Know Your Opponent: The more things change, the more they stay the same for Texas Tech

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Freshman wide receiver Malik Knowles catches the ball during K-State's football game against West Virginia at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Nov. 16, 2019. The Wildcats lost to the Mountaineers with a final score of 24-20. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State gets one more shot at a first-year coach this week when they travel to Lubbock, Texas to take on Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders hired Utah State’s former coach Matt Wells to replace Kliff Kingsbury, who is now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

Despite Wells being the Raiders’ first departure from the Hal Mumme/Mike Leach air raid offensive, Texas Tech still operates in a similar fashion to the past.

They like to go fast — really fast. They are the 10th fastest offense in the country, only taking 20 seconds per play.

https://twitter.com/ksu_FAN/status/1197622581689507840?s=20

They also still stick to short, easy throws that are typical of the air raid. A lot of short slants, curls and wide receiver screen passes are used to try to get their talented receivers in space.

It will be a big test for K-State’s defense, which is the top passing defense by yards per game, but middling-to-bad by completion percentage allowed and yards per attempt.

Junior quarterback Jett Duffey is a more-than-serviceable quarterback for this offense. His arm is good enough for the offense, but where he really adds a lot to the offense is in his ability to scramble and run the option when needed.

In the midweek press conference, K-State senior safety Denzel Goolsby talked about how a scrambling quarterback is especially hard for a safety to defend because it is difficult to gauge if he is still behind the line of scrimmage.

The Texas Tech defense is the lowest ranked in the conference. They average 478.2 yards per game, last in the Big 12, and 28.5 points per game, seventh in the Big 12.

They do, however, run the three-man front that has been a nightmare for K-State’s offensive line. In rushing situations against TCU, they switched to four down lineman to try to stop the run, though.

On the back end of the defense, they really struggle. The Tech defense gives up 310 yards per game. K-State could have an opening in the passing game.

PREDICTION: This is the hardest game for me to pick this season. I think K-State looks solid on offense after being shut down the past two weeks, but also struggles to bring down Red Raider receivers in space. A few game management mistakes cost K-State the win late — Texas Tech 35, K-State 31.

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