Red Raiders and Wildcats set for Big 12 shootout

Manhattan, KS ( – Big 12 Conference rivals square off on
Saturday night, as the Texas Tech Red Raiders come calling on the 23rd-ranked
Kansas State Wildcats.

Kliff Kingsbury’s Texas Tech squad is an even 2-2 on the season, and one of
its losses came in last week’s conference opener against another nationally-
ranked foe in Oklahoma State, 45-35. The Red Raiders are playing consecutive
road games to open Big 12 play for just the fourth time, the last being back
in 2004.

As for Bill Snyder and his Kansas State Wildcats, they come in sporting a 3-1
record, and they are fresh off a 58-28 rout of visiting UTEP last weekend. KSU
already has a conference win to its credit, taking a 32-28 decision at Iowa
State on Sept. 6, and this game represents the finale of the team’s current
three-game homestand.

The all-time series between these two teams leans in favor of Texas Tech, 8-6,
but the Wildcats have won the last three meetings. The Red Raiders last won in
Manhattan six years ago to the day, claiming a 58-28 verdict on Oct. 4, 2008.

Mistakes proved fatal to Texas Tech’s upset bid of Oklahoma State last week,
as the Red Raiders committed three turnovers and were penalized a whopping 16
times for a loss of 158 yards. Still, the offense generated 506 yards, gained
32 first downs and came away with touchdowns on three of its four trips to the
red zone.

Davis Webb attempted 54 passes in the game, hitting 35 of them for 374 yards
and four TDs. he was picked off twice. Jakeem Grant was his favorite target,
as he hauled in 12 balls for 100 yards and a score, while Brad Marquez was
right there with eight grabs for 106 yards and a TD. Reginald Davis finished
with six receptions for 73 yards and a pair of TDs. The Tech run game was
paced by DeAndre Washington and his 85 yards on 13 carries.

Defensively, the Red Raiders surrendered 528 total yards, the bulk of which
came through the air (370). Oklahoma State scored four TDs via the pass, but
Tech picked off a pair of passes. The Cowboys were held to just 4-of-12
success on third-down conversion attempts. Pete Robertson and Sam Eguavoen
each had eight tackles, the former also credited with a pair of sacks. Justis
Nelson had three passes defended.

Webb has done a nice job of keeping the offense moving this season, as he is
completing 64.8 percent of his passes for an average of 339 ypg. He has tossed
14 TD passes against six INTs, and the trio of Grant, Marquez and Davis have
combined for 76 receptions, 965 yards and 12 scores. Washington has rushed for
nearly 300 yards, but he has reached the end zone only once. Justin Stockton
is averaging better than eight yards per carry, and he has a pair of rushing
scores to his credit.

Texas Tech ranks last in the Big 12 in both run defense (262.8 ypg) and
scoring defense (38.8 ppg). And while the effort against the pass has been
significantly better (193.8 ypg), the Red Raiders have come up with only two
interceptions. As a result of that latter figure, Tech is tied with West
Virginia for the worst turnover margin in the conference at -1.25. The team
is also last in the league in sacks (five), while also playing the role of
cellar dweller in terms of penalties (11.5 per game, 105.5 yards per game).
Eguavoen and Robertson rank one-two in total tackles with 29 and 28,
respectively, and 14 guys in all have double-digit stops on the year.

Kingsbury spoke this week about the challenge of taking on a Kansas State team
that hasn’t shot itself in the foot the way his club has.

“Our number of mistakes versus their lack of mistakes, I’d say he [KSU coach
Bill Snyder] does such a good job fundamentally and techniques. They don’t
make many errors. They count on you to make those mistakes and so far we have.
We’re really going to have to clean it up to compete against a team like

In whipping UTEP last week, Kansas State scored on six straight possessions at
one point and tallied 451 yards of total offense compared to only 260 for the
Miners. Jake Waters was an efficient game manager in completing 10-of-15
passes for 209 yards and a TD. He did not throw an interception and was not
sacked. He also added a rushing score as part of his four-carry, 29-yard
effort on the ground. Tyler Lockett and Zach Trujillo combined for seven
receptions, 159 yards and a TD, while Charles Jones spearheaded the Wildcats’
ground attack by rumbling his way for 76 yards and three scores. KSU was a
perfect 6-of-6 in the red zone after going just 2-of-5 the previous week in a
loss to Auburn.

UTEP found the running lanes almost non-existent last week, as the Miners
averaged a meager 1.9 ypc in totaling just 59 net yards. In an effort to get
back in the game, the visitors aired it out for 201 yards, scoring all four of
their TDs via the pass. KSU’s Dante Barnett and Jonathan Truman made 12
tackles each, but the Wildcats came up with only one sack and no turnovers.

Waters is a 61.6 percent passer who has averages 229 ypg, but he has just
three TD tosses and as many INTs. As a result, Curry Sexton is the leading
pass catcher, but with only 19 grabs (207 yards), while Lockett is first in
receiving yards with 274, doing so on 17 receptions. Jones and Waters have
both gained more than 200 yards on the ground, and they’ve combined for 13
TDs. As a collective unit, the ‘Cats rank near the middle of the Big 12 pack
in scoring (39.8 ppg) and rushing (175 ypg), while leading the conference in
fewest penalties (19).

Kansas State has done an exceptional job stopping the run this season, as it
yields just 90.3 ypg to rank second in the Big 12 and 13th nationally.
Overall, the defense ranks third in the league in permitting 308 total yards
per contest, although with only two interceptions and eight touchdown passes
allowed, as well as an opponents completion percentage of .618, the unit is
last in pass efficiency defense (134.8). Truman paces the team in total
tackles with 34.

Coach Snyder was certainly pleased with the effort his team put forth last
week following the disappointing showing against Auburn.

“I just know how we played today. I know how we got started. We were great on
defense, so from a defensive perspective it was advantages. From the offensive
perspective, without realizing it, we started fuller on offense.”