Against a high-powered Texas Tech, K-State football looks to salvage bowl hopes

Sophomore defensive back Duke Shelley delivers a hard hit during the game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Oct. 8, 2016. The Wildcats defeated the Red Raiders 44-38 the last time they played in Manhattan. (Sabrina Cline | The Collegian)

Two games remain for the Kansas State football team’s 2018 season. In order to extend the streak of consecutive bowl games to nine, the Wildcats must win out.

The quest to achieve that will go on this Saturday as K-State welcomes the Texas Tech Red Raiders to Manhattan.

Here are five things to know to get you primed for Wildcats versus Red Raiders.

1. Texas Tech is lacking in the win column, but not on the stat sheet. A few weeks ago, Tech appeared as a potential dark horse team to make a run at the Big 12 title. They were 5-2 after a 3-1 stretch that saw it beat Oklahoma State, TCU and Kansas and a near comeback win over West Virginia.

Now, the Red Raiders have lost three games in a row and sits at 5-5. Needing one win for bowl eligibility, they have games against K-State and Baylor remaining.

In their last three losses, the Red Raiders have averaged 37 points per game, but have given up an average of 44 points in those games. They are second in the conference in scoring offense (41.8 points per game) and total offense (529.4 yards per game).

2. K-State is struggling on offense as of late. Since ending a three-game losing streak by defeating Oklahoma State, 31-12 on Oct. 13, the Wildcats have gone 1-2. During that span, they have scored a total of 48 points, which is just 16 points per game.

In those same three games, K-State is averaging 282.3 total yards of offense, while they have given up an average of 441.3 yards to opponents.

3. Alex Barnes has been a constant for the Wildcats. Outside of a 13-carry, 28-yard performance against Oklahoma, Barnes has rushed for more than 100 yards in each game since the loss to Texas on Sept. 29.

The senior running back scored his first touchdown since the Oklahoma State game, as he put together 117 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas last weekend. He remains the Big 12 leader with 103.5 rushing yards per game and 11 rushing touchdowns.

4. Tech quarterback Alan Bowman is unlikely to play. Bowman first suffered a collapsed lung against West Virginia on Sept. 29, and reinjured it against Oklahoma on Nov. 3. Earlier this week, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he does not expect Bowman to be ready to go against K-State.

It is easy for one to wonder what the true freshman’s stat line could look like had he not been battling a nagging injury. Bowman is still the Big 12’s leader in passing yards per game with 329.8. He has thrown for 2,638 and 17 touchdowns.

Sophomore signal caller Jett Duffey has been Bowman’s top replacement. He has thrown 1,071 yards and eight touchdowns, but also can damage defense with his legs, demonstrated by his 377 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

5. Lastly, the logistics. K-State and Tech will kick off at 2:30 p.m. inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPNU and broadcast on the K-State Sports Radio Network. The Red Raiders are a six-point favorite for Saturday’s game.

I’m Jarrett Whitson, the sports editor this semester. I’m from Blue Rapids, KS, a town of just over 1,000 people about 40 miles north of Manhattan. I’m a junior in Public Relations, and a member of FarmHouse Fraternity. I love playing and talking about sports— especially college football