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Texas Tech’s chase for a Bowl continues against Kansas

Despite their record, the Jayhawks showed many improvements this season

NCAA Football: Kansas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

After the unexpected, unusual, and brilliant victory against TCU, the Red Raiders return in Lubbock for their seventh game of the season, as they face the Kansas Jayhawks at the Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday.

With this last victory, Texas Tech improved its record to 4-2, while Kansas began the season with two wins against Central Michigan and Rutgers (with the biggest margin against an FBS opponent since 2007), but was quickly slammed back to the reality with three Big 12 losses.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Texas Christian Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

This will be the 19th meeting between these two schools, and Texas Tech holds a strong dominance in this matchup, having 18 victories, with only one loss (2001). Usually, these games aren’t marked by small margins, as the Red Raiders won 15 of these games by ten or more points.

The first four meetings took place between 1965 and 1970 as non-conference matchups, but when Texas Tech moved to the Big 12 (former Big 8) these games became more frequent. As the Jayhawks were in the North conference and the Red Raiders in the South, this game is only played every year since 2011.

NCAA Football: Kansas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Despite their record, the Jayhawks are showing many improvements that make them a team that cannot be underestimated. First of all, in 2017 they scored 18.7 points/game, and in 2018 they average 27.7. This comes from a backfield that averaged 102.6 yards/game in 2017 and that in 2018 travels at 166.7.

Freshman Pooka Williams Jr. is the leading rusher, with 539 yards in 72 carries (7.5 yards/carry), while the passing game decreased its production per game but if in 2017 Kansas had 14 TDs and 17 interceptions, now they are at 10 TDs and two picks.

NCAA Football: Kansas at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

That said, the unit that improved its production is, without any doubt, defense, as it nearly halved the points allowed, going from 43.4/game to 26.5. And it creates turnovers. It creates many turnovers.

The Jayhawks lead the nation in turnovers gained (11 interceptions and seven fumbles recovered) and in the positive margin, as they lost only five, and it means a margin of 2.13 turnovers/game.

These numbers clearly show Kansas is improving a lot in David Beaty’s fourth season on the sideline, so it’s important to stay focused on this. Iowa State can wait.