Kansas Hits Road for Showdown in Lubbock
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas football team continues its Big 12 tour, as the Jayhawks head to Lubbock, Texas, for a bout with the Red Raiders inside Jones AT&T Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 18.
Texas Tech (2-4, 0-3) and the Jayhawks (2-4, 0-3) have sqaured off 15 times prior to Saturday’s contest, with TTU owning a 14-1 advantage in the all-time series record. KU’s lone victory over the Red Raiders came in Lubbock in 2001 when Kansas won an overtime thriller, 34-31. Saturday’s matchup will also be broadcast live on FOX Sports Net with kickoff set to begin at 2:30 p.m.
- Kansas owns a 578-593-58 all-time record entering Saturday’s game versus Texas Tech.
- Kansas is playing its sixth-straight mid-afternoon game. The Jayhawks kicked off at Duke and at home against Central Michigan at 2:30 p.m. (CT) and faced Texas, West Virginia and Oklahoma State at 3 p.m.
- Kansas is looking to snap several long streaks when it travels to Texas Tech. KU has lost 26-consecutive true road games and 29 games away from Lawrence overall. Kansas’ last road win came at UTEP on Sept. 12, 2009. The Jayhawks have not won a Big 12 Conference road game since defeating Iowa State, 35-33, on Oct. 4, 2008, a span of 22 true road games and 25 overall Big 12 games outside of Memorial Stadium.
KANSAS-TEXAS TECH CONNECTIONS
Kansas has 24 players from the state of Texas on its roster, while Texas Tech’s roster does not field any natives of the Sunflower state. Kansas offensive lineman Damon Martin and Texas Tech wide receiver Jordan Davis both attended Arlington High School. KU cornerback JaCorey Shepherd and TTU wide receiver Jakeem Grant both graduated from Mesquite Horn High School in Mesquite, Texas. Of the 11 coaches listed on TTU’s staff, six of them played against Kansas during their collegiate careers. As a quarterback at Texas Tech from 1999-2002, Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury held a 1-1 record against Kansas, winning 45-39 in 2000 and losing in overtime the following season, 31-34. In those two games, Kingsbury completed 55-of-85 passes for 647 yards and tossed seven touchdowns compared to zero interceptions. TTU offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Eric Morris also played for the Red Raiders from 2005-08. He matched up against Kansas twice, winning both games, catching eight passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns in the two victories. Red Raiders’ defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach Mike Smith played for TTU from 2000-04 and in two games against Kansas recorded 12 tackles, two tackles for loss and one pass breakup. Texas Tech special teams coach Darrin Chiaverini played against Kansas as a wide receiver for Colorado, and in a 1998 victory over the Jayhawks, he caught seven passes for 79 yards in a 33-17 loss. Red Raiders cornerbacks coach Kevin Curtis played safety for Texas Tech from 1999-2002 and in two games against KU he had 16 tackles, one tackle for loss, three pass breakups and a sack. TTU safeties coach Trey Haverty played once against Kansas as a Red Raider in 2004 and caught eight passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. Texas Tech inside linebackers coach Matt Brock once was a two-time all-conference pick just 20 minutes south of Lawrence as a linebacker at Baker University.
SCOUTING THE TEXAS TECH OFFENSE
Texas Tech’s high-powered offense is averaging 30.3 points per game and has accumulated 150 first downs on the season. The Red Raiders boast a dangerous aerial assault throwing the ball for 95 of its 150 first downs this season. The same holds true for putting the ball in the end zone. TTU has scored five rushing touchdowns compared to 20 by way of pass in 2014. The Red Raiders are averaging 486.2 yards of total offense per contest and they average 6.4 yards per snap. Throwing the ball is where Texas Tech does a majority of its damage evidenced by way of 175 completions out of 285 attempts and 20 touchdowns. The Red Raiders have thrown for 2,025 yards this season and are averaging 337.5 passing yards per game. The second quarter is the portion of the game where opponents struggle to keep the Red Raiders off of the board. Texas Tech has scored 65 points in the second quarter of games this year. Once the offense moves the ball inside the 20-yard line, TTU manages to put points on the board 81 percent of the time and scores a touchdown 67 percent of the time (14-21). The offensive line does an adequate job of protecting the quarterback in the Red Raiders’ pass-happy scheme, allowing a conference-best five sacks on the year. Quarterback Davis Webb is second in the conference averaging 325 yards passing per game and has thrown for a conference-best 19 touchdowns this season. Wide receiver Jakeem Grant ranks second in the conference with 7.3 receptions per game and is second in the league with 44 receptions for 557 yards and five touchdowns.
