Texas Tech-Kansas Preview
While undefeated Texas Tech hasn't had much trouble moving the ball, coach Kliff Kingsbury is hoping to see the Red Raiders put more points on the board going forward.
Keeping up with the Big 12's lowest-scoring team shouldn't prove too difficult.
Seeking its first 5-0 start in five seasons, No. 20 Texas Tech looks to continue its domination against Kansas and hand the Jayhawks a 22nd consecutive loss in conference play Saturday in Lawrence.
The Red Raiders (4-0, 1-0) have jumped out to a tremendous start, outscoring opponents by an average of 25.5 points. Texas Tech is 11th in the country with 520.0 yards per game and has averaged a good - but not elite - 38.8 points to rank 31st.
The Red Raiders' defense, meanwhile, has proven to be one of the FBS' stingiest units, giving up 13.3 points per contest - nearly 20 fewer than last season's mark of 31.8.
"They've done a great job, really, the first four weeks in leading this team," Kingsbury said of his defense. "Hopefully they keep doing that and the offense can catch up."
Before entering its bye last week, Texas Tech posted a 33-7 win over Texas State on Sept. 21. Linebacker Will Smith returned a fumble nine yards for the only touchdown in the first half.
"We can't be settling for field goals," said wideout Bradley Marquez, who hauled in six receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. "As an offense we need to finish out in the red zone."
Quarterback Davis Webb compiled 310 yards to go along with two scores, but he completed just 19 of 43 passes and threw two interceptions. Fellow freshman Baker Mayfield was 14 of 20 passing for 124 yards and a pick.
"We've got to do a lot better with that position overall," Kingsbury said. "I told them both they're probably going to play the rest of the year. Two freshman quarterbacks, that's what you get early on and we'll continue to get better."
The Red Raiders have now opened 4-0 in three straight seasons, but they haven't won their first five games since opening 10-0 in 2008. Texas Tech would appear to have a good chance to do just that against Kansas (2-1), which has dropped 13 of 14 all-time matchups in the series, including six straight by an average of 15.8 points.
The Red Raiders, though, needed double overtime to beat the Jayhawks in last season's 41-34 home win Nov. 10.
Kansas, which is coming off a bye heading into its Big 12 opener, has been outscored by an average of 25.5 points during a 21-game losing streak against conference foes.
"As of this Saturday it will be 1,063 days since Kansas football won a game against a Big 12 opponent," coach Charlie Weis said. "I think we're excited to get into Big-12 action and kind of see how this all plays out."
The Jayhawks enter the weekend last in the conference with 19.3 points per game. They struggled against Louisiana Tech before outscoring the Bulldogs 10-0 in the fourth quarter in a 13-10 win Sept. 21.
Matthew Wyman's 52-yard field goal as time expired snapped Kansas' 22-game losing streak against FBS foes.
"We have to score way more points than what we have been scoring. It's really that simple," Weis said. "We obviously haven't played great as a team yet. ... We're hoping that as the year goes on we're going to get a lot better at the end of the year than we are at the end of the year."
The Jayhawks, who have recorded 497 rushing yards and 559 passing yards, will likely look to ride their ground game again. James Sims has run for 93.7 yards per game to rank second in the Big 12 and two touchdowns.
"I am a big fan of James Sims," Weis said. "I think he has become a lot more of a complete player and he has shown more leadership off the field, too."
Sims carried the ball a career-high 30 times for 127 yards and scored three touchdowns against Texas Tech last year.
The Jayhawks have dropped 10 straight to Top 25 teams by an average of 29.5 points.