Three Keys to Kansas Jayhawks Football vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

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The Kansas Jayhawks are eligible for bowling after beating the Oklahoma State Cowboys 37-16. This is the first time since 2008 that the Jayhawks will have the privilege of playing a bowl game. While this is an incredible achievement for this program, there are still three games left on the schedule, and head coach Lance Leipold spoke of a desire to keep pushing in the remaining games.

“We have three games to play. We have a lot to play for and to shake things up. We can’t be satisfied with that. It is a special moment, but we must continue. The most interesting thing that we will talk about later is that this group can be together longer than normal. It’s a great group. I love being with them and I appreciate everything they’ve done and having that extra time and development with more players. We have to be ready to play Texas Tech on the road. We have to be ready to go on the road two of the last three games to continue to make this season a memorable one.

As Coach Leipold said, they need to be ready to take on Texas Tech on the road, so that being said, what are the three keys to a Kansas Jayhawks win?

The key to this offense is maintaining their momentum by running the football. A quick look at the stats might confuse you, as the per play average has the Jayhawks gaining 9.4 yards per pass attempt and just 5.8 yards per rush attempt. But as we saw in Devin Neal’s record-breaking performance on Saturday, the passing game is set up by establishing multiple options in the running game to keep the defense guessing.

And the Texas Tech Red Raiders haven’t been very good at guessing on defense this season, giving up 372.8 yards per game and giving up 29.8 points per game. Kansas’ offense is averaging 434.7 yards on offense and scoring nearly 38 points per game. And more importantly, the Red Raiders are giving up 157.4 yards per game rushing, which ranks them 8th in the Big 12. The Jayhawks showed against Oklahoma State that they like to establish the run early and often to open the game. offense, and they should be looking to do the same this week. If they start early, we could see a lot more than the 206 rushing yards they average in a game.

Turn pressure into statistics

The Red Raiders have always been known for their attacking air raid style. They average 462.1 yards per game, which ranks them 2nd in the Big 12. They also average 32.8 points per game. But the one thing they haven’t been good at is clinging to football. And they’ll be without starting quarterback Behren Morton, who suffered an ankle injury against TCU. In addition, starting offensive right tackle Ty Buchanan will be out on Saturday. These are two significant losses.

The key for the Kansas defense is to take advantage of those injuries and those turnovers of strength. It’s currently unclear which Texas Tech quarterback will step in to replace Morton, although Tyler Shough was the starter coming out of camp. Shough is a senior who spent three seasons with the Oregon Ducks and managed to lead the Ducks to the Fiesta Bowl in 2020. But Shough and Donovan Smith struggled with interceptions during the season. Shough has 2 interceptions on just 34 passing attempts this season, and Smith has thrown 8 interceptions this season. And in total, the offensive line gave up 34 sacks on the season, an average of nearly 6 per game.

With cornerback Cobee Bryant back on the field, the Jayhawks got back to their way of peddling the ball, getting three interceptions against the Cowboys. So far this season, the Jayhawks have 11 interceptions and 9 forced fumbles overall, recovering 8 of them. With Texas Tech throwing football at a high rate, the Jayhawks could be looking to intercept more passes.

And the Jayhawks have fired opponents 21 times this season, tying them with the Red Raiders for second place in the conference. But Kansas has only allowed 4 sacks this season, so quarterback pressure seems like an area where they can push their advantage.

Road behavior

More recently, the Kansas Jayhawks have struggled on the road. They went to Norman, Oklahoma, and lost 52-42, giving up 403 yards through the air and 298 yards rushing. The following week, they went to another hostile environment in Waco, Texas, taking on a tough Baylor team. The Jayhawks would lose 35-23 to the Bears. The common thread of these two games? Go to bed early and lose your temper a bit. Although they could make some comebacks to force it to be a competitive final, they need to start fast.

Texas Tech has a loyal fanbase with an average of 58,660 fans at each home game. Kansas is looking to add to its bowl resume by getting as many wins in the season. Mathematically, Kansas still has a shot at the Big 12 Championship. It all starts with a road win in Lubbock, Texas.

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