|KEY KANSAS STATS|
|NAT'L RANK||15.8||No. 123|
|YARDS PER CARRY||3.62||No. 104|
|PASSING YARDS PER GAME||176.8||No. 109|
|TOTAL YARDS PER GAME||331.8||No. 115|
|PUNT RETURN AVERAGE||15.56||No. 114|
|3RD DOWN CONVERSION PERCENTAGE||32.08||No. 115|
|RED ZONE CONVERSION PERCENTAGE||35.7||No. 125|
Texas Tech’s game against the Kansas Jayhawks is setting up just right for the Red Raiders. And more specifically, for the Tech defense.
Hence, with Clint Bowen’s replacement of Charlie Weis, the KU offense has undergone an extreme makeover, morphing from a ground-oriented attack led by Montell Cozart into an aerial extravaganza kick-started by Michael Cummings. And the results, by Kansas’ standards, haven’t been bad actually.
In the two games Cummings has started, the Jayhawks have scored a combined 34 points against West Virginia and Oklahoma State, and have passed for a total of 399 yards. By the standards of a Baylor, an Oklahoma or a Texas Tech, those numbers are piddling, but they constitute improvement in Lawrence.
But here is the good news for the Red Raiders: Mike Smith and his defensive colleagues now have two complete games worth of film on Cummings and the new Kansas offense. There should be no surprises for Tech, and on the contrary, the Red Raiders should be able to throw some new looks at the inexperienced quarterback that may fluster and confuse him. If that happens, the Jayhawks will score very little.
And even if it doesn’t, there’s not much about the KU offense that should trouble Tech. The Jayhawks don’t score much—less than 16 points per game. Their running game is not efficient, averaging only 3.62 yards per carry. Passing efficiency ranks only No. 122 in the nation. And the Jayhawks are only No. 125 in red zone touchdown conversion percentage. In a best-case scenario for the visitors, it is difficult to imagine them scoring more than 24 points.
Kansas is much better on defense than on offense, but still are mid-pack in most major statistical categories. KU does boast linebacker Ben Heeney, a Tazmanian devil who may be the best at his position in the Big 12.
The Jayhawks secondary also possesses real talent in cornerbacks JaCorey Shepherd and Dexter McDonald, as well as safety Cassius Sendish. Linebacker Jake Love and tackle Keon Stowers are also players who would see the field for any defense in the Big 12.
The strength of the KU defense is preventing opponents from converting touchdowns in the red zone. The Jayhawks are 20th nationally in that category, and it is significant because Texas Tech’s inability to convert red zone chances into touchdowns cost them the game against West Virginia last week. Converting opportunities into six points will have been a point of emphasis for the Tech coaching staff in preparation for Kansas.
The crystal ball foretells a slowly improving Red Raider defense totally stifling Kansas’ inchoate passing game, and the Tech offense continuing to run the ball effectively with Deandre Washington and Justin Stockton as they did against West Virginia. The result will be a very lopsided win for the home team.