QB Davis Webb vs QB Jake Waters
Webb, a highly touted high school recruit from the state of Texas, was beat out by fellow freshman Baker Mayfield for the starting role to begin the season for the Red Raiders. But when Mayfield was injured against Kansas on Oct. 5, Webb entered the game and helped Texas Tech move to 5-0 by throwing two touchdowns on 3-6 passing for 36 yards. Since then, Webb has not thrown for less than 385 yards in four starts and has nine touchdowns in those games as Texas Tech has gone 2-2 with him at the helm. For the season, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound quarterback has completed 61.7 percent of his passes, while racking up 2,237 yards, 15 touchdowns and throwing nine interceptions. He has thrown an interception in all but one of his four starts, including two each against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Waters has had a significant role for K-State this season, but unlike Webb, has not had the chance to play an entire game at quarterback. However, he has put up solid numbers when given the chance, 1,391 yards for seven touchdowns and five interceptions with a 63.3 completion percentage. While he may not have the gaudy numbers Webb does, he can make all the throws, and continues to try and prove why he should be the number one quarterback for Bill Snyder and the Wildcats.
Edge: Webb. Both quarterbacks were big recruits for their schools who did not perform as well as fans hoped early in the season. But Webb simply plays in an offense that relies on throwing the ball much more so than Waters. He will undoubtedly have more numbers, but Waters may edge him out on game day by making his numbers count more.
DL Kerry Hyder vs DL Ryan Mueller
Hyder, now in his senior season, leads Texas Tech and is sixth in the Big 12 with 10 tackles for loss this season, exactly one-fourth of his 40 tackles on the season. The native of Austin, Texas has also tallied two sacks this year as a leader on the Red Raider defensive line. The 6-foot-2, 280-pound lineman can be quite the handful for opposing offenses, and the Wildcat offensive line will be keeping a keen eye on No. 91 come game time. Hyder was a second team-All Big 12 performer last year, with 14 stops behind the line and five-and-a-half sacks, both of which were in the top-10 for the conference.
Mueller is without a doubt the star along K-State’s defensive line, ranking first in the Big 12 with seven sacks and is tied for first in the league in tackles for loss, with 11. Mueller is also tied for second on the Wildcats with five pass breakups this year. The junior from Leawood, Kan., has become yet another successful transition from walk-on to starter for Bill Snyder, and he has been K-State’s biggest threat on the defensive line all season.
Edge: Mueller. Mueller is playing out of his mind this season, as shown by his residence atop the two most important statistical categories for defensive lineman among the Big 12. Against a team that drops back to pass as much as anyone, look for Mueller to try and wrap up Webb a few times on Saturday.
TE Jace Amaro vs WR Tyler Lockett
Amaro is having a stellar season for the Red Raiders, with 79 catches for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns. His 79 catches are first in the conference, and he is averaging two-and-a-half more per game than the next closest pass catcher, which incidentally is Lockett. In the age of athletic, pass-catching tight ends, Amaro is one of the nation’s best. At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Amaro lines up all over the field, from a traditional spot next to the tackle, to the backfield and often even out in the slot. He has great speed for his size and is a threat all over the field.
Lockett is on the opposite end of the size spectrum as Amaro, measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds. However, if Amaro is a playmaker, Lockett belongs in whatever the next category up is. With electrifying speed and quickness, Lockett’s speed is just as devastating as Amaro’s size. Not only is he one spot behind Amaro in the Big 12 in receptions per game, he places one spot behind the Red Raider tight end in receiving yards per game as well, coming in fourth with 94 yards per game.
Edge: Push. What we have here are two of the best receiving targets in the Big 12, and they both impact the game in different ways. Amaro uses deceptive speed to hit the seam, while Lockett uses the speed everyone is prepared for yet still blows past defenses. It will be interesting to see who finishes with a bigger day.