Cats looking to limit Tech’s big-play attack

By Joel Jellison

The Texas Tech offense might not be as daunting as Baylor’s, but it’s another well-oiled passing machine that Kansas State has to deal with this weekend.

The Red Raiders rank second in the country at 414 passing yards a game, just behind Baylor, and seventh in total yards a game at 538.

K-State coach Bill Snyder said the Texas Tech offense will be similar to some his Wildcats have faced this season. But it will also have its differences.

Notably, with what Snyder refers to as gadget plays or trick plays. Tech ran several against Oklahoma two weeks ago, as it worked to come from behind in a 38-30 loss to the Sooners.

Snyder said when you play the Red Raiders, you have to be ready for anything.

“They spread you out and try to find open areas,” Snyder said. “They have a multitude, just a plethora of offense and things that they can do. One of the big concerns is what we call gadgets or their trick plays, and those are just part of their offense. Some people make it unique and others just make it part of what they do, and for them it just part of what they do.

“They’re going to put something on the field that might considered trick plays by some, but it is just part of their system.”

The Red Raiders are scoring 39.1 points a game, ranking 19th nationally.

K-State linebacker Jonathan Truman said the defense knows it could have its hands full with the Red Raiders.

“This offense is very talented and very dynamic,” he said. “This game is going to be a challenge and we are willing to step up and accept the challenge.”

Although it hasn’t done it as much, Texas Tech does have the ability to run the ball. More for change-of-pace purposes, the Red Raiders have rushed for 124.2 yards a game and have scored 16 of their 40 offensive touchdowns on the ground.

Both De Williams and Kenny Williams have more than 80 rushes this season and have gone for more the 300 yards on the ground.

K-State safety Dante Barnett said the fact that Tech can run is something that has stood out to them on film.

“They use the pass, a lot,” he said. “They want to make big plays down field, but they’re not scared to run the ball either.”

One of their biggest weapons is 6-foot-5, 200-pound wide receiver/tight end Jace Amaro, who leads Tech with a Big 12-best 79 catches for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns.

Amaro is a do-it-all type of player, Snyder said.

“They tell me he’s about a 4.6 guy, and that is pretty good for the kind of size that he has,” he said. “If you never saw him and just looked at the numbers, you would realize there has got to be an issue there. What did he have, 15 catches last week and leads the conference in receptions?

“He is very physical after he catches the ball as well. He presents major problems to anybody, I think, and they are the obvious ones. Where he is really dangerous is when he is advancing the ball up field. He is a really big guy working against smaller secondary players, so if he makes those catches, he is pretty physical after the catch.”

The Cats’ focus on Saturday will likely be to limit the Red Raiders’ high-powered attack to fewer big plays. Tech’s offense has 30 plays this season that have gone for more than 30 yards. K-State allowed Baylor, Oklahoma State and West Virginia to put up seven plays of 30 yards or more — Baylor doing the most damage with four of those going for touchdowns.

A week ago, Iowa State’s longest play from scrimmage a 16-yard pass. Not bad. But this is Texas Tech.

“For a team that is coming off of throwing the ball 70 times in a ballgame and taking 100-plus snaps, then you know they are going to cast the ball down field,” he said. “It’s not always those deep throws. It can be those 5-yard throws that result in 80 yard plays.”

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