If Ron Prince or Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach have been searching for a way to challenge their teams’ defenses, then tomorrow’s game should be exactly what they’re looking for.
The meeting between the Wildcats and No. 7 Red Raiders features two of the top 10 scoring offenses in the country. K-State enters the contest with the nation’s eighth-highest mark at 47 points per game, and Texas Tech is one spot behind the Wildcats with an average of 45.8 points per outing.
In addition to putting up big numbers on the scoreboard, both offensive units have shown they can rack up yards as well. Junior quarterback Josh Freeman has been solid through the Wildcats’ first four games, throwing for 1,105 yards and 11 touchdowns. Sophomore running back Lamark Brown — a converted wide receiver — provided a much-needed spark to K-State’s running game last week, as he carried the ball 29 times for 137 yards and a touchdown.
As effective as K-State’s offense has been this season, Texas Tech’s unit has been better. Senior quarterback Graham Harrell has thrown for 1,573 yards — the second-highest total in the country — and 12 touchdowns.
Leach also added another dimension to his historically pass-heavy offense, as the Red Raiders are averaging nearly 150 yards per game on the ground, including 12 scores.
Such a high-octane offense could mean trouble for the Wildcats’ defensive unit, which was torched for 75 points in the team’s last two games — and let’s not forget that 37 of those points came at the hands of Louisiana-Lafayette, a 1-3 team from the Sun Belt Conference.
An improved Texas Tech running game only makes matters worse, as K-State is giving up more than 200 yards on the ground. Unfortunately, that statistic may be a little misleading, as the Wildcats have allowed more than 300 rushing yards on the ground in their last two games, including two 100-yard rushers in each contest.
The Red Raiders’ defense has allowed just 64 points in four games this year, but you shouldn’t look too far into those numbers. Half of their games have been against Division I-AA opponents, and the best offensive team they’ve faced, the WAC’s Nevada Wolf Pack, racked up nearly 500 yards against Texas Tech’s defense.
Long story short: the Red Raiders have an untested defense that hasn’t faced an offense with the firepower of K-State’s unit. My gut feeling is that they’ll get exposed this weekend.
After looking at how both teams have played so far this year, it seems like this matchup could turn into one of the highest-scoring games of the season. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two squads combine to eclipse the century mark.
Whether or not that mark is reached, tomorrow’s potential slugfest should be anything but boring — except for maybe the teams’ punters, who would probably be better off just not suiting up. The chances of an upset might not be great, but Wildcat fans should definitely expect some fireworks.
Justin Nutter is a junior in print journalism. Please send comments to email@example.com.