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Kansas State Football: Texas Tech Preview

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Pray for rain, wind, sleet, and snow

Texas Tech v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Guys, I’m going to level with you. I’ve been watching some Texas Tech film this week and it’s not a great match up for the Wildcats. It’s not an Oklahoma level bad match up, but it’s pretty close to a West Virginia level bad match up. They’re good at doing things on offense that Kansas State has a hard time stopping.

That said, with a little help from mother nature and some EMAW magic (which may include pulling able bodied Wildcats out of the student section and putting them on the field) we (I’m trying out this “we” thing when it comes to Kansas State, it’s a little awkward, but I’ll give it time) might be able to win this game and make next Saturday extremely interesting.

It all comes down to a few key statistics.

Texas Tech

Passing Offense: 383.4 YPG (2nd Nationally)

Scoring Offense: 41.8 PPG (9th)

Rushing Defense: 160.9 YPG (60th)

Kansas State

Passing Defense: 246.2 YPG (88th)

Scoring Offense: 21.1 PPG (120th)

Rushing Offense: 179.2 YPG (55th)

This game is going to hinge on Texas Tech’s ability to throw the ball against a bad Kansas State passing defense. If they get their passing game going and come anywhere close to their points average, the Wildcats are toast.

On the other side of the coin, if the Wildcats can get the running game working and keep the Texas Tech offense on the sidelines slowly turning into Red Raider pop sickles, we’ve (again, that felt weird) got a shot to freeze them out of the game.

Weather

My buddy Joe came through with some tickets, so I’m going to brave the cold and check this thing out live. I’m not going to let the cold deter me from a chance to witness college football history first hand (you all know what I’m talking about).

The first thing I did when Joe asked me if I wanted to go to the game was check the weather, and folks, I’ve said all my important goodbyes and placed an “if I die, read this” letter in my night stand, because I’m putting the odds of my thin southern blood freezing in my veins at around 70%. According to the Weather Channel, it’s going to be around 35 degrees at kick, and the 15-20 mph winds will put the windchill around 25. I’m just not built for this weather, but at the same time, neither is the Texas Tech offense.

Jett Duffey (who I’ll get to in a moment) is a Sophomore from Dallas and I’m guessing his experience in throwing an ice block that looks like a football is limited. Antoine Wesley is a RS Sophomore from just outside of San Antonio, and like Jett, I’m guessing his experience in catching a football shaped ice block is also limited. On top of that, those fast twitch muscles don’t fire as fast when your body is sucking blood out of your legs in order to keep your core organs from freezing.

If the temperature doesn’t kill the Texas Tech offense, the wind might. K-State has a hard time covering deep sideline routes, but 20 mph wind gusts might make that moot point. The harder the wind blows, the better on Saturday. We need gusting, swirling, consistent and absolutely miserable wind conditions. I want the Bill Snyder Stadium to look 12 full (or 12 empty, depending on your view of the world) because everyone is huddling together to stay warm and out of the wind (shout out to the guys and girls in the front of the huddle, you the real M.V.P.’s, your contributions to the cause will be remembered fondly).

Jett Duffey

First off, I’m having a hard time talking about Jett without making Giant references. If you’re not familiar with the movie, Jett Rink (played by James Dean) is the main character in the movie (released in 1956, also starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and Dennis Hopper among others). It’s a great movie, you should watch it if you haven’t seen it yet, and you should watch it again if you have seen it...now back to football.

Alan Bowman, Tech’s sensational freshman QB is listed as doubtful with a lung injury (ouch) and I highly doubt you see him on Saturday, which makes Jett Duffey the next man up on the Tech QB depth chart. Duffey has played a good bit this year with Bowman struggling with his lung injury, and his performances have been mixed at best.

Bowman: 227/327 - 2638 YDS - 17TDS - 7INTS

Duffey: 85/127 - 1071 YDS - 8TDS - 5 INTS

When Duffey is throwing the ball to his team, he’s a good QB. His problem comes when he starts throwing the ball to the other team, which he does frequently. He’ll try and extend plays with his leg and make bad throws instead of throwing the ball away.

The biggest problem Duffey might pose the Wildcat defense is his running ability. Strangely enough, he’s the leading rusher for Tech with 377 YDs and 4 TDS. He’s an elusive runner and will punish you for getting out of your rush lanes. If a defensive end gets pushed passed Jett by a Tech offensive tackle he’ll attack the void in the defense with his legs.

Our (trying out our as well) defense isn’t great at rushing the passer. A conservative game plan focused on making Jett throw a frozen football into wind gusts and a grid of Wildcat defenders would be my plan of attack.

I’ve got 3 main points to my defensive game plan this week.

  1. Tackle.....this has been a problem in some games.
  2. Don’t let Jett run.
  3. Hope that the wind helps defend the deep pass.

Alex²

This is the perfect game for the Alex² attack. It’s time to get behind this big offensive line and make Tech defenders tackle Alex Barnes and Alex Delton all game. Delton still struggles in the passing game (although he looked better in spurts against KU) but it’s going to be hard to pass the ball anyway. If this is Bill’s home swan song, it sets up perfectly for his offense. In fact, just give Bill an index card with 6 running plays and let him send the fullback in with the play call, because we’re going old school.

I want all these warm blooded Texas boys on the Tech defense to scrape themselves off the frozen field, stand around in the howling wind for 24 seconds, and then scrape themselves off the frozen field again, stand around for 24 seconds again....rinse and repeat until they give up.

I want Barnes to shatter a safety. I want Delton to be smart and get down after getting what he can get on the QB power. I want the passing game to be a trick play, reserved for exactly 1 RPO a quarter. This is a game where you want to control clock, grind Tech down, and make them play a frustrating game in the 20’s in 20 degree weather. I want Kliff Kingsbury’s perfectly quaffed hair to be blown into some sort of Woddy Woodpeckeresque pompadour and I want his manicured beard to have frozen snot hanging from its mustache.

For Kansas State to win, this game needs to be a referendum on toughness and resolution not a game of talent, skill and speed. Bill Snyder needs to pull one more rabbit out of the hat, walk across the field, and pat Kliff on the back like a child who just lost a rec league soccer game.

I’m willing to freeze to death to see this happen, and believe me people, I wouldn’t risk death for a game I didn’t think we (that time it felt a little more natural) could win.

I’ll see y’all Saturday.