October 3, 2008

Five Keys to Victory: Texas Tech. vs. K-State

Kansas State coach Ron Prince may not want to talk too often about this team's defensive struggles, but he knows facing Texas Tech's dynamic passing duo of quarterback Graham Harrell and receiver Michael Crabtree will test the limits of his already beleaguered defense.


"We have a big challenge ahead of us here with one of the most dynamic sets of playmakers in college football, maybe one of the better players in college football," Prince said. "For sure, one of the better players I have seen in sometime at wide receiver. Their quarterback also does real well. He set most of the passing records and is one of the very best we will see in our league. He is a very good one. So, it is quite a challenge for us."




KANSAS STATE vs TEXAS TECH
When: Saturday, Oct. 4
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. (CDT)
Location: Manhattan
Venue: Snyder Family Stadium (50,000)
TV: ABC regional




Texas Tech, seventh-ranked in the nation and unbeaten at 4-0, is known for its high-scoring (42.3 points per game this season) and mega-yardage output (584.3 yards per game), so a K-State defense that has given up an astounding average of 543 yards the past two games has a full plate in front of it.


"We have to be disruptive whether its batting down balls or just getting hands in the quarterback's face," senior defensive end Ian Campbell said. "With a passing attack, rhythm is very important so you have to disrupt their rhythm. Texas Tech is a team that makes you adjust to them and you have to be able to adjust quickly."


For Texas Tech, this game is about avoiding the upset. After all, the Wildcats have managed to knock of Texas the past two seasons.


"We talked about just like John Wooden says, it's important to respect everyone and fear no one," Tech coach Mike Leach said. "If you don't respect everyone, any of them can beat you. If you fear anybody, then you can't have great victories like Oregon State did."


Some expect this to be a Tech blowout. Some believe a close game will take place. And a few are calling for another dose of Wildcat magic. If Prince and the Wildcats want to knock off another Top 10 program, then following these five keys are essential.




KEY 1: BE BETTER, MUCH BETTER, ON DEFENSE

K-State has been awful on defense for two-straight games so the first step to beating the Red Raiders is obvious. With Big 12 season upon the Wildcats, the defense needs to step up if they want to avoid disaster.


"We can beat them even though we've had some outrageous numbers put up on us," said senior linebacker Antwon Moore. "We need to keep a positive attitude and do what we do. If we win, it will prove a lot of people wrong about us."


The Wildcat defense makes it a goal to hold opponents to 21 points or less, and that does not change even though the opponent is Texas Tech. It's entirely possible that keeping the Red Raiders under 21 per half would make this game winnable for the Wildcats because it will be a high-scoring affair.


"Crabtree is a competitor and Graham Harrell is a competitor so it's what we want," safety Courtney Herndon said "… They have real good chemistry. They go over their routes and Graham Harrell puts the ball out there and they go get it."


Prince designed this defense for slowing spread offenses, and everyone about to see if the Wildcats can hold up in that environment.

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