Kansas-Texas Tech: Intriguing Matchups Set Stage for Struggling Teams
Kansas QB Todd Reesing brings his high-powered offense to Lubbock.
Typically, that spells trouble for opposing teams, but after last week’s dose of humble pie dished out by A&M in a 52-30 Red Raiders loss, the reputation of Texas Tech’s home field advantage took a serious hit.
It’s not all bad news for Raider fans, though. Reesing’s Jayhawks are struggling a bit too. Consecutive losses to Colorado and Oklahoma interrupted a terrific start for Mark Mangino and his bunch.
The Jayhawks’ loss to Colorado is as puzzling as Tech’s loss to the Aggies—Colorado was mired in a QB controversy and several players quit the team. The CU team that lost to Toledo and Colorado State snuck by a ranked Kansas squad 34-30.
As mentioned above, the senior QB Reesing leads Kansas’ offense. Reesing has completed 185 of 285 passes (65 percent) for 2,204 yards with 15 TDs and seven INTs. Additionally, Reesing is no stranger to rushing the football, as evidenced by his four TDs on 57 carries.
Tech’s defensive line faces a tough challenge here. Reesing is very effective as a passer, and he has two great receivers at his disposal. Also, when the play breaks down, he can definitely take off and run for the first down.
Jake Sharp, Toben Opurum, and WR Dezmon Briscoe are the top threats for Kansas’ running game. Sharp is the senior leader in the bunch. However, his 62 carries for 291 yards (five YPC) and three scores all trail backup Opurum’s numbers.
The freshman Opurum leads KU with 108 carries and 480 yards (4.5 YPC) and eight rushing TDs.
In addition, Reesing has four scores on the ground, and WR Briscoe adds 20 yards and one score on a single carry.
Former QB Kerry Meier leads KU’s passing game. Meier has 62 catches for 634 yards (10 YPC) and six TD receptions. The aforementioned Briscoe teams with Meier to form what could be the best 1-2 WR combo in the Big 12. Briscoe has 45 catches for 731 yards (16 YPC) and four TDs.
RBs Sharp (3) and Opurum (1) and junior Tertavian Ingram (1) finish KU’s receiving scores.
Texas Tech Passing
Mike Leach’s football team is going through a season of change. Aside from the much publicized departure of Graham Harrell, Leach and his staff have dealt with injuries among the Red Raider QBs.
Taylor Potts began the season as the clear-cut starter. Midway through the Oct. 3 game against New Mexico, Potts was injured and replaced by Steven Sheffield.
Sheffield filled in admirably for Potts and helped the Red Raiders to victories over New Mexico, Kansas State, and Nebraska. Unfortunately, Sheffield has also been forced to miss time due to injury. After a gutsy performance against Nebraska on the road, Sheffield hasn’t played.
Potts’ shaky start against Texas A&M last week gave third stringer Seth Doege a chance. The redshirt freshman played well late in the game against the Aggies. Although nothing has been officially announced, Doege is rumored to be Leach’s choice to start at QB this week.
For his part, Leach has quite admirably refrained from publicly complaining about the quandary he’s faced in dealing with his wounded signal callers. Texas Tech may not have the nation’s leading passer this season (which they've done six out of nine seasons under Leach), but fans can be assured that Tech's QBs will give it all they’ve got.
Texas Tech Rushing
Baron Batch leads Tech’s RBs. His 76 carries, 408 yards (five YPC), and six TDs pace the Red Raiders’ ground attack. Speedster Harrison Jeffers is next with 31 carries for 207 yards (seven YPC) and four scores.
Freshman Eric Stephens give Texas Tech a powerful option to hit the opposition with late in the game. His 24 carries for 105 yards (four YPC) and one score is pretty impressive.
Additionally, Stephens is a dangerous weapon on kickoff returns. He had a 98-yard return for a score earlier in the season. However, that play was called back due to a penalty. As a true freshman, Stephens is the first frosh RB to get extensive playing time since Taurean Henderson in 2001.
Texas Tech Receiving
Because of Leach’s aerial attack, the Red Raiders have many more dangerous options at wideout than the average college football team. This season’s group of receivers is led by Detron Lewis. Lewis has 41 grabs for 538 yards (13 YPC) and four scores.
Alex Torres also has 41 catches and four TDs. Lyle Leong leads the team with six receiving scores, and Tramain Swindall’s 17 yards per catch is tops for the Red Raiders.
RBs Batch, Jeffers, and Stephens, along with Austin Zouzalik, Jacoby Franks, Adam James, and Brik Brinker, each have one receiving TD.
· Mike Leach will tie Spike Dykes for the all-time wins record at Texas Tech with his next victory.
· Texas Tech has won five straight against Big 12 North foes.
· Kansas’ only win in the series between the two teams came in Lubbock in 2001.
· KU coach Mark Mangino followed Leach as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma after Leach took the job at Texas Tech following the 1999 season.
What Will Happen
With both teams coming off disappointing losses, it’s anyone’s guess what might happen in this game. I expect the offenses to outshine the defenses because both teams are eager to prove that they are better than what happened on the field last week.
For Kansas, it’s a "get back to the basics" approach as the veteran roster has been through the ups and downs of a season before. For Texas Tech, it’s a bit of an enigma because this is Seth Doege’s first start. It is imperative that Doege find his comfort zone early.
Home field advantage aids the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech: 42
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