Jayhawks Host Red Raiders in Second-Straight Home Game

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Head coach David Beaty and the Kansas football team continue their homestand as they welcome in Texas Tech for KU’s annual Jayhawks for a Cure game, Saturday, Oct. 17. Kickoff against the Red Raiders is slated for 11 a.m., and can be seen on Fox Sports 1.

Kansas and Texas Tech will meet for the 17th time in the history of the two programs with the Red Raiders leading the way with a 15-1 advantage. The Jayhawks have never won a game against TTU in Lawrence, and haven’t beaten them since a 34-31 overtime victory in Lubbock, Texas, Oct. 6, 2001.

Texas Tech is averaging 52.7 points per game which ranks second nationally behind Baylor. The Red Raiders are coming off a school-record 776 yards of total offense (515 passing, 261 rushing) last weekend against Iowa State. TTU has racked up 174 first downs (59 rushing, 103 passing, 12 penalty) en route to scoring 43 touchdowns. Typcial of a Kliff Kingsbury style offense, Texas Tech leads the nation averaging 439.0 yards per game in the air, which is 33 yards more than the next power five team in Washington State (396.4). Quarterback Patrick Mahomes completes 65 percent of his passes (167-of-257) and has thrown for 2,264 yards and 19 touchdowns. Mahomes leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks third in the nation with 377.3 yards per game, 26.8 more than Heisman candidate Trevone Boykin of TCU. One of Mahomes’ favorite targets, wide receiver Jakeem Grant, has hauled in 44 of his passes for 648 yards (108.0 ypg) and four scores. On the ground, running back DeAndre Washington has rushed for 586 yards on the season on 83 attempts and ranks fifth in the league at 97.7 yards per game and six touchdowns. When it comes to scoring, TTU wastes no time getting on the board with 90 points scored in the first quarter and 98 points scored in the second period.

Texas Tech enters Saturday’s contest allowing opponents to 39.7 points-per-game and has given up 158 first downs (77 rushing, 75 passing and six penalty). Opponents have found success with a balanced attack against the Red Raider defense as teams have averaged 283.7 yards per game on the ground while throwing for 283.0 yards per game. Teams have completed 64 percent of their passes (137-of-214) for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. When opponents reach the red zone on TTU, they have scored 86 percent of the time, including 21-of-24 touchdowns. The first half seems the easiest to rack up points against Texas Tech as it has allowed 172 points through the first two quarters compared to just 66 points in the final two. Freshman linebacker Dakota Allen leads the Big 12 with 9.7 stops per game (34 solo, 24 assists) while J.J. Gaines leads the squad with four interceptions through six games.

In his third season at the helm of his alma mater, Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury holds a 16-15 overall record. In his second season as head coach, Kingsbury led a young and inexperienced squad to a 4-8 overall record. His potent offense began to develop the balance he had been seeking, as running back DeAndre Washington became the first Red Raider to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season since Ricky Williams did so in 1998. The Red Raider offense finished the season ranked 10th (504.1 yards-per-game) nationally while the pass offense ranked fifth (351.1 yards-per-game). In his inaugural year, Kingsbury led the Red Raiders to an 8-5 overall record and a stunning 37-23 win over No. 16 Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl. He became just the second coach in school history to win a bowl game in his first season as the Red Raiders dismantled the heavily favored Sun Devils in San Diego. His popularity also helped revitalize the Texas Tech fan base as the Red Raiders set a new school record for average home attendance (57,933 average per game). Kingsbury returned to his alma mater after a one-year stint as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M in 2012 where he played a major role in leading freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel to the Heisman Trophy. Under his guidance, the Aggie offense finished third nationally in total offense by averaging 552.33 yards per game. The Aggies ranked 14th nationally in passing offense and 13th nationally in rushing offense, making Texas A&M one of the most balanced attacks in college football. Before he took the Texas A&M job, Kingsbury was the offensive coordinator at Houston where he helped the Cougars to a record-setting 13-win season in 2011 and the program’s highest final BCS finish in school history (No. 19). As a quarterback at Texas Tech, Kingsbury received multiple honors including 2002 Associated Press Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. During his career from 1999-2002, Kingsbury set 39 school records, 16 Big 12 records and 17 NCAA records. As a senior he was awarded the Sammy Baugh Trophy, presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback.

The Jayhawks are one of the youngest teams in the country as they rank first in both first-time players (36) and second in first-time starters (27). With that said, the young ‘Hawks are producing in several areas, including receiving where freshmen have hauled in 31 catches for 322 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt freshman Tyler Patrick, along with true freshmen Steven Sims, Jr., Jeremiah Booker and Emmanuel Moore, have accounted for 30 percent of the receiving offense through five games.

Kansas got a boost from the return of sixth-year senior running back Taylor Cox in its last outing. Cox, who has battled injuries the last two seasons, had not seen game action in 765 days. He picked up a start against Baylor (Oct. 10), carrying the ball a career-high 19 times for 45 yards. Cox also caught three passes for 16 yards.

In his first career start, freshman quarterback Ryan Willis lined up behind center and marched Kansas 74 yards down the field for its first points of the season on an opening possession against Baylor (Oct. 10). The conclusion of that nine-play drive came at the hands of freshman wide receiver Steven Sims, Jr. The rookie slipped behind one of Baylor’s cornerbacks and hauled in a 36-yard strike from Willis for the Jayhawks’ lone score of the game.
One would have to look back 12 years to find the last rookie duo to hook up for a receiving touchdown in quarterback Adam Barmann and running back John Randle. In the third quarter against Texas A&M, Barmann connected with Randle for 39 yards and one of his four passing scores on the day. A true freshman wouldn’t throw another touchdown until 2006 when Todd Reesing chucked one against Colorado, and then Willis Saturday (Oct. 10).

Junior safety Fish Smithson has been one of the steady workhorses in the Kansas secondary averaging 9.0 tackles-per-game through the first five contests. Smithson has 34 solo stops and assisted on 11 others, en route to a season-high 45 total tackles. His 6.8 solo stop per game rank fifth in the nation and the first in the Big 12, while his 9.0 rank second among league defensive backs.

Kansas hits the road and heads to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to face Oklahoma State Saturday, Oct. 24, at Boone Pickens Stadium, before returning home Oct. 31 to host Oklahoma for Homecoming. Kickoff against the Cowboys can be seen on FOX Sports 1 at 2:30 p.m.

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