Texas Tech offense too much for Kansas on Homecoming

Texas Tech running back Desmond Nisby (32) runs for a 47-yard touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Courtesy: KU Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas was unable to solve a potent Texas Tech offense, powered by a rushing attack that gained 313 of 603 total yards, including 161 by senior Justin Stockton and four rushing touchdowns by junior Desmond Nisby, as the Jayhawks fell on Homecoming to the Red Raiders, 65-19.

Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) controlled the game from the opening drive, scoring 21 unanswered points on its first three drives.

A nine-play, 75-yard drive, capped with a 13-yard touchdown run from Stockton gave the Red Raiders their first score with 11:43 remaining in the opening quarter.

Kansas (1-4, 0-2 Big 12) was unable to convert on a fourth-down attempt on its first drive, turning the ball over on downs at the Texas Tech 45. The Red Raiders moved the ball down the field with ease on their ensuing drive, scoring in just 50 seconds after Nisby took the drive’s third play 47 yards to put the Red Raiders ahead by two scores.

Texas Tech added to its lead after another failed fourth-down conversion by the Jayhawks with its second-straight three-play touchdown drive. TTU quarterback Nic Shimonek connected with wide receiver Quan Shorts for a 37-yard touchdown pass, and after a PAT from Michael Barden the Red Raiders held a 21-0 advantage.

A three-and-out from the Jayhawks put the defense back on the field where a sack by junior defensive end Josh Ehambe built needed momentum for the Jayhawks. After three plays, Kansas forced TTU to punt, and junior Khalil Herbert blocked the punt setting up the Jayhawks on their own 28-yard line.

A six-play drive was capped with an 18-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Peyton Bender to junior wide receiver Jeremiah Booker to make the score 21-7 with 19 seconds remaining in the first stanza. The play marked the eighth passing touchdown for Bender this season and Booker’s second receiving score of the year.

Texas Tech answered the Jayhawks’ scoring drive with 14 unanswered points, all by Nisby. An eight-yard rushing touchdown with 13:06 on the clock and another run to the end zone with 5:16 remaining in the second quarter stretched the TTU lead to 35-7.

Kansas sophomore Mike Lee picked off his second pass of the season on Texas Tech’s next drive attempt, which placed Kansas on the Red Raiders’ 27-yard line. Bender connected on a 41-yard pass to junior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., to put Kansas in the red zone, but after three incomplete passes, the Jayhawks were forced to kick a field goal.

Senior kicker Gabriel Rui completed a 21-yard field goal for his seventh made try of the season to bring the score to 35-10 before heading into the locker room.

Kansas started off the second half with a 10-play, 42-yard drive, which resulted in a 41-yard field goal by Rui, which tied a career long for the Hinton, Oklahoma native.

After a missed 44-yard field goal attempt by TTU, Kansas answered with a seven-play, 74-yard drive, which included a 45-yard run by Herbert and concluded with a two-yard rushing touchdown by junior running back Taylor Martin, his second of the season. A mishandled snap on the try after attempt resulted in a failed two-point conversion, making the score 35-19 in favor of the visitors from Lubbock.

Texas Tech closed the game with 30 unanswered points, including Nisby’s fourth rushing touchdown of the game, setting the final score at 65-19.

Splitting time at quarterback, Bender finished the day with 146 yards on 12-for-24 passing, while sophomore Carter Stanley went 11-of-19 with 110 yards passing. Sims led the Kansas receivers with 102 yards on five receptions, while seven other players recorded a catch, including senior tight end Ben Johnson, who hauled in five catches for 55 yards. Herbert finished the day with 65 yards on the ground while Martin picked up 32 yards rushing.

Despite the struggles to stop the Texas Tech attack, the Jayhawks recorded a season-high three sacks, including the first of the season for both Ehambe and fellow junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. Sophomore safety Mike Lee, Armstrong and junior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., each recorded nine total tackles to lead KU.

