LUBBOCK, Texas — Following a loss to TCU at home, Texas Tech must win its final two regular season game to make a bowl. The first test is No. 24 Kansas State in Lubbock on Saturday night.
Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells, offensive lineman Terence Steele and defensive lineman Broderick Washington met with the media Monday morning to discuss last weekend’s loss and the remaining games on the schedule.
Here are some notable details from the press conference:
“Our season is on the line. We need these next two wins to be bowl eligible and extend our season, so that’s where we’re at. The team knows that. That’s the sense of urgency around here.”Offensive lineman Terence Steele on Texas Tech’s mentality.
Beck shines filling in for Brooks
Jordyn Brooks left Saturday’s game early with an injury. Wells said he couldn’t practice for much of the week and was pulled after it was clear he wasn’t his usual self. He’ll be a game-time decision against Kansas State.
In his place, Minnesota transfer Adam Beck filled in and played well. The sophomore, who was originally recruited as a defensive back, was stout in the box and showed impressive range.
“He played with passion, he played fast, played behind the line of scrimmage at times, and I was really, really proud of Adam Beck,” Wells said.
Brooks would surely love to play one last time at Jones Stadium Saturday, but Beck proved himself to be a suitable replacement if Brooks can’t go.
Sense of urgency going forward
At 4-6, the Red Raiders have no room for error if they want to make a bowl game: they must win out. According to Steele and Washington, the dire straits have instilled a sense of urgency in the locker room.
“Our season is on the line,” Steele said. “We need these next two wins to be bowl eligible and extend our season, so that’s where we’re at. The team knows that. That’s the sense of urgency around here.”
Saturday will be the last time that Texas Tech stalwarts like Douglas Coleman, Travis Bruffy and possibly Brooks take the field in Lubbock.
Emotions figure to be high.
“It kind of hit me over the weekend because I mean, after we played TCU, next game on the schedule is senior night,” Washington said. “I mean, I was sitting on my couch thinking about it, and I was like, ‘yeah, I’m going to be emotional before the game.'”
The Red Raiders have dropped their last two at home, and the finale would surely be sweeter if it ends up a win.
“Big boy ball“
While plenty of Big 12 teams like to sling it, Kansas State is a team that attacks on the ground. The Wildcats run the ball 42.5 times per game, and the Red Raiders will have to be stout up front against them.
“They’re going to play some big-boy ball and they’re very physical,” Wells said of the opposing offense.
Kansas State running back James Gilbert is averaging an efficient 5.5 yards per carry, and Texas Tech will have its hands full trying to slow him down.
Containing rushing quarterbacks
TCU’s Max Duggan gave Texas Tech fits with his legs all afternoon on Saturday. On the first drive of the game, Duggan picked up two long third downs on scrambles and finished the day with 75 rushing yards.
Texas Tech will not get a break in that area this coming Saturday.
Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson rushed for four touchdowns in Kansas State’s upset of Oklahoma and 127 yards against Kansas. But Washington thinks that last week’s matchup with Duggan prepared the Red Raiders well for Thompson.
“They’re pretty much the same guy if you look at it,” Washington said. “We just have to do a better job of executing against him and being prepared for him to take off and run.”
Thompson has proved he can wreck a game with his legs, so keeping him in the pocket and shutting down his designed runs will be a huge key for the Red Raiders.