Kansas football plays host to Texas Tech this weekend on Veterans Day. The Jayhawks are coming off a 28-21 victory over Iowa State on Saturday.
Senior quarterback Jason Bean threw for 283 yards and one touchdown, connecting with junior wide receiver Lawrence Arnold for an 83-yard touchdown with about eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter after the Cyclones made it a three-point game.
Junior cornerback Mello Dotson became the first Jayhawk on Saturday to have back-to-back interception returns, as he returned an interception for a 50-yard touchdown with 10:21 left in the second quarter. However, Dotson shortly after the big play, left the game with an injury. His status for Saturday is unknown at this time.
However, the Jayhawks earned their first win in Ames since 2008. A lot of many other firsts were achieved as well.
It was not only their first win in Ames in 14 years, but it was their first back-to-back win against the Cyclones since 2005 to 2006, and their first back-to-back win over a Big 12 opponent since 2007-08. It was also their first win as a ranked team since 2009.
The Jayhawks secured a guaranteed winning season for the first time since 2008, as they currently sit at 7-2, and 4-2 in Big 12 play.
They moved up three spots to No. 19 in the AP Top 25 poll on Sunday afternoon. This is the fourth time this season that the Jayhawks have been ranked.
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders are coming off a 35-28 victory over TCU on Thursday night. They come into Saturday’s game sitting at 4-5, and 3-3 in Big 12 play. Texas Tech needs to win two out of their next three games to clinch bowl eligibility.
Texas Tech leads the all-time series over the Jayhawks, 22-2. The last time Kansas defeated the Red Raiders was back in 2019 when they won off a 32-yard field goal as time expired in Lawrence, 37-34. This will be the first time Kansas has faced off against Texas Tech as a ranked team since 2008.
Keys to the game and prediction:
Their current record is not an accurate representation of Texas Tech’s team this season. This team is going to come to Lawrence ready to play, as they look to get a game closer to bowl eligibility. Kansas however, is coming off of two big-time program wins against No. 6 Oklahoma and Iowa State.
Those two wins don’t mean anything for the Jayhawks until they walk away on Saturday with a win. Head coach Lance Leipold has emphasized to his team this season how they need to play well after big wins.
Scoring first is the biggest key to success for the Jayhawks on Saturday. They are undefeated this season when scoring first. In the two losses to No. 3 Texas and Oklahoma State, they allowed the two opponents to score first. However, getting off to a good start is something that Texas Tech wants to do as well. The Jayhawks will need their defense to step up and get some key stops early in the game, should they have to start the ballgame on defense.
The Red Raiders are going to lean on their star senior running back Tahj Brooks, and the Jayhawk defense is going to have their work cut out for them in the running game.
Sophomore quarterback Behren Morton has a cannon of an arm, and he has a plethora of weapons to work with. Guys like sophomore wide receiver Jerand Bradley, senior wide receiver Myles Price, junior transfer wide receiver Drae McCray, sophomore wide receiver Jerand Bradley, etc, have the size and speed to make plays for Morton.
The Jayhawk secondary is going to have to make more plays and create turnovers, with or without Dotson on the field. Senior cornerback Kwinton Lassiter will step into his place, should Dotson be out for Saturday’s game.
It will be important for the Jayhawk offense to continue being multiple, and run the ball with junior running back Devin Neal and sophomore running back Daniel Hishaw. Bean will need to replicate what he did last week, by taking care of the ball.
If Kansas wants to win on Saturday, they will need to keep the Texas Tech offense off the field by playing the time-of-possession game with the run game and wear the Red Raider defense out.
The special teams for Kansas were concerning, switching between senior placekicker Seth Keller and redshirt sophomore placekicker Owen Peipergerdes on Saturday night with two missed field goals. If the Jayhawks continue their woes in the special teams unit, it may very well be the reason why the Red Raiders pull off the upset.
This game will go either way. To reiterate, the Red Raiders need at least two more wins out of their next three to become bowl-eligible. The vibes may be running high for the Jayhawks right now, but those high vibes may very well diminish if they are not ready for the Red Raiders.
As long as Kansas scores first, executes in special teams, and stops the run game, and keeps the high-powered Texas Tech offense off the field by playing the time-of-possession game on offense, the Jayhawks should be successful on Saturday.
Kansas enters this matchup as a 3.5-point favorite according to FanDuel.
Final Score Prediction:
Texas Tech: 23 No. 19 Kansas: 34
The Jayhawks take on the Red Raiders at 11 a.m. Saturday morning at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on KJHK 90.7 FM with Eli Greenwald and Austin Eckert on the call. Tickets are currently still available in a limited capacity on the KU Athletics website.