Kansas will travel to Iowa State for the first of a two-game road swing. The Jayhawks and Cyclones will face off in Ames, Iowa on October 14 at 11 a.m., before Kansas will trek to Fort Worth, Texas to face TCU on October 21.

QUOTES
Kansas head coach David Beaty

Q. Coach, I know you have been preaching the fast starts. You’ve been trying to work on things in the fast start. How discouraging was that, that that was a killer today?
DAVID BEATY: We certainly were looking for a fast start. I don’t think that we got that. We had a point there where we were 21-7. I felt like we had a momentum swing, which was a good thing to see. Every time we would kind of swing that momentum, something would happen that would take it away from us, and that’s the mark of a good team, you know, when you can maintain it, or you take it back.

I thought those guys did a good job of taking it back. They came up here, and they played a great game, put a bunch of yards up, a lot of points, did a pretty good job defensively, and I take my hat off to ’em. They deserved what they got. They came up here and outplayed us, and they beat us. They outcoached us, they outplayed us, the whole shebang.

Q. Speaking of momentum. In that first quarter you have a couple of fourth downs that end up short, couple of reviews, seemingly took forever to play that first quarter. That kind of seemed like it kind of stalled some momentum.
DAVID BEATY: You know, I think the momentum was what it was. I don’t know that those — the reviews — it’s part of our game. I mean, you know, we can look for excuses all we want, but the truth is there are none. They had the same issues that we had, and they handled it better than we did. I thought those guys came out and actually played really, really hard. I mean, I’ve seen improvement in their team, there is no doubt about it.

I thought we had seen some improvement in our team, and disappointing down the stretch there to give up that many yards, give up some points down at the end.

Q. Played both quarterbacks today. Are you in evaluation phase with the two? I know you were looking for opportunities to get Carter Stanley in even before today?
DAVID BEATY: We’re certainly looking to get Carter (Stanley) in there with more opportunities. The game was just kinda going such that Peyton (Bender) didn’t have a great feel in the game today, it didn’t feel like. Carter looked like he had a spark that he was giving us, and we felt like we would go with him this afternoon, and it’s one of those deals where we’re evaluating them every day anyway. It doesn’t matter. You’re only as good as your next. It doesn’t matter who you are.

You would like to have some consistency there but, hey, listen, the truth is, you gotta go with what you see in practice and how they’re progressing and, you know, we started out fairly decently there with Carter, but I don’t think we ended very well.

Q. Any positives you can take out of this one? Is there anything you can look at, at this point in time, fresh off the game and say we can build off that?
DAVID BEATY: It’s hard to look at a positive when the score turns out lopsided. I like the fact that our team, they don’t quit, but other than that, I mean, we still gave up a bunch of points, and we didn’t score a whole lot. That’s a problem. We’ve got to get that fixed.

Alright, guys. Let’s just take questions, and that way I can get to what it is I can help you with.

Q. The hope was Stanley could invigorate the offense, get you guys back in the game?
DAVID BEATY: I said it just a second ago, 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, and we felt like he gave us the best chance at that point.

Q. How critical were the fourth downs early on in the first quarter?
DAVID BEATY: They were critical, because if you convert ’em, you continue the drive, obviously you give yourself a chance to go down there and score, but you give yourself a short field defensively.

Defensively we gave up some points today, but we also had one touchdown that was a scoop and score on a fumble, and then they had some short yardage areas that they had to go in on. Their job is to stop ’em, it doesn’t matter where it is. Our job is to stop ’em defensively, but, you know, we just — we didn’t do a good enough job in any of the phases today, to be able to be successful. They did a much better job than we did. I thought they played well. They outcoached us. They outplayed us. The whole thing?

Q. How many factors do you consider on fourth down whether to go for it or punt?
DAVID BEATY: Well, there’s a lot of analytics out there, and it’s good stuff, it’s really good stuff, and it takes a lot of stuff into account. Those analytics are things that we’ve studied quite a bit here in the off-season, and they’ve been really good to us. We got close on those first couple fourth and 1’s, and if you get ’em, you look pretty smart. When you don’t get em, doesn’t look very good.

