Monster win at home, followed by a trek out to a tough environment in front of what may be a sold-out game at home. Never my favorite situation, but I will answer some pressing questions ahead of yet another top 25 matchup.
Can Texas Tech contain both the legs of Adrian Martinez, and Deuce Vaughn?
Yes, but it will not be easy. Martinez’s best weapon is his mobility, as the Sooners just found out. But this is quarterback number 4 that Tech has played who had the added dimension of being very mobile. In all four matchups, the defense was able to contain the mobile quarterback about as well as you can.
The game plan for Deuce is the same one as for Bijon, contain him because you cannot stop him. Bijon busted that 40 yard run, but otherwise was pedestrian. He had 61 yards on his 15 other carries, and most of those he made off pure tackle breaking talent.
Vaughn will bust one, but keep it at one and hold him in check. I think Tech is up to the challenge.
Can Donovan Smith put together a second good game?
Consistency has never been Smith’s friend, but he looked like a changed quarterback in that Texas game. He was patient, made his reads, and made the big plays. Yes, he is never going to be the most accurate passer or have the biggest arm. But against Texas he proved he can start at this level.
I expect Smith to have another game just like this one on Saturday. Efficient, using his body and speed to make plays, and protect the football.
Tech has a 6 game losing streak against the Wildcats and is 1-9 in the last 10 matchups. What makes Kansas State so tough for Tech?
Coaching is the biggest answer. Bill Snyder was a better coach than any who have walked through Tech, and Chris Klineman is a better coach than Matt Wells. The other part of this is how Kansas State wins football games. The QB run power scheme they have run a lot, combined with speedy backs and ballsy quarterbacks, is the weakness for any bend but don’t break defense. Because as the field tightens, they can just beat you so many ways. And for Tech, who has had so much issue with rushing attacks over the years it has especially been a problem.
It is frustrating to see this stat, because unlike Texas or Oklahoma the talent levels here should be even. In fact, Tech should maybe have even more talent than Kansas State. But, the discipline and coach and scheme employed has consistently put Tech to sleep.