Kansas State vs. Texas Tech prediction and game preview. The Wildcats and Red Raiders face off at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday.
Kansas State vs. Texas Tech Game Preview
When: Saturday, October 8 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS
In the most compelling Big 12 matchup this side of the State Fair of Texas, the league’s best defense and top offense meet in Manhattan. Texas Tech and K-State will lock horns to see who is in a better position to escape the conference’s anonymous midsection. The Red Raiders have won two straight, but lost in their toughest test of September, Week 2 at Arizona State. The Wildcats are also looking for their first quality win of the year. They came close last Saturday in Morgantown, but squandered a 13-point four-quarter lead to West Virginia. For both schools, this is the kind of fork-in-the-road game that could redirect the rest of their seasons.
What To Know About Texas Tech
The Red Raiders lead the nation in scoring, just a notch above Louisville and Ohio State. No one has held Kliff Kingsbury’s team below 55 points, though the competition level has been weak. That dynamic changes this week versus Kansas State. There’s also the question of quarterback health after Patrick Mahomes sprained his shoulder in the Kansas win. Enter the heir, Nic Shimonek, who went 15-of-21 for 271 yards, four scores and no picks in relief. Whoever gets the ball must deliver, since Tech ranks last in the Big 12 in defense.
What to Know About Kansas State
The Red Raiders are experiencing all kinds of problems stopping the other team, but can the Cats take advantage? K-State is the polar opposite of Texas Tech, scoring just 29 points in two games with Power Five opponents. Jesse Ertz would be a third-stringer in Lubbock, and the ground game is feeling the impact of an inconsistent passing attack. The Wildcats will continue to lean on a defense that just kept West Virginia under wraps and ranks in the top 10 nationally in both scoring and total defense.
Offense: Texas Tech. Even though Mahomes is likely to sit, the Red Raiders are significantly more potent and efficient than Kansas State.
Defense: Kansas State. The Cats are rugged and sound at every level, from DE Jordan Willis and DT Will Geary up front to LB Elijah Lee and SS Dante Barnett in the back seven.
Special Teams: Kansas State. Bill Snyder’s teams are usually tight on special teams, though PK Matthew McCrane’s struggles outside of 40 are a concern.
Coaching: Kansas State. Kingsbury is the quarterback whisperer, but Snyder is the wizard of Manhattan. And wizard trumps whisperer.
Intangibles: Kansas State. After letting one slip away last week in Morgantown, the Wildcats will be bouncing off the locker room walls to capture their first Big 12 win of the year.
Matchup To Watch
Shimonek vs. Barnett and the K-State secondary
Shimonek was sharp last week, and he might be Kingsbury’s next prolific gunslinger if Mahomes leaves for the NFL. But that was Kansas and this is Kansas State. And this Wildcat defensive backfield is tied for fewest touchdown passes allowed in the country, and will be vexing for a hurler with limited live game experience.
Spread: Kansas State -9
Over/Under: No line (as of posting)
Kansas State vs. Texas Tech Prediction
The Red Raider aerial assault or the bare-knuckle Wildcat D? Take your pick. Mahomes at full tilt would shift the needle in Texas Tech’s direction. But he probably won’t play, and this would be a tough first start for Shimonek. Kansas State is back home, and coordinator Tom Hayes will throw different looks at the junior backup to disrupt his timing. The Wildcat offense is toothless, but a visit from the Raiders will be just what Ertz, RB Charles Jones and WR Dominique Heath need to locate some rare offensive punch in a close win.
Kansas State vs. Texas Tech Score Prediction: Kansas State 34, Texas Tech 28