Texas Tech hands Kansas Big 12 opener loss, 55-19
LUBBOCK, Texas. – An inspired third quarter surge from Kansas football in its Big 12 Conference opener wasn’t enough to catapult the Jayhawks to a road win as they fell to Texas Tech, 55-19, Thursday evening at Jones AT&T Stadium.
After the Red Raiders jumped out to a 28-9 lead heading into halftime, Kansas head coach David Beaty’s halftime message took a little longer to deliver than normal, as the Jayhawks (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) took the field with less than two minutes to warm up for the third quarter. The short warmup time did KU little harm as the team hung 10-unanswered points on Texas Tech (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) and clawed back into the game, 28-19.
A plethora of defensive injuries resulted in several inexperienced Jayhawks having impact moments. Freshman safety Mike Lee, who should be a senior in high school, led the field with nine tackles and a pass breakup. Before leaving the contest due to an injury, sophomore defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., provided 2.0 sacks and was a constant disruptor of Texas Tech pass plays.
Throughout the second half, TTU’s offense found its rhythm and the Jayhawks were unable to keep the scoring pace as the final score widened.
Texas Tech quarterbacks combined to complete 76 percent of their passes and throw for seven touchdowns. Starter Patrick Mahomes exited in the third quarter due to injury, but completed 27-of-34 attempts for 277 yards and four scores.
The Red Raiders’ high-powered aerial assault wasted no time finding the end zone twice in the opening five minutes of the game. Mahomes connected on nine of his first 10 passes, while the Kansas offense struggled to gain its footing.
The tide began to turn in KU’s favor late in the first quarter when the team’s defensive adjustments began to take hold. Lee delivered a jarring hit and Armstrong provided his second sack of the night resulting in a 4th and 24 from the Red Raiders’ own seven.
On the punt sophomore linebacker Keith Loneker Jr., got KU on the board, 14-2, after the Lawrence native cleaned up a fumbled snap in the end zone giving the Jayhawks their first safety since 2012.
After the Kansas defense stymied four-consecutive Red Raider drives, Mahomes tossed his third touchdown pass of the first half with 7:35 to play, increasing the Red Raider lead to 19 points, 21-2.
Sophomore quarterback Ryan Willis responded to the touchdown with an 18-yard touchdown pass to redshirt-freshman wide receiver Chase Harrell to cap a seven-play, 75-yard drive and climb back within 12 points, 21-9.
Texas Tech was able to respond by adding another touchdown, Mahomes’ fourth of the first half, on a six-yard completion to go up, 28-9, heading into halftime.
The Jayhawks went three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half, but a muffed punt by Texas Tech was recovered by senior fullback Michael Zunica at TTU’s 39-yard line. An injury to Willis thrust KU’s starter, redshirt-junior quarterback Montell Cozart, back into the action and he led the Jayhawks to the end zone with an 11-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., 28-16, with 12:18 to play in the third quarter. Cozart would finish the game 9-of-20 for 97 yards, one score and an interception.
The momentum continued to swing Kansas’ way as the defense backed Texas Tech up into a fourth and 30, punting from its own end zone. The Jayhawks suffered from penalties, but came away with a 35-yard field goal from senior kicker Matthew Wyman to get back within nine points, 28-19, with 7:22 to play in the third quarter.
Texas Tech closed the door with a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to go up, 34-19, with 4:56 to play in the third quarter. After the Red Raiders forced a Kansas punt on the ensuing drive the Jayhawks wouldn’t find the end zone the remainder of the game. TTU meanwhile took its next possession 68 yards on nine plays to go up, 41-19 at the conclusion of the third quarter.
The Red Raiders’ offense continued to roll in the final period, while Kansas found nothing to build off of and was kept off the board in the final 15 minutes of play to make the final score, 55-19.
Up Next: Kansas returns home for the first time in nearly a month on Oct. 8 for an 11 a.m. kick with TCU televised from Memorial Stadium on ESNPU.
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