|Matchup Preview | 11 a.m., October 5, 2013|
|#20 Texas Tech Red Raiders|
(4-0, 1-0 Away)
(2-1, 0-0 Home)
Kansas intimated this week they expect to win today, but Texas Tech must win and win convincingly in order to perpetuate its status as a program on the rise.
It's homecoming in Lawrence, so one might think the Jayhawks will come out with a little extra fire and their familiarity with an 11 a.m. kickoff has been bounced around by various media types as a possible advantage.
"I think that our players are expecting to win this week, they aren't just hoping to win," Kansas coach Charlie Weis said. "They might be an eight touchdown underdog, I couldn't tell you, I don't follow that stuff. But, I know one thing, we haven't played a game this year where our team expected to lose or hoped to win."
While the Jayhawks (2-1) are mired in an ignominious Big 12 losing streak that stretches back over 1,000 days and 21 conference games, Red Raider Nation has reveled in a tidal wave of positive momentum beginning with the hiring of beloved former star quarterback Kliff Kingsbury as head coach back in December.
No. 20 Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0 in the Big 12), while not always aesthetically pleasing offensively, has taken care of business so far this season, most importantly with a 20-10 home victory over in-state rival TCU on Sept. 12. Kingsbury has also been a national media darling with recent appearances on the Jim Rome Show and even E! News and enjoyed great success on the recruiting trail.
A loss to Kansas would be a failure of epic proportions, and would undo any credibility the Red Raiders have built up nationally. Tech may not be able to send a message by defeating lowly Kansas, but a loss or maybe even a close victory sure would.
The Red Raiders said all of the right things in regards to coming out of a bye week into a contest in which they are two-touchdown favorites.
"Playing in the Big 12, I always felt any team can beat anybody on any day," Texas Tech senior defensive lineman Kerry Hyder said. "I don't feel like we've got guaranteed wins nowhere. You've got to come out and play your best every week, and that's what we're going to do."
Kingsbury announced during his weekly media luncheon on Monday that quarterback Baker Mayfield will make his fifth start and added that the true freshman is healthy for the first time in weeks.
"Yeah, we're 4-0 with him as a starter, and that's really where we're at. So we'll let him cut it loose and see," Kingsbury said.
Even with the nod from the head coach, expect a short leash for Mayfield, who has thrown for 1,120 yards and eight touchdowns, but also tossed four picks and struggled to move the chains at times.
Fellow true freshman Davis Webb, who has passed for 514 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions, has replaced Mayfield in each of the past two games in wins over TCU and Texas State and will be waiting in the wings.
No matter who takes the majority of the snaps behind center, the Red Raiders hold advantages in nearly every statistical category, have won 13 of 14 against Kansas, including the past six metings and are unquestionably the better team. But none of that guarantees victory.
"Like I said, all you have to do is watch last weekend [West Virginia's 30-21 upset of Oklahoma State]," Kingsbury said. "Our guys know. They have a chip on their shoulder. They picked us 8th and 9th all year. So there isn't a game after this. So we'll go in there and do our best."