moore went down with knee and ankle injuries early in the first quarter of the Nevada game, but the Red Raiders seemed to find some rhythm as the game went on. Receiver Eric Ward looks like he can be an adequate replacement for Moore while Moore recovers and there seems to be a lot of confidence in quarterback Seth Doege to lead the attack.

Kansas' secondary hasn't seen anything like the Red Raiders' passing attack this season. Prior to Georgia Tech, a team that runs the flexbone, this past week, Kansas took on lightweights in McNeese State and Northern Illinois.

The Red Raiders' passing game should be able to give Kansas problems.

Texas Tech
Tech's running game appears to be in its best state in more than a decade and the Red Raiders ran the ball effectively against all three non-conference opponents.

Kansas' defense should be a little tougher than those that were on the non-conference slate, but it's also a defense that is coming off a game of allowing Georgia Tech 604 rushing yards in a 66-21 loss.

Expect Kansas to hold Tech to less rushing yards than Georgia Tech but also for the Red Raiders to be pretty effective on the ground.

Texas Tech
Obviously, Kansas' defensive line was part of the problem in containing Georgia Tech. Tech's offensive line looked fairly good against Nevada last week, allowing for 441 total yards of offense.

All of the preseason projected starters are back for the Red Raiders including Justin Keown who showed his knee can hold up against competition for most of a game and right tackle Mickey Okafor is back after being knocked out of the Nevada game with an injury.

Expect the Red Raiders offensive line to do a good job of holding the Kansas defensive line at bay./td>

Saturday will be a tough test for the Red Raider defense after allowing 312 rushing yards against Nevada.

Kansas has four quality running backs and you can be sure they're excited to play a defense that has not been very effective against the run this season between Nevada and Texas State.

Kansas' James Sims and Darrian Miller will get the bulk of the carries for Kansas and they average 85 yards and 57 yards respectively. The carries are spread out across the board though and the Jayhawk team averages about 235 rushing yards a game.

Through Tech's first three games, it has shown an inability to stop the run, averaging 225 yards against.

Sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb looked decent as a freshman and looks much improved early in his sophomore year. He has thrown for about 192 yards per game on a Jayhawk squad that would prefer to run the ball than pass it.

Webb has attempted just 59 passes through his first three starts this season.

Receiving wise, Kansas's leading receiver in D.J. Brashears has 12 catches for 135 yards -- a stark contrast from the numbers the Red Raiders have put up throughout the receiving corps. Tech's Moore had 21 catches through two games.

Tech's secondary should be somewhat improved from a week ago with the return of corner Tre' Porter and Cody Davis is back at his weak safety position. Both were injured for last week's ballgame.

Kansas' offensive line is one of the strengths of the team. It's allowed five sacks through three games and is the heart of the running game.

Tech's defensive line will enjoy the return of defensive Leon Mackey as well as other players who have looked good early like defensive end Jackson Richards and defensive tackle Donald Langley.

There are a lot of weapons to fire at the Kansas offense from the defensive line.

TTexas Tech
Donnie Carona has looked great in all facets of his game; kickoffs, PAT's and he is one-for-one with field goals. Kansas' kicker Alex Mueller is two-of-three on field goals, but has hit both attempts from 25 yards out. His one miss was a 43-yarder.

Mueller has no touchbacks this season so reigning Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week Ben McRoy should be able to get some returns in. McRoy returned seven kickoffs for 203 yards last week and set the Red Raiders in great field position for their final, game-winning drive against Nevada. br class="auto-style1" />
Austin Zouzalik averages 13 yards on two returnable punts this season. Brashears averages about 21 yards on kickoff return and the Jayhawks have yet to return a punt this season.

-- Grahambr />

Dickens Graham McKay Gunter Cowan Hair Quarter
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