LAWRENCE, Kansas — It wasn’t hard to deduce what Texas Tech’s gameplan was against Kansas Saturday.
The Red Raiders ran, ran and ran some more against the Jayhawks, picking up 246 yards on the ground in a 41-14 victory.
With the win, Texas Tech improved to 5-2 on the season and 2-2 in Big 12 play. One more win would make the Red Raiders bowl-eligible.
Kansas’ defense ranked third-to-last in the FBS in rushing coming into Saturday’s game and the Red Raiders attacked it from every which way. SaRodrick Thompson got 13 carries, Sonny Cumbie broke out Donovan Smith’s run-heavy package early and often, and five different wide receivers got the ball on jet sweeps. Kansas did not have much of an answer for any of those plays.
Texas Tech’s first play of the game was a handoff to Thompson that went 17 yards. The Red Raiders got into the red zone with passes to Kaylon Geiger and Myles Price and ran the ball on their next five plays. Quarterback Henry Colombi put the finishing touch on the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
Many of the Red Raiders’ running plays went towards the sideline and ballcarriers had success turning the corner and getting upfield. Wide receivers Price and Erik Ezukanma scored the team’s second and third touchdowns in the second quarter on sweep plays, sneaking inside the pylon.
Colombi did not have a huge day throwing the ball, but it was not needed. His lone passing touchdown went to Travis Koontz in the third quarter. He finished the day 14/20 for 124 yards.
Smith, a Frenship product, saw his biggest workload of the season, running the ball six times and attempting five passes, four of which were complete. He scored a touchdown in the third quarter, delivering a big hit on his way into the end zone. He passed for 70 yards, 47 of which came on a completion deep down the field to Ezukanma.
Defensively, the Red Raiders were equally as successful. Kansas did not score until 52 seconds remained in the game.
Jayhawk quarterback Jason Bean, whose best trait is running ability, struggled to move the ball through the air. He was intercepted by Dadrion Taylor-Demerson in the second quarter, which led to a Texas Tech field goal. Red Raider defenders got their hands on several other passes and held Bean to 80 passing yards on 21 attempts.
Kansas could make any opponent look good, but the Red Raiders took care of business in a matchup that they struggled with in the first two years of the Matt Wells era. They now sit one win away from bowl eligibility for the first time under Wells with five chances ahead to get that sixth victory.