SCOUTING THE TEXAS TECH DEFENSE
The Texas Tech defense is allowing its opponents to score 39.5 points-per-contest, while giving up 164 first downs through six games. The Red Raiders’ front seven allows opponents to run for nearly five yards per carry (4.9) and is giving up 257.5 yards on the ground per game with a total of 19 touchdowns on the year. The pass defense has been Texas Tech’s most reliant aspect, as they have only allowed 108 completions on 184 attempts and 11 touchdowns. Opponents are averaging 227 yards through the air while having two passes intercepted. The defense starts games strong only giving up 40 points in the first quarter, but in the second and fourth quarter, TTU has given up 72 and 76 points. Texas Tech hasn’t had much success stopping teams inside the 20-yard line, giving up points in 26 out of 28 attempts this season. The Red Raiders have three defensive players who are over 40 tackles on the year and are ranked within the top-16 in the Big 12 averaging just under eight stops per game. Safety Keenon Ward leads the team with 46 tackles and also has four pass breakups to go along with a forced fumble. BAN Pete Robertson has a team-high five sacks, resulting in a team-high five tackles for loss. In the secondary, cornerback Justis Nelson leads the team with six pass breakups to go along with 29 tackles.
TEXAS TECH HEAD COACH KLIFF KINGSBURY
In his second season at the helm of his alma mater, Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury holds a 10-9 overall record. In his inaugural season, Kingsbury led the team to an 8-5 record and a 37-23 win over No. 16 Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl. With the victory, he became just the second coach in school history to win a bowl game in his first season. Prior to the 2013 season, Kingsbury had served a one-year stint as the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M where, under his guidance, quarterback Johnny Manziel took home the Heisman Trophy. With Kingsbury leading the offense, A&M finished third nationally in total offense, averaging 552.3 yards per game. The Aggies ranked 14th nationally in passing offense and 13th nationally in rushing offense leading to Kingsbury being named national offensive coordinator of the year. 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). During his time at Houston, the Cougars led the nation in total offense, passing offense and scoring in 2011, while quarterback Case Keenum placed seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting. Houston averaged 599.1 total yards per game, including 450.1 through the air, while scoring over 49 points per game. The Cougars scored over 70 points in two games in 2011, and finished the season with a 30-14 win over Penn State in the TicketCity Bowl. 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.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS FOOTBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 7-8-2 all-time in games played on Oct. 18. The Jayhawks won on the road at Denver in 1896 to open the 17 games they have played on Oct. 18. KU has faced current members of the Big 12 in 10 of the 17 games it has played on Oct. 18, going 4-5-1 in those matchups.
KANSAS-OKLAHOMA STATE LEFTOVERS
- For the first time in 2014, Kansas started the game with a different quarterback. Junior Michael Cummings started the sixth game of his career Saturday against the Cowboys.
- With 7:02 left in the first quarter, Cummings launched a career-long 51-yard pass that was caught by senior receiver Nick Harwell. The pass marked Harwell’s longest catch in a KU uniform.
- With the 51-yard reception, Harwell also snagged the most receiving yards in his Kansas career on one play.
- Harwell finished the game erasing all of his previous KU career-highs after catching seven passes for 91 yards.
- With 5:10 left in the first quarter, Cummings took the ball into the end zone from one yard out for his first rushing touchdown of the year, and gave KU its first opening-period touchdown since the Central Michigan game on Sept. 20, 2014.
- Cummings’ first quarter rushing touchdown was his first since he ran for a touchdown against Baylor on Nov. 3, 2012.
- *Cummings also threw the ball a career-high 37 times, the most passes any Jayhawk has attempted this season.
- With 6:10 left in the third quarter, Cummings set a new career-high passing yardage mark of 148 yards by way of a 33-yard completion to junior wide receiver Nigel King. Cummings finished the game with a new career-high 288 passing yards, the most by a Jayhawk quarterback since Dayne Crist threw for 303 yards against TCU on Sept. 15, 2012.
