Texas Tech at Kansas
When and Where: Saturday, Oct. 26, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Ks., 7 p.m. EDT.
After coming oh-so-close to its first Big 12 conference win under Les Miles, Kansas tries again Saturday when it hosts a Texas Tech team looking for its first road win of the season.
Slumping Red Raiders look to avoid third straight lossTexas Tech (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) has struggled in its first season under Matt Wells after Kliff Kingsbury's departure to the Arizona Cardinals. Adding to those inconsistencies is the broken collarbone suffered by quarterback Alan Bowman that will sideline him for a fourth straight game.
Jett Duffey failed to get the offense going in the first half, which contributed to a 20-0 deficit in the first 19:48 of last week's 34-24 home loss to Iowa State. Duffey finished 40 of 52 for 239 yards and a touchdown, but the Red Raiders never got closer than 10 the final two-plus quarters.
Jett Duffey runs out of bounds before crossing the goal line. pic.twitter.com/czprQaH1XD— Brad Tollefson (@Brad_Tollefson) October 20, 2019
"I just think he's gotta take another step," Wells said of Duffey at his weekly media availability Monday. "Saturday there were some good stuff and there were some things that he did outside the framework of the offense, and you can't do that. ... I think it's just daily mastering the new things, because there's going to be new things in every game plan. And it's week to week."
Duffey has put up solid numbers over his five games, throwing for 1,149 yards and six touchdowns while completing 68.6 percent of his passes. Even with the switch at quarterback, Texas Tech is 17th in the country in total offense at 477.6 yards per game but only 59th in scoring at 30.3 points per game.
The "Air Raid" offense continues to produce quality numbers for Texas Tech's receivers as five players have at least 20 catches. T.J. Vasher paces the group with team highs of 35 receptions, 440 yards and five touchdowns. SaRodorick Thompson is among that group and also ranks fifth in the Big 12 with 469 rushing yards.
Tech's defense has yet to truly stop a conference opponent, giving up 33 or more points in all four games. The Red Raiders have recorded 10 takeaways in those games but also have allowed an average of 559.5 yards, including 365.8 per game through the air.
Miles takes positives from pushing Longhorns to limitEven with a 2-5 record and 0-4 start to conference play, Miles is clearly laying a foundation in Lawrence that has been missing since the days of Mark Mangino. Two of Kansas' four defeats in Big 12 play have been by five or fewer points after last Saturday's 50-48 setback at then-No. 15 Texas.
The Jayhawks finished with a season-best 569 yards of offense and did so in balanced fashion as offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon seemed to find all the right play-calls. Pooka Williams ran for a season-high 190 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Carter Stanley threw for 310 and a career-best four scores without an interception. The fourth TD toss, a 22-yarder to Stephon Robinson Jr., and subsequent 2-point conversion gave Kansas a short-lived 48-47 lead with 1:11 left the defense failed to protect as the Longhorns marched 60 yards to set up a game-winning field goal as time expired.
"Yeah, the style of play that we had, the effort, really across the board, the style of athletes — Pooka showed he was ready for the best games," Miles said during the Big 12's weekly teleconference Monday. "And our quarterback, Stanley, he showed that he was ready for the best games. [And] our receiving core, our defensive line pressed and played well at times.
"I guess what I'm saying is for me not to encourage that style of play and not to focus on [the] improvement and where this team is going would be a mistake. I think that teams that will line up to play us from this [point] forward will have an afternoon of difficult times playing that team.”
Williams is third in the conference in rushing with 635 yards and is seeking his third straight 100-yard game. The sophomore back had a modest game in last season's 48-16 loss to Texas Tech, rushing for 81 yards and finishing with 107 scrimmage yards overall.
Despite the four-game losing streak, Stanley is enjoying the best stretch of his career with 899 yards and 11 touchdown passes against only one interception in that stretch. His 16 overall scoring tosses rank fourth in a single season at Kansas, and the senior is poised to join Todd Reesing as the only Jayhawks quarterbacks to record 20 TD passes in a season.
Texas Tech is:
- 1-4 ATS in its last five road games.
- 1-4-1 ATS in its last six games following a straight up loss.
- 7-1 ATS in its last eight games following a straight up loss.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five games between the teams.