Those were really, really close calls. I mean, I didn’t see the review, I don’t know how close it was. I thought we got close, but obviously we didn’t get close enough.

Q. Khalil Herbert looked like he was getting in a groove before he came up hobbled on that longest run?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, hammies kinda tightened up on him on the run. Murph (Murphy Grant) worked on him, tried to get him back to where he could go, just wasn’t worth the risk of popin’ it. He does have a nice run, looked like he was trying to get started there, which was good. I thought our offensive line was starting to do a better job with their gap scheme stuff at that point. I thought they did a good job of handling our gap scheme stuff up front, and when you do that you shut down the run game a little bit.

We kept working at and kept handing it off in there, and when he went out it was obviously a little bit different, but we have capable backs. We should have been able to maintain that.

Q. Given what we saw today, do you anticipate Peyton starting on Saturday?
DAVID BEATY: We’ll have to watch the tape. I mean, it’s going to be a competition, so we’ll see.

Q. Would you evaluate the job that your defensive front did getting to (Nic) Shimonek?
DAVID BEATY: Well, we were much better I thought, you know, probably first half and just a little bit into the third quarter getting pressure, which is something we focused on quite a bit, obviously. We did a good job there. I thought we covered a lot better, too. I mean, we did a nicer job with some of the things that we were doing in our coverages, and that allowed our guys to get to him a little bit more.

There was one big, big, play, that, you know, unfortunately if we could have stayed in the zone back there where he was, then I think we were about to get to him, but that’s why you gotta be disciplined. You can’t leave your zone. We left the zone, it turned into a touchdown.

Q. When you have two weeks to prepare and come out with a start like that, is that especially disappointing?
DAVID BEATY: Tom, I don’t get disappointed. I mean, it’s a job we do, right? We go to the next play. It is what it is. Y’all want me to say “disappointed” a bunch, I’m not going to do it. We’re about our next play, period. Am I happy about the way things turned out? No, I’m not. But, I mean, I’m not ready to flush this thing, I can tell you that. We’re going to be all right. We’ll get back to work tomorrow and we’ll be ready to go.

Q. What kept the offense from getting into a rhythm?
DAVID BEATY: I think the defense on the other side. They did a good job. I thought they did a good job of stopping the run on first down a couple of times that really helped them, and they were mixing their coverages pretty good, and I thought they got a few key knock downs that were good.

You know, honestly, I don’t think we played as good at the quarterback position today as we have maybe over the past few days. We weren’t quite as accurate, timing wasn’t quite as good. I don’t know what caused that. We’ll have to look at the film and see it, but quarterback play is so important to the efficiency of your offense.

Those guys are — they’ve shown that they’re very capable of doing it, so we will we’ll get back to the drawing board tomorrow and get ’em back on track as we go to this next one.

Q. Was it deflating not getting a touchdown right before the half on those second down and third down passes?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, the particularly the last one. I just, you know, I felt like we had a chance to get a touchdown there. That throw I know he wishes he had back. There was an opportunity there. You know, there was a point in there where — I look up and we probably could have been 35-28 had we converted on all those touchdown situations, and now that is disappointing, obviously, that you don’t convert on those. That kills you! You get that close in those situations and we’ve got to score touchdowns. We can’t be kicking field goals or attempting field goals, not against teams like that. They scored 65 points today, and that’s good enough to put you in the top third. I mean, it’s a tough conference when it comes to scoring points. You’ve got to score points. We can’t kick field goals. We’ve gotta be able to put more points on the board.

Q. Iowa State beat Oklahoma today, and you’ve got Iowa State next week.
DAVID BEATY: Difficulty. Man, not a surprise to me when it comes to the fact that — they’ve got some parts now. I think the quarterback is really, really good. I think the line is really, really good. What they do schematically is very, very tough. It’s tough to defend. They do a good job defensively.

Matt (Campbell) does a great job. It’s going to be a challenge for everybody. They’re a good football team. I mean, not a surprise to me because I thought they were up and coming for sure.

