Last week I ended my article with a poll question in which I asked what the outcome of the Sam Houston State game would be, coming in with the most votes at 40% was "Sam Houston St pulls off the upset." I'm hoping the reason this happened was that Sam Houston State fans picked up on the article and our Tech faithful really don't think we will lose. If we lose the season-opener to SHSU that would set a pretty bad tone for the season ahead. This week I turn my attention to Kansas State when they come to town towards the end of the season.
Result: Texas Tech 13 at Kansas State 45
K-State 2014 Record: 9-4
Where: Lubbock, TX
K-State Key Returners: #24 RB Charles Jones (133 carries, 540 yards, 13 TDs), #22 S Dante Barnett (77 tackles, 3 INT)
Key Matchup: Can Texas Tech's defense take advantage of an inexperienced K-State offense?
Over the past few years Kansas State has really owned Texas Tech. Going back to 2011 Texas Tech has lost 4 straight to Kansas State. The Wildcats have averaged 47.5 points per game compared to the Red Raiders 24.5. Behind those assaults were K-State quarterbacks Collin Klein and Jake Waters. Unlike most years, this year K-State will go into the season with a bit of uncertainty at the quarterback position. Former walk-on, Joe Hubener, is the only quarterback with playing experience on the roster and most of that was in mop up duty. Hubener stands at 6'4" 205 pounds and apparently is capable of running as well. Klein and Waters both hurt the Red Raiders with their feet so hopefully we can keep Hubener at bay. The Wildcats also lose their top two receivers in Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton, so their top returning wideout is Kody Cook who only had 251 yards and one TD. K-State does return their leading rusher in Charles Jones. Jones had 540 yards and 13 TDs on the ground. Close behind Jones was Waters who had 484 yards. By the time the Wildcats come to town Tech's new defense should be running on all cylinders and if everything goes as planned we will be able to hold the usual powerhouse offense of K-State to a minimum.
The Wildcats also lose some top guys on defense as well. The key returning piece on their defense is safety Dante Barnett. Barnett is a leader for K-State and has started every game over the past two seasons. He was All-Big 12 Second Team and will be looking to cement his name in Kansas State history. Barnett will be the anchor on a fairly young defense and Tech will be looking to take advantage of this. This should be a competitive matchup unlike the years past and expect a fight out of the Red Raiders.
Why I worry
Just look at the numbers, K-State has had our number as of late. After Klein left people thought, "Yes! He's out of here." but in walks Jake Waters. Bill Snyder is an amazing coach and always seems to have his players ready to play year in and year out. This year should be nothing out of the usual for him.
Why I don't worry
Kansas State's offense is always Texas Tech's biggest problem when they meet up. A team that scores 190 points over four meetings is really saying something. This year K-State comes in with a relative unknown at quarterback, a wide receiving core who basically has no experience, and a running back who was almost out-rushed by his quarterback. If Texas Tech's offense is running smoothly and the defense is holding their own then the Red Raiders should be set up to pull out the W against K-State... finally.