Sometimes Texas Tech is the forgotten college team in the state of Texas. However, after Saturday’s thrilling three-overtime win over TCU, 56-53, they set up a game against Kansas State with a chance to be the only college team in first place in the Lone Star state.
Coming into 2012, Texas Tech was an afterthought to other in-state and fellow Big 12 conference schools like Texas, Baylor and TCU. They were even pushed behind Texas A&M and how they would do in their new conference, the SEC.
However, after a small stumble to Oklahoma—losing 41-20—the Red Raiders have responded by beating two ranked teams in back-to-back weeks.
They’ve done this by scoring 105 points behind a passing game that ranks fourth in the nation, averaging 369 yards per game.
That passing game has been good enough to sit only behind the juggernaut of a passing attack led by Geno Smith at West Virginia. However, if it wasn’t for Smith and WVU, Tech would be well ahead of the rest of the Big 12 with a 222 lead in passing yards and a four-touchdown lead over Baylor.
However, unlike previous years, Texas Tech has a defense that has been just as good as the high-powered offense.
For example last year, the defense gave up 40 or more points six times, and the year before that the defense surrendered 40 or more points three times.
This season, the defense has been playing great, having yet to allow an offense to score 60 or more points, something that happened twice last year.
If it wasn’t for the three overtimes today, Oklahoma would have been the most points that the Red Raiders defense had allowed.
Going up against Kansas State’s Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback, Collin Klein, is going to be a tough task. Klein has played well this year and has yet to be held scoreless in seven games.
But when Texas Tech was up against another Heisman candidate quarterback, WVU’s Smith, they held him to some of his lowest stats of his season: one touchdown, 52.7 completion percentage and 100.7 quarterback rating.
Tech will have to continue this surge of play from the defense and its passing game if they want to continue this run to the top of the Big 12.
Because against Kansas State they will have to be able to play either a tight defensive low-scoring game, or a wild shootout.
From what we’ve seen from Tech during these last two weeks, this team is built to withstand either game.
And if they can upset the Wildcats on the road next week, they will not only be in first place in the Big 12, but also among college teams in the state of Texas.