Despite this weekend marking the start of conference play, I just cannot summon the requisite excitement that usually accompanies such an event. Perhaps it's the knowledge that I will probably see my team lose at home this weekend. Yeah, that might be it. Anyway, what follows is a primer for those watching the game this weekend. Check in with Seth at Double T Nation for more on Texas Tech.
Check out the following links for much more information about K-State and Texas Tech: Midweek Quarterback (BOTC); BOTC Focus Group: Expectations Edition (BOTC); An Introduction: Texas Tech vs. K-State (DTN); Five Reasons Texas Tech Will Win (DTN); Five Reasons Texas Tech Will Lose (DTN); Q&A With Bring On The Cats (DTN);
Players to Watch
Passing: Josh Freeman, 77/115, 1,105 yards, 11 TDs, 2 INTs
Rushing: Lamark Brown, 30 carries, 125 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 1 TD
Receiving: Brandon Banks, 22 receptions, 463 yards, 115 yards per game, 6 TDs
Passing: Graham Harrell, 120/186, 1,573 yards, 12 TDs, 3 INTs
Rushing: Shannon Woods, 43 carries, 276 yards, 6.4 yards per carry, 6 TDs
Receiving: Michael Crabtree, 29 receptions, 457 yards, 114 yards per game, 6 TDs
K-State: 74th nationally, 142.5 yards per game
Texas Tech: 66th nationally, 146.5 yards per game
K-State: 12th nationally, 298.8 yards per game
Texas Tech: 1st nationally, 426.3 yards per game
K-State: 8th nationally, 47 points per game
Texas Tech: 9th nationally, 45.75 points per game
K-State: 23rd nationally, 441.25 yards per game
Texas Tech: 3rd nationally, 572.75 yards per game
K-State: 104th nationally, 206.5 yards per game
Texas Tech: 25th nationally, 100 yards per game
Passing Efficiency Defense
K-State: 43rd, 109.95 rating
Texas Tech: 28th, 105.35 rating
K-State: 57th, 22.8 points per game
Texas Tech: 23rd, 16 points per game
K-State: 77th, 370.5 yards per game
Texas Tech: 61st, 346 yards per game
Texas Tech is 4-0 on the season, with wins over Eastern Washington (49-24), Nevada (35-19), SMU (43-7), and Massachusetts (56-14). As you probably noticed, that's an ugly schedule. Nevada, the best team on the slate, is 2-2, with both losses coming to Big 12 teams (the other was a 69-17 annihilation by Mizzou). Nevada does own a win over UNLV, which beat Iowa State, for whatever that's worth (probably not much).
While the Red Raiders have shown a greater propensity to run the ball this season than they have in the past, they're still utilizing the forward pass twice as often as they do the rush (202 to 99). When they do handoff or pitch out, they've been impressively successful, averaging 5.9 yards per rush on the season.
In the turnover department, Tech is an impressive +5 thus far this season. Its defense has snatched 10 interceptions on the year, making me a bit concerned about Josh Freeman avoiding turnovers, which is a necessity if the Cats are to have any chance in this contest. Also of note, Tech averages one fumble per game, and has lost three of them this season.
One stat that may play in the Cats' favor is penalties. While K-State has improved over last season when it was one of the most penalized teams in the conference, Tech currently occupies the Big 12 cellar for drawing yellow flags, garnering 43 total for an average of 95.2 yards per game. By contrast, K-State has been flagged 25 times for 51.8 yards per game.
We've discussed this game ad nauseum in the previous posts this week, so check back there for more on this one. Clearly, a victory for the Cats will be a tall order, but with a few good bounces and some nice, timely tackles on defense (crawl before you walk), we just might make things interesting.
Other Big 12 Games
KU @ Iowa State: A team with no running game and no pass rush against a team with no, well, not much of anything. This could be an atrociously ugly game. We'll be sure to keep an eye on this one, if for no other reason than to see if KU's Jocques Crawford can put a dent in the 1,893 yards he needs in the next eight games to reach his season goal.
That Other School 24, That School in Ames 10
Oklahoma @ Baylor: A Baylor grad suggested to me this week that the Bears sit Robert Griffin out in this game so that 1) his first impression in a televised conference game won't be a bad one, and 2) so that he is healthy for the rest of the year. Maybe not a bad idea since victory is out of the question for the Bears, but I want to the the man-child against OU's defense.
Land Thieves 56, Bumblin' Bears 21
Texas A&M @ Oklahoma State: The Aggies may very well have won their last game of the season last weekend against Army, although I think they'll sneak out a win or two in conference play. It won't happen this week, though, as the only victory A&M can take away from this game is holding Okie State's atomic offense under 70 points.
Gundy's Men 66, Sherman's March to Infamy 20
Texas @ Colorado: Probably the most intriguing conference matchup of the weekend. Colorado has underwhelmed on the season, and yes I'm including the victory over West Virginia. If you haven't noticed, WVU is coached by Bill Stewart, who may have demonstrated less competence than K-State's coaching staff this season. Texas has looked pretty good against a fairly ordinary slate of teams, and travels to a difficult road environment nestled in the Rocky Mountains.
Mack Attack 31, Hawk's Pride 17
Mizzou @ Nebraska: The irresistible force against the absurdly long losing streak. Really, there is no reason Missouri should lose this game. Nebraska is 3-1 with a loss to Virginia Tech, who really isn't any good this year, and a close home win over San Jose State, who is really bad just about any year. Unless Pinkel gets in his own way, Missouri will have this one wrapped up after 45 minutes.
Tiggers 49, Bo Unsportsmanlini 21
And because this is Texas Tech week for K-State, I'm contractually obliged to post the following video and link you to my tribute to Texas Tech fans.
texas tech bell ringer (via nambomb)