- The catch by King gave him a KU career-long reception of 33 yards.
- Before the first quarter had commenced, senior wide receiver Tony Pierson had already carried the ball a season-high five times, two more than his previous most. Pierson finished the game with 10 carries.
- Junior wide receiver Tre’ Parmalee caught his first pass of the season for seven yards with 14:30 to go in the game.
- At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Cummings had completed passes of 51, 33 and 30 yards. Kansas had not had a quarterback complete three passes of 30 or more yards this season until Cummings.
- Senior tight end Jimmay Mundine finished the game with five catches for career-best 88 yards.
- Freshman running back Corey Avery turned in a career-long 23-yard touchdown run with 14:13 to play in the game.
- Freshman cornerback Matthew Boateng swatted a pass away early in the first quarter giving him a pass breakup in five of his first six games played for the Jayhawks.
- Senior linebacker Ben Heeney recorded the 15th double-digit tackling performance of his career as he finished the game one tackle short of a career-high with 14 stops. Heeney had season-high 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
- Senior safety Cassius Sendish picked off the first pass of his career in the third quarter and returned it 30 yards.
- The interception also gave Sendish two pass breakups which set a new career-high for the senior safety.
- With 5:43 to play in the third period, senior BUCK Michael Reynolds forced a fumble on a pass attempt by Oklahoma State. The forced fumble was the first by Reynolds this season and the first since he caused Baylor to cough up the ball on Oct. 26, 2013.
- Sophomore safety Tevin Shaw recovered the fumble that was forced by Reynolds for the first fumble recovery of his career.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
- Sophomore safety Tevin Shaw blocked an OSU field goal in the second quarter, the first of his KU career. The blocked field goal gave the Jayhawks their third-straight game with a blocked field goal.
Kansas has blocked a field goal in three-straight games (Texas, at West Virginia, Oklahoma State), marking the first time it has blocked a kick in three-consecutive games since blocking punts in three-straight outings during the 1987 season. In 1987, the Jayhawks scored safeties off of blocked punts in back-to-back-to-back games (Louisiana Tech, Southern Illinois, Nebraska). Three different Jayhawks have gotten in on the action as junior linebacker Jake Love (Texas), junior defensive lineman T.J. Semke (at West Virginia) and sophomore safety Tevin Shaw (Oklahoma State) have each gotten their hands on a field goal.
RED ZONE WARRIORS
Kansas’ defense has tightened once allowing opponents to enter the red zone. KU’s opponents have gotten in the red zone on 17 occasions, scoring on 13, good for 76.5 percent. More notable though, is that the Jayhawk ‘D’ has only allowed opponents to score eight touchdowns on their 17 trips into the red zone, good for just 47.1 percent. The Kansas defense ranks second in the Big 12 and 32nd nationally in red zone defense.
Kansas has found a niche picking up loose footballs as the Jayhawks lead the Big 12 Conference and rank 28th nationally in fumbles recovered with six through the first six contests of the 2014 season. Both the Jayhawk defense and special teams have been involved in the fumble recoveries as six different KU players have picked up the football in LB Ben Heeney, BUCK Victor Simmons, DL Ben Goodman, WR Justin McCay, CB Matthew Boateng and S Tevin Shaw.
HARWELL’S HAPPY RETURNS
Jayhawk senior wide receiver/punt returner Nick Harwell ranks second in the Big 12 Conference in punt returns with 26.4 yards per return on five returns, including his 76-yard return for a touchdown in KU’s game at West Virginia. Harwell trails only Tyler Lockett of Kansas State in punt return average, with the All-American Lockett edging him out at 26.8 yards per return. Harwell finished the West Virginia game with 84 yards on two punt returns, earning him College Football Performance Awards punt returner of the week honors.
Following Saturday’s game at Texas Tech, Kansas will have its second bye of the 2014 season Saturday, Oct. 25. Upon returning from their bye weekend, the Jayhawks will travel back to the state of Texas for a game at Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 1. The Bears lead the overall series between the two programs, 9-4, including a perfect 6-0 mark in Waco. Kansas will be making its first appearance at the brand new McLane Stadium, which opened this fall.