Kansas St.-Texas Tech Preview

Kansas State has shown plenty of resilience during its best

start in 11 years. It might have to rely on that fortitude again

when it visits a team it’s often had trouble stopping.

The unbeaten and 17th-ranked Wildcats will try to withstand

Texas Tech’s high-powered offense and snap a five-game losing

streak to the Red Raiders in Saturday night’s Big 12 matchup in

Lubbock.

Kansas State’s 24-17 victory over Missouri was its fourth this

season by seven points or fewer. After coming from behind in the

fourth quarter in its previous two games, the Wildcats (5-0, 2-0)

had to fend off a late rally by the Tigers last Saturday after

going up 24-3.

The win kept them tied atop the conference with No. 3 Oklahoma

and No. 6 Oklahoma State. Another would help them match their 6-0

start from 2000.

“I think we have something special. We just cannot get

complacent,” wide receiver Chris Harper said. “We are getting more

and more attention with each win, but we cannot just start settling

and become happy where we are at.”

A matchup with the Red Raiders (4-1, 1-1) might keep the

Wildcats from getting too comfortable.

Texas Tech is in the top 10 nationally in points per game

(45.8), passing yards (354.6) and overall yards per game (524.6).

Quarterback Seth Doege is tied for second in FBS with 17

touchdowns, throwing at least three in each game, and is sixth with

341.2 yards per game.

“Every week is a challenge, and this is certainly one,” Wildcats

coach Bill Snyder said. “He is a very talented quarterback.”

Snyder’s teams know what it’s like to have trouble defending

Texas Tech’s pass-heavy offense. Doege threw a late touchdown pass

– the Red Raiders’ eighth of the day – during the previous matchup

with Kansas State, a 66-14 rout in Lubbock on Oct. 10, 2009.

The Wildcats have dropped five in a row in the series and have

been outscored 183-62 in the last three games.

However, they enter this matchup after holding Missouri to 326

yards – nearly 200 below its average. After finishing 106th in

total defense last season by allowing 445.7 yards per game, Kansas

State is 17th in 2011 (298.8 ypg).

“We have a lot of work to do and a lot of coverages to fix, but

the key thing is to stay focused. Texas Tech is a great team. They

have a great offense, and we will just have to stop them,”

linebacker Tre Walker said.

The Red Raiders, though, will have to replace leading rusher

Eric Stephens, who is out for the season after dislocating his left

knee in the third quarter of last week’s 45-40 loss to Texas

A&M. The senior had 102 yards on 22 carries before exiting, and

was 15th in FBS with 114.0 per game.

That should give Kansas State a vast edge on the ground as it

tries to win in Lubbock for the first time since 1997. The Wildcats

are 26th nationally with 208.6 rushing yards per game, while the

Red Raiders are 115th out of 120 FBS teams in rushing defense

(224.2 ypg).

They gave up 205 yards on the ground during last week’s loss,

which was the third straight game they’ve allowed at least 34

points.

“We ain’t stopped (the run) all year,” coach Tommy Tuberville

said. “We’ve got to play better on defense. This will be a game

where we’ve got to get our offense back on the field.”

Leading Kansas State rusher John Hubert has 349 of his 469 yards

over the past three games. The Texas native had a career-best 166

yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown during the Wildcats’ only

other road game, a 28-24 victory at Miami on Sept. 24.

Quarterback Collin Klein, who has one yard fewer than Hubert,

ran for a career-high three touchdowns in the win over Missouri and

has seven rushing scores this season.

Texas Tech has won eight of the 11 all-time matchups between the

schools.