7 Point Preview: Kansas State vs. Texas Tech

It is a pivotal game.

1. Game Info

Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-2, 2-2)
Kansas State Wildcats (3-3, 0-3)
October 23rd @ 11:00 a.m.
Jones AT&T Stadium – Lubbock, Texas
Texas Tech -1.0
FS1 | FoxSports
Partly Cloudy 81-57.

2. Overview

ESPN FPI 54 53
FEI Rank: 58 29
Sharp FB Beta-Rank 72 40

Kansas State enters this game 0-3 in the Big 12, having played arguably 3 of the toughest opponents in Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Iowa State, all 3 were within 2 scores. The worst loss was a 13 point affair to Iowa State at home, but even then, that’s not terribly bad. I’d think that fans wouldn’t be all that depressed about that, but 0-3 is still 0-3 and that’s a tough one to swallow.

The next 4 games are all winnable, Texas Tech, TCU at home, Kansas, and West Virginia, so there’s time to turn this around for sure, but it probably starts with this game for K-State. And even note the advanced ratings, that Kansas State is higher rated than Texas Tech.

3. Texas Tech Offense vs. Kansas State Defense

TTU Offense KSU Defense
FEI 19 39
Sharp FB 33 78
Play Efficiency 30 69
Drive Efficiency 37 67
Negative Drives 28 82
Explosive Drives 38 61
Rush Efficiency 54 47
Pass Efficiency 18 95

Kansas State hired Courtney Messingham and amazingly I have no idea who he is other than I remember him being a guy that Chris Klieman brought with him from North Dakota State. The offense is traditional from the standpoint that it is usually 3 wideouts, a running back, a tight end and be balanced. The Wildcats will run with a fullback and mix things up, but it’s not anything that’s revolutionary necessarily. Just beat you the old fashioned way.

Defensive End Felis Anudike-Uzomah (6-3/255):Anudike-Uzomah is a terror, with 5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for a loss, a quarterback pressure, 2 forced fumbles, and 23 tackles on the year. At that size, he’ll give the tackles some trouble. Should keep in mind that 3 of those sacks were in the first game so those stats are a bit front-loaded.

Linebacker Daniel Green (6-3/234): Green is a guy that Wells mentioned, leading the team with 34 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack, a quarterback hurry, and a forced fumble. Green had a terrific game against Nevada with 9 tackles and had only 2 tackles against OU and OSU, so he was a bit quiet there.

Free Safety Russ Yeast (5-10/195): Yeast has 23 tackles and is the most active member of the secondary with 3 pass break-ups and an interception from the free safety position.

4. Texas Tech Defense vs. Kansas State Offense

TTU Defense KSU Offense
FEI 101 29
Sharp FB 107 22
Play Efficiency 96 29
Drive Efficiency 118 40
Negative Drives 110 8
Explosive Drives 86 28
Rush Efficiency 105 22
Pass Efficiency 100 37

As I write this, I sort of realize how homogenized offenses and defenses are at this point of college football. A lot of programs run some sort of spread, with a zone read and run-pass option built in, while defenses run a version of 3 to 4 down linemen, 3 to 4 linebackers, and 4 to 5 players in the secondary. The hybrid is the thing and although K-State’s depth chart will tell you that they are a 4-3-4, they’re everything in-between too, which is what a lot of programs are doing.

Running Back Deuce Vaughn (5-6/173): Deuce Vaughn is a beast, 108 rushes for 543 yards, averaging 5 yards a carry with 5 touchdowns, and 90 yards a game with 234 yards on 23 catches for 39 yards a game and 2 touchdowns. Vaughn really is the offense and that’s in the best/worst way (best if you are a K-State fan and worst if you are not). Vaughn is so fast and so elusive, he’s difficult to tackle, but he’s also the cog that churns the Kansas State offense.

Quarterback Skylar Thompson (6-2/220): Thompson averages about 192 yards passing a game, completing 69% (nice) of his passes for 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Thompson is a definite upgrade over backup Will Howard who only completes 49% of his passes and averages 83 yards a game. Thompson is known as a mobile quarterback, but he’s probably suffered some sacks in this number, but he’s got 19 attempts for a net of 13 yards, but has gained 69 yards and does have 3 rushing touchdowns on the year.

Receiver Phillip Brooks (5-7/167): Books is a smaller receiver, not particularly big, but he has 20 catches for nearly 14 yards a catch, 2 touchdowns and 46.50 yards a game. Kansas State definitely spreads the ball around, and Brooks and Vaughn catch the bulk of the passes and is supplemented with a really big receiver Malik Knowles (6-3/195) who caught 17 passes and averages nearly 13 yards a game.

5. Special Teams & Injuries

Punter Ty Zentner (6-2/200): Zentner averages about 46 yards a punt, which is fine, with 6 of 19 inside the 20 yard line. Of all things, Zenter also handles kickoffs and has 18 of 26 go for touchbacks.

Kicker Taiten Winkel (6-1/193): Winkel sounds way too much like Finkle, i.e. Finkle is Einhorn from Ace Ventura. Amazing what I keep in my brain. In any event, Winkel is 6 of 8 on the year with a missing field goal inside the 29 and one deep.

Kickoff Returner Malik Knowles (6-3/195): Wells mentioned Knowles as being a dangerous returner and he has 2 touchdowns on the year and averages 36 yards a kickoff return. So yes, he’s a real threat.

6. Lagniappe

lagniappe | something given as a bonus or extra gift.

Uniform update.

Your grades from last week.

GoPowercat’s Zac Carlson | What Messingham, Klanderman are saying ahead of the Texas Tech game

AthlonSports’ Nicholas Ian Allen | Kansas State vs. Texas Tech Football Prediction and Preview

Dallas Morning News’ Ryan Mainville | Texas Tech prediction: Red Raiders aim for bowl eligibility with win over Kansas State

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

I wanted to go back and watch some highlights from what I’d call Kansas State’s best win and I think they are pretty typical, which is that they run with a tight end quite a bit (that’s Nick Lenners at 6-5/253 and Daniel Imatorbhebhe at 6-4/240 and Sammy Wheeler at 6-5/236), mainly for blocking purposes, but Imatorbhebhe is the most dangerous. Vaughn truly is a special back and just so fast. The defense is a 3-man front for pass-rush purposes, but the depth chart is a 4-man front with 3 linebackers. K-State was the recipient of some high sailing passes and they capitalized with some zone defense.

7. Prediction

The line opened with Kansas being favored by 2.5 and now the line has flipped with Texas Tech being favored by the slimmest of margins, Texas Tech -1. Kansas State has only played 1 away game, and they are 0-1 against the spread. Kansas State is 8-2 against the spread against Texas Tech in their last 10 games, but are 0-8 straight up in Big 12 games. Texas Tech is 1-2 against the spread at home this year. I sort of hate this game because I’ve just got so little confidence in Texas Tech except when they play Kansas. I’m taking Kansas State in this game and I’m also taking the under, which is at 60.5. I see these teams running the ball more than passing. I feel terrible about this pick, but I’m just not confident in Texas Tech. This game is so terribly pivotal for Texas Tech in so many ways, for Wells and for the program.


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