Texas Tech is facing its toughest test of the season this Saturday, and the Red Raiders will need to win a few key individual matchups in order to upset No. 3 Kansas State.
The Wildcats have been remarkably impressive this year, winning all of their first seven games and rocketing up the polls and rankings. Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein has led the charge, and he has established himself as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
But a high-powered passing attack has led Texas Tech to a 6-1 record, and the team certainly has enough firepower to record an upset.
Here are the players who must step up on Saturday to hand KSU its first loss of the season.
Seth Doege, Quarterback
While Klein is the Heisman favorite, Seth Doege has proved this year that he is worthy of a trip to New York as well.
Doege racked up 4,004 passing yards last season, and he is well on his way to surpassing that mark. He has 2,209 yards through the air thus far, and his completion percentage of 70.8 and yards per attempt of 8.3 are both up from last year.
He has also equaled his mark of 28 touchdown passes from a season ago and has thrown just seven interceptions.
While Doege has been impressive thus far, he will need to be completely flawless against the Wildcats, as the Red Raiders will likely need to turn this game into a shootout in order to win.
Kenny Williams, SaDale Foster, Eric Stephens Jr., Running Backs
While gaining yards through the air will be vitally important against Kansas State, the Red Raiders will need to attack the Wildcats defense with balance.
Head coach Tommy Tuberville has emphasized the importance of running the ball effectively since arriving in Lubbock, and although he let Doege loose in the past two weeks, he must get the running backs involved this Saturday.
This will take some of the pressure off of Doege, and it will control the clock, keeping Klein off the field. Kenny Williams, SaDale Foster and Eric Stephens Jr. have split time nearly equally and are all averaging over five yards per carry.
Williams has gained the most yards this season, but all three players will need to run decisively if Texas Tech is to have a chance at victory.
Cody Davis, Safety
While the offense will have to score plenty of points in order to pull off an upset, the defense will need to make a few plays.
Cody Davis is the defensive player most likely to have a major impact on the game for the Red Raiders. The senior safety is leading the team in both tackles and interceptions, and he is the perfect player to help slow down Klein.
Davis is effective when flying towards the line of scrimmage and making a tackle and he is excellent in coverage. He will need to do both at a high level if the Red Raiders to keep the Wildcats offense in check.
If Davis can make a few big plays in this game, it may provide Texas Tech with the advantage it needs to record an incredible upset.