Football

Texas Tech Football Notebook: Kansas Gameday Links

Game day everybody.

Dallas Morning News’ Ryan Mainville | The Main Point: Will Texas Tech’s defense make adjustments against Kansas?

You’re not crazy, Dylan. You’ve just had to watch 120 minutes of catastrophically bad football this season. I’ve spent more time reviewing stats and watching film on Kansas than I have for any other opponent Texas Tech has faced so far this season. The reason is that the numbers this team has put up are horrible. The Jayhawks’ are -133 in point differential and are averaging 157.8 less yards per game than their opponents through five games. These are jaw-dropping struggles from a Power 5 football team, and something on tape that makes them feel just the tiniest bit sneaky.

A large portion of my hesitation of penciling in a win this weekend lies with Jason Bean, the Jayhawks’ starting quarterback who runs the ball with ease. Bean is incredibly fast, finds holes at the line very well, and leads the team in rushing. But outside of Bean, really the only other guys that have caught my eye are Devin Neal and Trevor Wilson.

The past two years tell you that you’d be smart to think Kansas will cover. I just think the Jayhawks’ defense is way too bad for that to happen. If the spread was in the 20-point area, then we could talk.

Dallas Morning News via Associated Press | Texas Tech heads back to Kansas as rebuilds continue

That was nearly two years ago, when Jayhawks coach Lance Leipold was still running the show at Buffalo and quarterback Jason Bean was under center at North Texas. Matt Wells was in his first season leading the Red Raiders, trying to instill in his program all the things he learned during a successful run at Utah State.

One thing is exactly the same, though, as the two teams prepare to meet again Saturday in Lawrence: Kansas and Texas Tech are still in the midst of massive rebuilding efforts.

“We see guys getting better weekly. We want to keep hitting those benchmarks,” said Leipold, whose Jayhawks (1-4, 0-2 Big 12) were off last week following four straight lopsided defeats. “We’ll evaluate where we’re at, where we’ll need to improve, how we line up against other people just physically and continue to do that. It’s an everyday thing in our program.”

KUSports’ Benton Smith | 3 keys for KU football vs. Texas Tech

1. More pushing the pile

Still in the early stages of new head coach Lance Leipold’s rebuilding project, the Kansas football team’s offense hasn’t produced much in the Jayhawks’ first two Big 12 games. The Jayhawks scored 14 points combined during the eight quarters that accounted for two blowout losses to Baylor and Iowa State.

So how do the coaches gauge the offense’s progress?

Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki said he told the players in their first meeting following a 59-7 loss at Iowa State: “You can measure progress in a lot of ways other that results. When you look around our building here and we talk about culture, winning’s not one of those things. Winning’s going to be a byproduct of how we do stuff.”

There was one moment in particular in Ames, Iowa, during the Jayhawks’ most recent game on Oct. 2 that caught Kotelnicki’s attention. To him, it was a reminder that the offense actually had made real headway over the course of the first five games.

KU was in a short yardage situation against the Cyclones’ solid defensive front, and the run play for the Jayhawks got clogged up.

“And our players actually pushed the pile forward,” Kotelnicki said. “That seems so subtle and so small. But that wasn’t happening in Game 1. Do you know what I mean? Something simple like that, physical strain. I know it’s a small moment. Probably nobody even noticed it other than myself and some of the other coaches. But it was a moment where I said, ‘This is progress.’”

The KU offense, which is averaging only 17.2 points per game on the season, will need many more such surges in the trenches to help running backs Devin Neal, Torry Locklin and Amauri Pesek-Hickson find success against a Tech rushing defense that is allowing 4.49 yards per carry (95th out of 130 FBS teams).

Action Network | College Football Odds & Picks for Texas Tech vs. Kansas: Bet Red Raiders’ Ground Game in Lawrence

Texas Tech vs. Kansas Betting Pick
Texas Tech has been dealing with injuries but has been able to adjust accordingly by focusing on the run game.

As Colombi settles into directing the offense, he should be poised to break the two-game passing touchdown drought as the Red Raiders prepare for a tough back half of their schedule.

This matchup heavily favors the Texas Tech offense given how bad the Kansas defense has been this season. Lay the points here.

Pick: Texas Tech -16.5

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