From week-to-week, Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege has been lighting up defense after defense with 300 plus-yard passing performances, with big touchdown numbers to boot.
The Kansas State defense allowed Doege to reach the 300-yard mark on Saturday, but it attacked him often, leading to rushed passes, two sacks and two turnovers.
The Texas Tech quarterback lit up the Wildcats in the first drive of the game with 70 passing yards and the first of his two touchdowns, but K-State held him at bay the rest of the way in a 55-24 win.
Both Ryan Mueller and Meshak Williams recorded sacks for the Wildcats, while Williams forced a fumble that was recovered by Jarell Childs and Arthur Brown intercepted Doege and returned it for a touchdown.
K-State coach Bill Snyder thought his team did a good job creating pressure.
“I think the quality quarterbacks we have, pressure becomes vital,” he said. “I think our guys did a decent job of that — only got two sacks today — but we had some rushes that caused some errant throws and gave us an opportunity.”
Doege still had his big day, completing 35-of-50 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns, but the Wildcats defense ultimately prevailed.
K-State junior safety Ty Zimmerman said the team was prepared for another tough matchup with a strong offense, after facing West Virginia’s potentially-electric offense last week.
“We talked about, after our performance last week, that we were going to face another good offense, that we had to come out and do it again,” he said. “That’s what good defenses do.”
The Red Raiders spent much of their time in the first half driving across midfield into K-State territory. But past the first drive of the game, the Wildcats found ways each time to push them back, holding them to a field goal for the remainder of the half.
Mueller said it took some time for the defense to adjust to Texas Tech’s quick, short passes.
“They were throwing a lot of quick passes, and for our defensive line to have an effect on it we had to run to the ball,” he said. “I felt like we did that once we got a feel for what they were trying to do.”
The Red Raiders went to screens and slants early in the game, but as the defense started to hold those plays to short gains, Doege and his receivers looked to open it up to longer passes. That didn’t work well either.
And after some adjustments, the K-State defense came out in the second half and put it to the Texas Tech quarterback.
“In the first half we kind of struggled there for a little bit,” Zimmerman said. “(We) made some halftime adjustments, came out in the second half and did a great job.”
Mueller, who recorded one of the two sacks and finished with a broken up pass on a screen play, said some pointers from defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements opened up opportunities to put pressure on Doege.
“They were great, but our coach, coach Clements, gave us some good tips throughout the week to take advantage of during the game,” he said. “We did exactly that and got after the quarterback.”
The opening drives’ 32-yard score from Texas Tech was the longest offensive play the Wildcats have allowed this season in Big 12 Conference play. But the Red Raiders never went for more than 15 yards on a play for the rest of the game.
Zimmerman said as the season has progressed, there have been some varying factors that kept the defense grinding from game to game.
“If you want to be the best, you’ve got to continue to grind it out,” he said. “We’ve got so many fans and people behind us that are counting on us, it just gives us extra confidence and extra motivation to keep going at it.”