LAWRENCE—After declaring Kansas’ defense the worst in Big 12 history, Texas Tech did their best to prove me wrong Saturday. The Red Raiders allowed 20 points in a matter of 11 minutes, while Kansas slowed down Tech’s potent offense to the matter of 16 yards and three punts in their first three possessions.
Then both teams woke up and the game went about how I expected. Tech, who entered the game as the nations seventh best scoring offense at 48 points per game, finally scored with 1 minute, 35 seconds left, and took the lead with two scores in the first five minutes of the second quarter, and never looked back cruising to a 45-34 win. Tech (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) outscored Kansas 45-14 after falling behind 20-0.
Both quarterbacks entered the game with 17 combined touchdowns and 0 interceptions, but turned it over three times in the first half. KU’s Jordan Webb came into the game fifth in the nation in passing efficiency and had six TD’s, but threw three picks, the first which set up Tech’s first score and another in the endzone when Kansas was down 18.
Texas Tech’s Seth Doege, who finished 29-of-46 for 366 yards and three touchdowns, threw an early interception in the first quarter.
Kansas (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) came out on fire, with a great gameplan, scoring three touchdowns in three drives in 10 minutes, and running the ball successfully as the offensive line opened up huge holes, but was outscored 45-7 the rest of the game until they got a late score.
Kansas gained 218 yards in the first quarter, but gained just 85 in the second quarter.
Tech running back Eric Stephens topped 100 yards for the second straight game, carrying the rock 26 times for 124 yards and two TD’s
Eric Ward caught two touchdown passes for the second straight game (4-71). His second touchdown pass put Texas Tech up 45-27 with 2:49 left in the third quarter.
Brandon Bourbon broke off a 51-yard touchdown, his first of his career, to give Kansas a 13-0 lead five minutes into the game. He finished with 101 yards on 10 carries. James Sims gave Kansas a 7-0 lead with an 11-yard TD 1:30 into the game. Kale Pick’s fumble recovery in the endzone on a Webb touchdown pass made it 20-0 with 3:39 remaining in the first quarter.
Then it was downhill from there. Tech scored 24 straight before trailing 27-24 at the half, then added three touchdowns in the third quarter to go up 45-27.
The Red Raiders gained 530 yards, marking the third straight game Kansas has allowed 500-plus yards. Kansas allowed 768 yards in their last game at Georgia Tech, who leads the nation in offense.
More about the game here: KU Sports: KU jumps out, then falls to Tech
Kansas Grade card
Offense: C+: Kansas looked great to start the game with the three quick scores 218 yards and a 20-0 lead, but disappeared for most of the game, not a good sign with the terrible defense Kansas plays. Kansas scored a late first half touchdown with Rell Lewis’ first career touchdown, a 19-yarder with 46 seconds left to take a 27-24 lead into halftime, but didn’t score again until they were down 45-27 and the game was more or less over.
Kansas did gain 478 yards, including another good day on the ground with 239 yards, but turnovers were costly. The Jayhawks had turned it over just once all year, but gave it away four times today.
Quarterback: Jordan Webb C
Webb entered the game fifth nationally in passer rating with six touchdowns, 539 yards and 0 interceptions, but threw three interceptions. Webb was rather efficient otherwise, throwing three incompletions other than the three picks, completing 16-of-22 for 239 yards and three touchdowns.
Webb started 5-for-5 for 131 yards as KU gained 218 yards in the first quarter, but his first interception late in the quarter changed the momentum of the game. With a 20-0 lead late in the first quarter, Webb’s interception set-up Texas Tech with a short field, and 8 minutes later, Kansas trailed 21-20.
Running Backs: B+
Kansas ran for 239 yards and Brandon Bourbon gained 101 yards in just 10 carries, including a 51-yard score. James Sims gained a quiet 85 yards on 24 carries and true freshman Tony Pierson was electric when he was in the game, gaining 46 yards on nine carries. Fellow freshman Darrian Miller, who scored two touchdowns at Georgia Tech, touched the ball just one time for a 25-yard catch and run setting up the first score, before leaving with an injury. Rell Lewis scored his first career touchdown with a 19-yard catch too briefly put KU back up 27-24 before half. If Kansas continues to get this production out of their running backs, it will take a lot of pressure off Webb.
The receiving core caught two of Webb’s three TD passes, but didn’t do anything spectacular. They were just average. In addition, two of Webb’s three interceptions were off the hands of receivers. DJ Beshears went for 3 for 76 and former quarterback Kale Pick and tight end Tim Biere caught four balls each. Webb needs more out of his receivers, especially if KU has to win via shootout.
Offensive Line: B+
Kansas gained 478 yards, 239 passing and rushing, and Webb didn’t get hit much and was sacked just one time. The young Kansas line has held up well this year and the running game of the Hawks has been surprisingly good, 11th in the nation at 263 yards per game. That starts up front, and they opened up HUGE holes in the first quarter.
The only reason this isn’t an F because it was an improvement from last game. But it couldn’t get much worse than 768 yards and 604 rush yards. Kansas allowed 530 yards and 48 more points, and ranks DEAD LAST in scoring defense (44.3) nationally. I will give Kansas some credit for forcing three straight stops, including forcing a turnover to start the game. Unfortunately, a 20-0 lead still wasn’t enough.
Turner Gill had his team ready to play. And he still has his team believing. His players said they made defensive adjustments at half time against Georgia Tech and it confused them, but didn’t this week.
Final Thoughts: Kansas looked better, but the 1961 throwback power blue uniforms or Homecoming was enough to get Kansas over the hump in their most winnable Big 12 Conference game. I don’t see another win on their schedule. Maybe Iowa State but its on the road. The next two games could get ugly as they play at #5 Oklahoma State Saturday at 2:30, followed by #3 Oklahoma the next week. Both teams could drop 60 on the Kansas defense.