Texas Tech Football: Keys for Red Raiders to Upset Kansas State

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2012

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 20:  Eric Ward #18 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates a 56-53 triple overtime win against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Although it will not be easy, Texas Tech has what it takes to defeat No. 4 Kansas State on the road.

The Red Raiders are coming off back-to-back big wins over West Virginia and TCU. In that span, the team has jumped from unranked to the No. 15 team in the AP Poll and No. 14 in the BCS standings. 

Unfortunately, Saturday's game against the Wildcats figures to be the toughest one on the schedule. Kansas State opened as eight-point favorites, according to Vegas Insider, and is led by Heisman candidate Collin Klein. 

In order for Texas Tech to win the game, it will need to follow these keys to victory.


Make Plays On Passes

Collin Klein is more of a runner than a passer, but he torched West Virginia last week for 323 yards and three touchdowns, both career highs. He completed 19 of his 21 passes and had very little struggles all day.

Fortunately, the Raiders can defend the pass as well as anyone in the country; opposing quarterbacks have only an efficiency rating of 104.4, which is ranked No. 13 in the country.

After facing elite quarterbacks like Geno Smith and Landry Jones, this is even more impressive. 

When Kansas State played Iowa State, Klein rushed for 105 yards and three touchdowns, but it remained a six-point game because of the quarterback's inefficiency as a passer.

Texas Tech needs to attack the team at its weakest point by forcing incomplete passes and possibly some turnovers.

This is the only way to slow down this high-powered offense. 


Avoid Turnovers

Texas Tech saw last week how important turnovers are to a game.

The team needed overtime to defeat TCU 56-53, but might not have been at that point if it was not for a plus-three turnover differential.

Senior quarterback Seth Doege avoided mistakes and led his team to victory with seven touchdowns, including three in overtime.

In the Red Raider's six wins this year, Doege has 28 touchdowns and only four interceptions. In the one loss to Oklahoma, the quarterback has zero touchdowns and three interceptions.

Additionally, his two interceptions against Iowa State helped keep the Cyclones in the game in Week 5.

Doege, as well as the rest of the team, needs to avoid turnovers that can waste valuable opportunities against this elite team.


Spread the Field

Geno Smith is a great quarterback, but he is too reliant on two receivers. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin have combined for 1595 yards this year and have caught 23 of Smith's 26 touchdowns. 

While it is nice to have elite receivers, it made it too easy for Texas Tech and Kansas State to slow down the air attack.

Conversely, 11 different players caught passes for the Red Raiders against West Virginia and nine got a reception against TCU; six different men have caught touchdowns in the last two games for the Red Raiders.

The run game has been relatively ineffective lately, but anyone in the trio of Kenny Williams, Eric Stephens Jr. and SaDale Foster can break a long play if you give them opportunities.

This keeps opponents guessing, and it is unlike anything Kansas State has seen this year. 

If Texas Tech can move the ball like it is used to and ignores the crowd, this team can defy the odds and be victorious on Saturday. 


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