Wildcats’ defense seeks to contain Red Raiders’ offense Saturday

K-State then-sophomore linebacker Elijah Lee attempts to stop Iowa State sophomore quarterback Joel Lanning during the football game against Iowa State on Nov. 21, 2015, in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. K-State defeated Iowa State 38-35. (File Photo by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Two styles will clash Saturday evening in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The high-paced, high-flying offense of the Red Raiders versus the run-the-clock, slow-paced, methodical attack of the Wildcats.

Texas Tech’s offense will be the toughest test yet for a stingy Kansas State defense that is one of the Big 12’s best. The Red Raiders come into the game with the No. 1 total offense in the nation. They average 664.3 yards per game, mostly on the back of junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes II.

Mahomes is on pace to surpass 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns this season. He went down with an injury in the third quarter of Texas Tech’s last game in Kansas, but then backup quarterback junior Nic Shimonek casually came in and threw for 271 yards and four touchdowns.

No matter who takes reigns of the Red Raiders’ offense, K-State head coach Bill Snyder said he knows they will be formidable.

“Their offense is their offense,” Snyder said. “Whoever they pull in there is gonna do it.”

Though Snyder said he expects to see Mahomes anyway.

“I think we’ll see the number one guy but like I said, if you watched the game you don’t see any significant drop-off whatsoever,” Snyder said. “The guy that came in really did a nice job. He executes their offense really well.”

Now the nation’s No. 4 total defense, K-State defenders will face their biggest challenge yet. They were solid in the loss to West Virginia. Junior linebacker Elijah Lee finished with 14 tackles and an interception, and senior defensive end Jordan Willis was in West Virginia senior quarterback Skyler Howard’s face all afternoon.

Willis said Texas Tech’s offense is somewhat similar to the Mountaineers’.

“Obviously we did some good things last week, so we have to take the same approach in having four good preparation days,” Willis said. “Once you get into Big 12 play, the teams are different but the scheme is the same, so there is not much that is different for me … Some things do change but for me, a lot of it is the same; put your hand in the ground and go.”

Despite K-State’s talented defense, even more pressure will be on the offense to keep up with the Red Raiders’ offense. A week ago the Wildcats could only muster 16 points and only one touchdown. Leaving so many points on the board will not do on Saturday.

Freshman running back Alex Barnes said he believes in his defense but acknowledged the need to score points.

“I have confidence our defense is going to be able to stop them,” Barnes said. “They’re one of the top defenses in the country. But yeah we do have more pressure to score more points than we did last week in order to win games in the Big 12.”

K-State and Texas Tech will take the field on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

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