GAME PREVIEW: Texas Tech travels to Lawrence to face Kansas

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Photo: Charlton Gladden/

Coming off a close 34-41 loss at the hands of Oklahoma State, Texas Tech travels to Lawrence to take on Kansas this Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kansas had a bye last week, providing them with extra time to prepare for their second Big 12 game. Two weeks ago, Kansas fell to West Virginia 34-56 in their conference opener.

Each team was predicted to be in the bottom half of the Big 12 this season, making their search for a conference win against each other that much more crucial. This game might wind up being decided by two factors.

First: the Kansas run game against the Texas Tech front seven. While not jumping off the page as stellar, Tech has done a good job mostly mitigating the damage done by opposing rush offenses compared to a year ago. They might have their hands full against Kansas and Khalil Herbert, who has burst onto the scene in the Jayhawks’ last two games.

Herbert ran for 137 yards against Ohio, then gashed West Virginia for 291 yards on 36 carries. It’s pretty clear that the Kansas offense depends on Herbert, and they will try to get him going early against Texas Tech. If the Red Raiders can take away the run and force Kansas to take to the air, they should be able to find more success on the defensive side of the ball.

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The second big factor is whether or not Texas Tech wide receiver Keke Coutee, currently a game-time decision, is able to play or not. Coutee is the best player on the team, and his absence leaves a gaping hole in the Tech offensive attack.

If Kansas is able to keep it close and maybe win, it will be due to a strong run game of their own while taking advantage of a Coutee-less Texas Tech offense. Tech has also gotten off to slow starts in Lawrence, perhaps due to 11 a.m. kickoff times, which Saturday will be.

If Texas Tech is going to win by more than two touchdowns, it will need to continue its improved play on defense by taking away the run and forcing turnovers when Kansas goes to the air. Tech will also be looking to improve its offense by being more balanced and proving they can consistently move the ball without Coutee if he’s unable to play.

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