Kansas State football: 3 keys to victory against Texas Tech

kansas state football

Kansas State football will enter its matchup against the Texas Tech Red Raiders with a 1-1 record. K-State dropped its opener at home against Arkansas State but rebounded to upset then-No. 3 Oklahoma on Sept. 26. The win in Norman marked the program’s first ever road win over a team ranked in the top three of the AP Poll.

Kansas State will look to continue the momentum from the upset with a win against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders narrowly escaped against Houston Baptist in the opener and blew a 15-point lead during the final three minutes in an overtime loss against Texas last week.

Here are three keys for K-State to take down Texas Tech on Saturday.

Skylar Thompson plays well

Sure, football is technically 11 on 11, but a good starting quarterback goes a long way to a team’s success. The Wildcats have that in Thompson, who played well enough in the loss to Arkansas State. He threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, though he did not contribute much in the running game.

Against Oklahoma though, Thompson was spectacular. The senior threw for 334 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in the upset. However, he made his biggest impact with his feet as he ran for three scores on just nine carries.

For Kansas State football to beat Texas Tech and its high-scoring offense, Thompson is going to have to turn in another good performance.

The secondary holds up

In its first two games, the Red Raider offense scored 35 and 56 points, respectively. In particular, Texas Tech shredded opposing defenses with its aerial attack. Sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman threw for 430 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the season-opening win.

Last week, Bowman lit up the Texas secondary for 331 yards and five touchdowns — though he did also toss three interceptions. In each of his first two games, Bowman logged more than 50 passing attempts.

The K-State secondary has its issues this year. The Wildcats allowed 330 passing yards and five touchdowns in the opener. Against the Sooners, they gave up 387 yards and four touchdowns.

However, the potential exists for the secondary to come up with some big plays in the passing game. Bowman threw for seven touchdowns already this season, but he’s also been picked off four times. The Wildcat defense also has four interceptions this season after picking off Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler three times last week.

K-State will likely give up its fair share of plays in the passing game, but if it holds up enough to limit the damage and can come up with a turnover or two, the Wildcats should have a chance to walk away with the win.

Wildcats’ pass rush gets to Bowman

If the Kansas State front seven can apply consistent pressure with the pass rush, the secondary’s job becomes a little bit easier. That will be easier said than done, as Bowman has yet to be sacked this season.

In the season opener, three Wildcats recorded a sack. They notched three more against Rattler and the Sooners last week, bringing the total to six sacks in three games.

Junior defensive end Wyatt Hubert is a key cog in the pass rush. Hubert has two of the Wildcats’ six sacks this season. Last fall as a sophomore, he led the team with seven sacks. Two games into his junior campaign, Hubert has 13.5 career sacks.

The matchup between a good pass rush and a quarterback that hasn’t been sacked yet this season might be the biggest key to the game. If the K-State pressure can get to Bowman and impact his rhythm, the secondary’s job becomes easier. If it doesn’t and Bowman can stand in the pocket and wait for a receiver to get open, it could be a long day for the Wildcat defense.

Photo courtesy of KStateSports.com