Saturday, October 31, 2009
When Kansas has the ball
Kansas rush offense vs. Texas Tech rush defense
Word this week that KU senior running back Jake Sharp has been playing hurt this season comes as no surprise to anyone who has watched the senior play since returning from an undisclosed leg injury against Colorado on Oct. 17. In the two games since Sharp’s return, the Jayhawks have rushed for just 81 total yards in consecutive losses, and Sharp hasn’t managed a run for more than five yards. Texas Tech hasn’t been extraordinary against the run this season, giving up 129.2 yards per game, but given the Jayhawks’ inability to get a ground game going, it could be another rough day for Kansas.
Edge: Texas Tech
Kansas pass offense vs. Texas Tech pass defense
Although he still remains among the nation’s top statistical quarterbacks, there’s no denying that Kansas signal-caller Todd Reesing is mired in the first significant slump of his four-year Kansas career. He has turned the ball over five times in the team’s past two games — both losses — and is coming off the worst performance of his career against the Sooners, a game in which he threw three first-half interceptions that led to two OU touchdowns. At the same time, this week’s game should provide a good opportunity to snap out of his recent funk. The Red Raiders are giving up 238.5 passing yards per game.
When Texas Tech has the ball
Texas Tech rush offense vs. Kansas rush defense
As usual, the Red Raiders have done a good deal of their offensive damage through the air this season, and the result has been a nearly non-existent ground game. Tech ranks last in the Big 12 in rushing attempts (179) and yardage (69.6 yards per game), though running backs Baron Batch and Harrison Jeffers have combined for 10 rushing touchdowns and are both averaging more than five yards per carry.
Despite their defensive struggles, meanwhile, the Jayhawks are ranked third in the Big 12 in rush defense and are one of just four conference teams holding opponents to fewer than 100 yards per game on the ground.
Texas Tech pass offense vs. Kansas pass defense
The Red Raiders’ QB situation is not in the greatest shape heading into today’s game. Coach Mike Leach said this week he won’t decide on a starter — it’s between usual starter Taylor Potts, who was benched in the team’s loss to Texas A&M, and backup Seth Doege — until the day of the game, although reports Wednesday had Doege as the starter. Of course, the Red Raiders have proven that whoever lines up behind center is capable of throwing for 400 yards a game. The Big 12’s top passing offense, Tech is averaging 418.9 yards per game through the air this season (for context, Kansas, the No. 2 team, is averaging 329.4).
Edge: Texas Tech
KU kicker Jacob Branstetter has enjoyed the best stretch of his carrer over the past two games, connecting on his last six field-goal attempts — all 37 yards or longer — and logging a career-long 57-yarder at the end of the first half against Oklahoma. The kick return unit has been less than stellar, however. Texas Tech features the conference’s No. 2 kick returner in Eric Stephens (26.4 yards per return), but has otherwise been average on special teams.