Manhattan, KS– For the first time in over a decade, K-State is a serious national contender. So far they have handled every test thrown their way. Next up for the #3 ranked Wildcats, a dangerous Texas Tech team that is sitting at #14 in the nation and hungry for an upset. A win puts K-State solidly on track to continue its BCS National Title hopes, a loss throws the Big 12 race into chaos.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders have literally come out of nowhere this season to surprise everyone. Picked to finish 9th in the preseason polls, the Red Raiders currently sit tied for second with the Oklahoma Sooners, the only team to defeat Texas Tech this season. Following last weeks 56-53 triple overtime road victory over TCU, the Red Raiders sit at 6-1 overall. Led by Senior quarterback Seth Doege and a resurgent defense, the Red Raiders are poised to prove all the doubters wrong.
Kansas State meanwhile, is unbeaten through 7 games for the second year in a row. More impressive than last year however, due to 3 top 25 road victories. Included in those 3 road victories, is last weeks absolute thrashing of #13 West Virginia 55-14. Despite its preseason pick to finish 6, K-State has put themselves in the position to make a run at the schools first ever National Championship birth, and has put Collin Klein in the position to win the Heisman Trophy.
One of the main reasons Texas Tech has improved over last year has been the consistent play of quarterback Seth Doege. Through 7 games this season, Doege has already thrown for 2209 yards and a very impressive 28 touchdowns. Doege has thrown for at least 7 touchdowns in 4 of his 7 games this season. A large part of this impressive stat is due the design of the Tech offense, which allows Quarterbacks to put up gaudy numbers, but impressive nonetheless.
Doege is very dangerous when allowed to sit back in the pocket and survey the defense. The key to slowing him down lies with the K-State front four. If K-State is able to get pressure on Doege without blitzing, they will be able to severely limit his productivity. When TCU and Oklahoma got pressure on Doege he transformed from a very good quarterback to a very spotty quarterback. He does show composure and has the ability to make plays when pressured but is not nearly as effective. TCU’s defense held the Tech offense to -1 yard in the third quarter in their loss last week, and mainly because they were able to get to Doege. The Tech O line is very get against a straight up 4 man rush. Once TCU started stunting and twisting their defensive lineman they were able to get pressure on Doege and sacked him twice.
The person playing counterpart to Seth Doege will be none other than Collin Klein. Klein has established himself as the clear cut favorite for the Heisman trophy. It will be very hard for Texas Tech to limit Klein’s productivity during the game.
TCU ran the read option with great success for the majority of their game against Texas Tech last week. In that game, the Red Raiders keyed on Boykin, forcing him to hand the ball off to Tucker and the rest of the backs during the game. If Texas Tech does the same thing, John Hubert and Angelo Pease should be poised for a big game against K-State.
The Red Raiders and the Wildcats defense are more or less built on the same philosophy, bend but don’t break. Three times TCU drove into the Red Raider red zone and was held to field goads. Had TCU been able to score touchdowns instead of field goals, they could have put the game to bed long before Texas Tech scored two quick touchdowns in the 4th quarter.
K-State has been known for the bend but don’t break philosophy since Snyder’s return in 2009. After last week’s performance against West Virginia, it appears K-State has transformed its mentality to simply, dont bend or break. K-State should be prepared for the Doege led Red Raiders, after facing a similar offense last week in West Virginia.
Although many experts have put K-State on upset watch, the matter of the fact is in order for Texas Tech to win, K-State will have to play a bad game and Texas Tech will have to play a great game. If Texas Tech is able to force turnovers and push K-State out of its element, they will have a chance at the upset. But, that seems unlikely due to the determination the Cats have showed this season. Texas Tech will be ready, but so will K-State. The Red Raiders should keep them close, and don’t be surprised if they are winning at some point, but K-State gets better as the game goes on, and should take control in the 4th quarter.
#3 K-State 38
#14 Texas Tech 24