Ultimate Preview: Kansas

Offense |
Ask The Expert
Matchups •
Game Predictions
Kansas gave up over
600 yards on the ground in its last game, but that little statistical nugget
isn't going to change the way Texas Tech approaches the upcoming clash with
the Jayhawks.
"We'll throw first, run second," coach Tommy Tuberville said of his Red
Raiders, who are among the nation's leaders in passing yards per game. "But
we are going to take what they give us."
"The Raiders have upped the ante on their running game this year with
tailback Eric Stephens producing nearly 115 yards an outing on the ground
and quarterback Seth Doege contributing another 25.
But that in no way compares to the pressure Georgia Tech, which spanked the
Jayhawks 62-24, puts on opposing defenses with its run-based triple-option
attack, something the Jayhawks apparently never solved.
"Depending on what they do, depending on how many people they put on the
line of scrimmage whether we run or throw," Tuberville said. "We are not
saying every game we are going to throw it no matter what you do. You just
don't do that."
The game at Lawrence will be the Big 12 opener for both teams. Tech is back
home for the next two games against conference foes Texas A&M and Kansas
-- Sports Xchange
WR D.J. Beshears - 3 att., 29 yards; 12 rec., 135 yards, 2 TD; 18 ret.,
387 yards - Leads the Big 12 in all-purpose yardage with 183.7 yards on
average, mostly off kick returns. Kansas must find ways to get Beshears more
touches as a receiver and also spring him occasionally on end arounds and
reverses. He had a 43-yard catch late in the first half at Georgia Tech.
LB Steven Johnson - 31 tackles, 2 TFL, FF - The surest tackler among
the Jayhawks, Johnson also covers the most ground and ranks second in the
Big 12 with 10.3 tackles on average. Anything the senior can do to help
align teammates correctly would contribute to much-needed improvement on
DE Toben Opurum - 18 tackles, 1 sack, 5.5 TFL, 2 QBH - Could emerge
as one of the bigger strengths for the Jayhawks defensively now that they
will face a steady assortment of passing teams in the Big 12. Opurum ranks
second in the conference with 5.5 tackles for loss, though he does not yet
have an unassisted sack.
-- Sports Xchange
Brick By Brick: After last week's defensive performance, it's
important that Tech come out and show better on defense against Kansas. Not
just to give the team a chance to win, but to help boost confidence and
offer tangible proof that the defense is heading in the right direction. No
one's expecting the defense to turn on a dime and be 1980's Miami
Hurricanes-esque, but they must improve from last week's result if they want
to be competitive in the Big 12 this year.
Dam Up The River: The most critical component for Tech's defense
will be to get stops early and often. Nevada was able to convert third downs
seemingly at will last Saturday, and the Red Raiders will have to put on
their big boy pants when the opportunity for a stop arises. If you can get
up on Kansas early and hold them down on defense, then the Jayhawks will
have to move away from their game plan and start throwing the ball.
Rise Up! The Texas Tech offense seemed a bit dejected and out of
sorts for a period of time after Darrin Moore left with an injury. When the
second half came around, however, the offense finally found itself and
started cranking out production from Eric Stephens, Jacoby Franks and
Eric Ward. Tech's offense must find guys to step up in Moore's absence, and Ward,
Stephens, and Franks can be those guys.
-- McKay
• Texas Tech has won the last four meetings with Kansas and have won 11 of
the 12 games in the series. Kansas' only win in the series came in 2001,
when the Jayhawks escaped with a 34-31 overtime win.
• Kansas has played largely turnover free football games. The Jayhawks have
turned the ball over once, and gained just one of their own. Quarterback
Jordan Webb has yet to throw an interception this season.
• The Red Raiders are currently riding a six-game winning streak, second only
to Oklahoma (8) in the Big 12.
• Both Tech and Kansas have been very efficient on offense this season. The
Red Raiders and Jayhawks rank second and sixth respectively in the Football
Bowl Subdivision in offensive third-down efficiency and each converted all
of their redzone opportunities this season.
-- Dickens
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