LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Red Raiders are looking to snap their three-game skid when they travel to Kansas State to take on the Wildcats.
The Red Raiders haven’t won in Manhattan, Kansas, since 2008 and haven’t beaten the Wildcats since 2015 (59-44 in Lubbock).
Overall in this series, the teams have played a total of 18-times and it is deadlocked at nine games apiece.
So here are my three keys to victory for Texas Tech to go into the ‘Little Apple’ and knock off the Kansas State Wildcats.
Limit Kansas States rushing:
The story of Kansas State’s offense in 2018, has been the emergence of junior running back Alex Barnes. With two games remaining on the Wildcats schedule, Barnes leads the Big 12 Conference in rushing yards with 1,035. To be completely honest, Barnes is without a doubt their best player and the Wildcats pose little to no threat through the air. This season, Kansas States quarterback play has been lackluster. Between their two quarterbacks (Thompson and Delton) they have combined for 1,549 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Which means, if the Red Raiders can take away the Wildcat rushing attack, they should be able to limit the Kansas State offense.
I know, to play a full game penalty free would be tough. But if the Red Raiders want to be able to have success this week against Kansas State, they are going to have to try. Under Wildcat head coach Bill Snyder, Kansas State has been traditionally known as a disciplined football team, and the numbers don’t lie. For the season, the Wildcats have only been flagged 50 times, compared to Texas Tech’s 84 times. Last week against Texas, the Red Raiders were flagged eight times for 89-yards. Some of the penalties against Texas, were costly. (First one that came to my mind: third down and thirty-three face mask penalty.) So, if Texas Tech wants to beat Kansas State, they can’t afford those costly penalties. Because we all know that Bill Snyder, and the Kansas State Wildcats will be discipline and won’t shoot themselves in the foot.
Play with a sense of urgency:
There is no denying it, the Red Raiders have hit a lull over the last three weeks. (Which can and will take a toll on any team.) But now, the Red Raiders must focus on winning their last two games to salvage what could still be a solid season. For Kansas State, they need to win their last two games to become bowl eligible, which means that they will show up and give the Red Raiders everything they have. So, Texas Tech must put the last three weeks behind them and start fast and finish strong. They need to play like their season depended on it, because Kansas State will.
According to Vegas, the Red Raiders enter the game as six-point favorites to beat Kansas State, and the ESPN Power index says Tech has a 75-point-four percent chance to win.
So, if Texas Tech can do these three keys, I’d look for them to return to Lubbock bowl eligible for the 16th time since 2000.