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September 30, 2011
Ultimate Preview: Kansas
Preview: Offense | Defense • Ask The Expert • Matchups • Game Predictions
Kansas gave up over 600 yards on the ground in its last game, but that little statistical nugget isn't going to change the way Texas Tech approaches the upcoming clash with the Jayhawks.
"We'll throw first, run second," coach Tommy Tuberville said of his Red Raiders, who are among the nation's leaders in passing yards per game. "But we are going to take what they give us."
But that in no way compares to the pressure Georgia Tech, which spanked the Jayhawks 62-24, puts on opposing defenses with its run-based triple-option attack, something the Jayhawks apparently never solved.
"Depending on what they do, depending on how many people they put on the line of scrimmage whether we run or throw," Tuberville said. "We are not saying every game we are going to throw it no matter what you do. You just don't do that."
The game at Lawrence will be the Big 12 opener for both teams. Tech is back home for the next two games against conference foes Texas A&M and Kansas State.
-- Sports Xchange
THREE JAYHAWKS TO WATCH
WR D.J. Beshears - 3 att., 29 yards; 12 rec., 135 yards, 2 TD; 18 ret., 387 yards - Leads the Big 12 in all-purpose yardage with 183.7 yards on average, mostly off kick returns. Kansas must find ways to get Beshears more touches as a receiver and also spring him occasionally on end arounds and reverses. He had a 43-yard catch late in the first half at Georgia Tech.
LB Steven Johnson - 31 tackles, 2 TFL, FF - The surest tackler among the Jayhawks, Johnson also covers the most ground and ranks second in the Big 12 with 10.3 tackles on average. Anything the senior can do to help align teammates correctly would contribute to much-needed improvement on defense.
DE Toben Opurum - 18 tackles, 1 sack, 5.5 TFL, 2 QBH - Could emerge as one of the bigger strengths for the Jayhawks defensively now that they will face a steady assortment of passing teams in the Big 12. Opurum ranks second in the conference with 5.5 tackles for loss, though he does not yet have an unassisted sack.
-- Sports Xchange
KEYS TO THE GAME
Brick By Brick: After last week's defensive performance, it's important that Tech come out and show better on defense against Kansas. Not just to give the team a chance to win, but to help boost confidence and offer tangible proof that the defense is heading in the right direction. No one's expecting the defense to turn on a dime and be 1980's Miami Hurricanes-esque, but they must improve from last week's result if they want to be competitive in the Big 12 this year.
Dam Up The River: The most critical component for Tech's defense will be to get stops early and often. Nevada was able to convert third downs seemingly at will last Saturday, and the Red Raiders will have to put on their big boy pants when the opportunity for a stop arises. If you can get up on Kansas early and hold them down on defense, then the Jayhawks will have to move away from their game plan and start throwing the ball.
Rise Up! The Texas Tech offense seemed a bit dejected and out of sorts for a period of time after Darrin Moore left with an injury. When the second half came around, however, the offense finally found itself and started cranking out production from Eric Stephens, Jacoby Franks and Eric Ward. Tech's offense must find guys to step up in Moore's absence, and Ward, Stephens, and Franks can be those guys.
• Texas Tech has won the last four meetings with Kansas and have won 11 of the 12 games in the series. Kansas' only win in the series came in 2001, when the Jayhawks escaped with a 34-31 overtime win.
• Kansas has played largely turnover free football games. The Jayhawks have turned the ball over once, and gained just one of their own. Quarterback Jordan Webb has yet to throw an interception this season.
• The Red Raiders are currently riding a six-game winning streak, second only to Oklahoma (8) in the Big 12.
• Both Tech and Kansas have been very efficient on offense this season. The Red Raiders and Jayhawks rank second and sixth respectively in the Football Bowl Subdivision in offensive third-down efficiency and each converted all of their redzone opportunities this season.
-- Grahambr />