7 Point Preview: Texas Tech vs. Kansas

Need to get to 5 wins.

1. Game Info

Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-2, 1-2)
Kansas Jayhawks (1-4, 0-2)
October 16th @ 3:00 p.m.
David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium – Lawrence, Kansas
Texas Tech -16.5
Big12/ESPN+ | ESPN+
Sunny 65-43.

2. Overview

ESPN FPI 58 121
FEI Rank: 62 121
Sharp FB Beta-Rank 85 120

The new Kansas head coach is Lance Leipold, originally starting his coaching career at Wisconsin-Whitewater for off and off (more on than off) from 1988 until 2014 where he was named the head coach at Buffalo. Leipold was the head coach at Wisconsin-Whitewater from 2007 until 2014 where he was then named as the head coach at Buffalo. Leipold won 6 coach of the year at W-W. At Buffalo he was 30-6 over the last 4 years and was incredibly successful.

3. Texas Tech Offense vs. Kansas Defense

TTU Offense KU Defense
FEI 16 123
Sharp FB 34 128
Play Efficiency 23 120
Drive Efficiency 44 127
Negative Drives 27 122
Explosive Drives 38 123
Rush Efficiency 74 127
Pass Efficiency 16 130

Kansas defensive coordinator is Brian Borland who followed Leipold from Buffalo and Wisconsin-Whitewater. Borland runs a 4-3 defense, but like every sort of defense nowadays, it is probably dependent on offensive personnel and would run with 2 linebackers and 5 defensive backs. Borland had tremendous success at Buffalo so his arrival at a Power Five program is probably well deserved.

Up front are Caleb Taylor (6-2/275) and Caleb Sampson (6-3/292) at the tackle positions while Kyron Johnson (6-1/235) and Malcolm Lee (6-5/254) are the defensive ends. Taylor has 2 TFL’s. Johnson is highly disruptive, 3 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 3 QB hurries and 2 forced fumbles. I would agree with your assessment that Johnson is linebacker-ish in size. Nate Betts (6-1/225), Gavin Potter (6-2/222), and Taiwan Berryhill (6-2/235) are the three starting linebackers. Potter is the 2nd leading tackler while Betts and Berryhill each have 15.

The two safeties are not particularly big, Ricky Thomas (5-10/185) and Kenny Logan, Jr. (6-0/205), especially Thomas and his back-up OJ Burroughs (5-10/175) is even smaller. There’s not a ton of action happening at the safety spots, no picks and no pass break ups so my guess is that they’re zoning the heck out of the defense and trying to not let teams beat them deep. At cornerback is Jacobee Bryant (6-0/170) and Ra’Mello Dotson (6-1/180).

The Kansas defense is bad in just about every metric. It’s the hardest thing to improve upon for a program that’s building. This is what gives me hope, a good offense against a terrible defense.

4. Texas Tech Defense vs. Kansas Offense

TTU Defense KU Offense
FEI 109 97
Sharp FB 113 92
Play Efficiency 105 48
Drive Efficiency 122 124
Negative Drives 109 40
Explosive Drives 98 59
Rush Efficiency 111 66
Pass Efficiency 113 95

It’s not very often that you have the tight end coach be the offensive coordinator, but that’s Andy Kotelnicki. Another follow from Buffalo, Kotelnicki was in charge of a Buffalo offense that ran the damn hell out of the ball, averaging 478 yards a game and 287 yards rushing. In fact, in 2018 Buffalo’s offense produced 5,803 yards, which is pretty darned good.

Jason Bean (6-3/189) is really the only quarterback who has done much thus far this season. I think the idea is to stick with Bean and hope that he improves to the point where they can find some stability next year (or perhaps even this year). Bean has run for 289 total yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry to go with 2 touchdowns while he’s thrown for 170 yards a game with 5 touchdowns and 3 picks while completing 55% of his passes.

At the running back spot is Devin Neal (5-11/210) with Torry Locklin (6-2/205) and Velton Gardner see carries as well. Neal has carried the ball 54 times for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns with Locklin and Gardner each carrying the ball 29 times. Locklin is the more dangerous of the two.

Kansas is now a little more traditional on offense with a tight end, Mason Fairchild (6-5/250) and a slot receiver Kwamie Lassiter (6-0/185) and then two wideouts Trevor Wilson (5-11/200) and Steven McBride (6-0/170). Wilson is the leading receiver by yardage, 18 yards a catch with a touchdown, while Lassiter has 18 catches for 13 yards a grab and a touchdown. Freshman Lawrence Arnold (6-3/195) is the back-up X-receiver and has 12 catches for 11.5 yards an catch and 2 touchdowns.

Was saddened and disappointed to consider that some of the things that Kansas is very good at is an obvious weakness for Texas Tech. Kansas doesn’t have a ton of negative drives, can explode for plays and is decent running the ball. That’s not good for a Texas Tech defense that’s absolutely reeling.

5. Special Teams & Injuries

Not a ton of time to focus on special teams this week (more explanation at the end). Jacob Borcila is the kicker, but has only attempted 6 field goals and has made 4, so a decent percentage, just not a lot of opportunity. Reis Vernon is the punter and is 78th in the nation averaging 41 yards a punt.

Injuries are all over the place for Texas Tech and I probably won’t even remember them all: QB Tyler Shough; RB Ahmad Brooks; S Reggie Pearson; and S Marquis Waters. Those are the big ones for me.

6. Lagniappe

lagniappe | something given as a bonus or extra gift.

Your uniform combinations for the week. First time to wear red since SFA.

The most red that I’ve seen with grades in a long time and only 60 or so actually voted, which means that there’s apathy.

Dallas Morning News’ Ryan Mainville | Texas Tech prediction: Red Raiders have a chance to get back on track vs. Kansas

College Football News’ Pete Fiutak | Texas Tech vs Kansas Prediction, Game Preview

Lindy’s Sports | Texas Tech looks to extend Kansas’ Big 12 skid

Dallas Morning News’ Ryan Mainville | Analysis: Breaking down the problems with Texas Tech’s drop-eight coverage

Dallas Morning News’ Ryan Mainville | 5 things Texas Tech fans need to know about Kansas, including the Jayhawks’ all-around struggles

7. Prediction

I’m betting what should happen this week. Texas Tech should beat Kansas by 17.5. That’s about where the line opened, then immediately moved to 15, then has creeped back up to 17.5 over the course of the week. Kansas is 0-4-1 against the spread this year, so I’m hoping that this holds true for this week as well. I’m also taking the under as I sort of expect Kansas to run more than they pass. Plus they’re 4-1 on the over/under. And this 7 Point Preview is normally a bit better, but my old man had some medical things pop up on Wednesday night (he’s good, but it was scary for a bit) and just lost a ton of time.


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