Texas Tech piled up a whole bunch of points against Kansas on Saturday.
Nothing new there.
The Red Raiders did most of their work on the ground, though, their high-flying offense under coach Kliff Kingsbury showing remarkable balance in a 65-19 rout of the hapless Jayhawks.
That was something rather unexpected.
Desmond Nisby ran for 94 yards and four touchdowns. Justin Stockton had a career-best 161 yards and another score. And the Red Raiders (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) piled up 313 yards rushing in cruising to their 11th consecutive victory over the Jayhawks dating to an overtime loss in 2001.
“We needed to improve that area. Last week it really hurt us not being able to run the ball,” said Kingsbury, whose team bounced back from an agonizing 41-34 loss to No. 15 Oklahoma State.
“When they gave us an opportunity,” he added, “we were moving bodies.”
Nic Shimonek still threw for 233 yards and two scores, and Justus Parker picked off two passes and returned one for a score, to keep the Red Raiders perfect in 10 tries in Lawrence.
“We knew it was very important to start fast,” Stockton said. “When the offense has a chance to go down there and score, you have to put points on the board.”
Neither team ever got into rhythm, thanks in large part to nine video reviews called for by Big 12 officials. Six came in the first quarter — including three in a five-play stretch — which made referee Eddy Shelton more unpopular among Kansas fans than anyone on the Texas Tech sideline.
Kansas (1-4, 0-2) trailed 35-7 midway through the second quarter before slowly clawing back, spurred on by a change in quarterback from Peyton Bender to Carter Stanley. The two shared snaps early in the game, but Bender was ineffective and Stanley’s moxie seemed to energize the offense.
“Peyton looked like he was struggling a little bit with his command, and Carter looked like — when he was in there, he made a couple decent throws,” Kansas coach David Beaty said.
“We just felt like he gave us the best chance at that point.”
But after getting within 35-19 on Taylor Martin’s touchdown run in late in the third quarter, and forcing a quick fumble, the Jayhawks gave the momentum right back. Stanley’s pass was tipped and picked, and Shimonek hit Keke Coutee with a quick touchdown pass to restore order.
Coutee had eight catches for 87 yards, while Quan Shorts and Derrick Willies also had TD grabs.
Stanley finished with 110 yards passing, while Bender — who had beaten out last year’s starter in fall camp — was 12 of 24 for 146 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The Red Raiders’ win streak against Kansas is their longest against a Big 12 foe, and very few of the meetings have been close. Their average margin of victory is more than 21 points, and the 65 points on Saturday surpassed their previous best against Kansas of 63 set in 2008.
“A few times this year we let teams get back in it,” Kingsbury said. “That was encouraging to see, when we had a chance to finish it, we finished it.”
Beaty on whether he was disappointed in the performance after having last week off: “I don’t get disappointed. I mean, it’s a job we do, right? We go to the next play. I mean, it is what it is. Y’all want me to say ‘disappointed’ a bunch, and I’m not going to do it.”
Texas Tech has prioritized forcing turnovers after struggling in that category a year ago, and so far it has paid off. The Red Raiders came into the game with a Big 12-leading plus-seven turnover margin, and they added two interceptions and two fumble recoveries against the Jayhawks.
Kansas couldn’t overcome a litany of mistakes: The Jayhawks were twice stuffed on fourth-and-1 in the first quarter, their two picks came at inopportune times, their defense missed a slew of tackles and running back Khalil Herbert — who had 291 yards rushing two weeks ago against West Virginia — only had 10 carries for 65 yards before departing with an injury in the third quarter.
Texas Tech plays the second of three October road games Saturday at No. 23 West Virginia.
Kansas heads to Iowa State on Saturday for the first of back-to-back road games.
TT—Stockton 13 run (Barden kick), 11:43
TT—Nisby 47 run (Barden kick), 8:34
TT—Shorts 37 pass from Shimonek (Barden kick), 4:59
KAN—Booker 18 pass from Bender (Rui kick), :19
TT—Nisby 8 run (Barden kick), 13:06
TT—Nisby 1 run (Barden kick), 5:16
KAN—FG Rui 21, :14
KAN—FG Rui 41, 11:07
KAN—T.Martin 2 run (run failed), 5:49
TT—Parker 20 fumble return (Barden kick), 3:44
TT—Coutee 40 pass from Shimonek (kick failed), 1:30
TT—Nisby 15 run (Cluck kick), 12:23
TT—FG Cluck 26, 8:37
TT—Willies 32 pass from Carter (Cluck kick), 3:52
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Texas Tech, Stockton 15-161, Nisby 11-93, King 10-40, Felton 4-31, Carter 4-14, Shorts 1-5, (Team) 3-(minus 11), Shimonek 4-(minus 20). Kansas, Herbert 10-65, T.Martin 14-32, Sims 1-8, Stanley 6-5, De.Thompson 2-2.
PASSING—Texas Tech, Shimonek 19-24-1-233, Carter 3-3-0-57. Kansas, Bender 12-24-1-146, Stanley 11-19-1-110.
RECEIVING—Texas Tech, Coutee 8-87, Shorts 4-76, Stockton 2-33, Cantrell 2-26, Batson 2-9, Willies 1-32, Robinson 1-19, Wesley 1-6, Reed 1-2. Kansas, Sims 5-102, B.Johnson 5-55, Harrell 4-27, Booker 3-39, Hampton 2-17, T.Martin 2-3, Schadler 1-7, Herbert 1-6.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Texas Tech, Barden 44.