Texas Tech hosts another marquee opponent this Saturday at 6 p.m. against Kansas State in a televised game on Fox Sports Net. This game may lack some of the luster that the A&M rivalry possessed but it is no less important as Kansas State is arguably the better team of the two. Texas Tech is 5-3 against Kansas State under Bill Snyder (Snyder was the KSU coach from 1989-2005 and 2009-present)
Kansas State is led by junior QB Collin Klein. To say that Klein is a far better runner than a passer is a gross understatement. So far this year, Klein has completed 58-of-101 passes for 593 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. Klein is also KSU's second leading rusher by yardage. On the year, he has rushed 115 times for 468 yards and seven TDs. Only two other Wildcats have rushing scores for KSU.
The Wildcat's rushing attack is led by sophomore John Hubert. For the season, Hubert has 86 carries for 469 yards and one TD. Then it's QB Klein, followed by Angelo Pease with 15 carries for 60 yards and a score. Outside of that, no other Wildcat has scored or reached double-digits in rushes.
The receiving corps is led by Chris Harper, a 6-1 junior who has 19 catches for 226 yards and two scores. Sheldon Smith is next with 12 catches for 74 yards and one score and RB Hubert has seven catches for 66 yards and one TD. Tyler Lockett and TE Travis Tannahill have the other receiving scores for Kansas State.
Texas Tech is led by junior QB Seth Doege. He has completed 162-of-227 passes for 17 touchdowns and one interception. Additionally, he has rushed 27 times for 91 yards but no scores.
Tech's leading rusher, Eric Stephens, is done for the year. After Stephens, freshman DeAndre Washington has accumulated 107 rushing yards on 22 carries and two scores. Next on the list is Doege and suspended freshman Ronnie Daniels. Then Aaron Crawford, Tech's newly-elevated starter, with eight rushes for 30 yards. Ben McRoy has one carry for nine yards and freshman Kenny Williams has six totes for five yards.
Junior wide receiver Darrin Moore is near 100% and is expected to play Saturday against Kansas State. On the season, he has 21 receptions for 339 yards and four scores. His presence could ease the burden on the running game for Doege. In Moore's absence, several receivers stepped up including Eric Ward, who now leads the team with 30 receptions for 289 yards and eight scores. Alex Torres, now a junior, is finally healthy and making plays reminiscent of his freshman year when he led Tech in receptions. Torres has tallied 23 catches for 277 yards and one TD. Jacoby Franks adds 19 catches for 180 yards and a score. Tramain Swindall and Adam James each have a TD to their credit and freshman tight-end Jace Amaro adds two which rounds out the Red Raider scoring through five games of the 2011 season.
The Wildcats pose a significant threat to Texas Tech simply because of the offense Bill Snyder runs. K-State enjoys long, laborious drives which limits their opponent's possessions. Under the previous regime here at Tech, time of possession was an afterthought. Under Bill Snyder, it's an art form. Like many, I expected then number 15 Baylor to walk into Manhattan, Kansas and destroy Kansas State with precision passing and superior athletes. Baylor went home that day with a 36-35 loss and the Wildcats followed it up with a victory over Missouri last week.
With the uncertainty of the Red Raiders ground game, Doege will have a little more on his shoulders this week. One of the ways Doege can compensate for an unsteady ground attack is short passes over the middle. Whether that is accomplished with screens to the running backs or passes to the inside receivers or tight ends, it's likely that the middle of the field will be open for Doege to exploit this week.
With such a young team, it will be interesting to see how this bunch responds. Expect effort and focus this week from the team's veterans. The 11 true freshmen who have played so far this year for Texas Tech are unknowns and could be the key to this week's contest.