Q. Somewhat unconventional to use two different quarterbacks on the same series. What was your thinking and do you practice that at all?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, we did, we did. You know, some of the things that we had called there were obviously some things that played to Carter’s strengths with maybe his run — in the run game there. He’s a little bit better runner, we feel like, than Peyton when it comes to some of the run plays. They have to defend an extra gap there. That makes it tougher on defense, the quarterback run stuff.

Q. Kyle (Mayberry) playing the corner instead of Hasan (Defense). How did you feel that went?
DAVID BEATY: You know, I’ll have to watch the tape. I thought Kyle did some really good things, and there was some times where, you know, I thought maybe he could have played a little bit better in areas. There was one time where they swung a bubble out there, and I didn’t think — he leveraged it pretty well, but he did some good things. He had a really, really good week of practice. Hopefully we can get Hasan back here healthy next week. He’s got mono, so I don’t know how long it’s going to be until we can get him back. It’s not an injury; he’s sick!

So, I mean, hopefully we can get the kid well. It would be nice because it gives us depth at the corner spot. I thought Kyle did a nice job stepping in, though.

Q. Ryan Schadler had more than 100 return yards. Are you able to update his status?
DAVID BEATY: I was worried that — he got hit pretty good on that one, and he was hitting the hole pretty hard. We didn’t use him toward the end there. I don’t know. I’m going to have to check the training room, and he was unavailable there late, so we will see what happened.

Kansas Junior DE Dorance Armstrong Jr.
On going for the quarterbacks:
“We just got there. We executed more than we did earlier in the year and actually finished the play instead of just missing at the end.”

On getting past his guy on the offensive line:
“We got caught peeking in the back field a lot earlier on in the year and going into the bye week last week we got away from that and did what we really wanted to do.”

On getting behind on the scoreboard early again:
“It’s not a good feeling. I don’t know what the issue is with our team, but we have to get that changed.”

On the mood of the team right now:
“There’s a lot of disappointment. You can’t really look at the good things because there are a lot of things that we did that we didn’t really expect to do. We didn’t play to our level like we should be.”

Kansas Sophomore QB Carter Stanley
On how tough it is to work, not knowing when your snaps will come:
“That’s the thing; you’ve really just got to work no matter what. Whether you’re not expected to get any playing time or you start, you have to bring it every day in practice. Every week, just watching film. You’ve got to be ready for your time.”

On having the opportunity to play today:
“It felt good to be out there with the guys. I love this offense. Being out there to run it was a good time today, no doubt. Texas Tech had some great players on defense. I think they had a great game plan. I know we can be better so that hurts a little bit, but (I’m) looking forward to this week.”

On Texas Tech’s opportunistic defense:
“Yes sir, we’ll have to see it on film, but we can definitely be better in the head work.”

On the opportunities to get momentum going in the third quarter and how that turned:
“When it was 35-19 and that defensive player made a good play by getting out, that’s something where I can be better. I threw it a little bit high on Chase (Harrell, sophomore WR) and Chase made a great catch, but that defensive player did a great job of bringing it down and finishing with a touchdown.”

On the team’s mood:
“We know we left a lot out there. We’ll be back out here tomorrow, ready to work and get fired up for next week at Iowa State. (We’ve got) to get a shot to prove ourselves.”

Kansas Junior WR Steven Sims Jr.
On what went well and what can be improved:
“I feel that we could have run the ball better. Offensively, the wide receivers could have played better. As a whole, offensively, we did not play well.”

On disappointment after the lost:
“No, I’m not disappointed, we just have to play better.”

On describing the feelings after the loss:
“It is something that we need to learn from and just keep on moving forward. We can’t dwell on the past.”

On if there is progress:
“I do see progress. We just have to keep working every day and the rest will handle itself.”

Kansas Junior QB Peyton Bender
On staying positive despite not playing in the second half:
“I was ready to go back in but that is not my call. The coaches are going to do what’s best for the team, and today that was going with Carter. I’m not discouraged. It makes me want to work even harder this week to make sure I put myself in the best position to succeed.”

On Carter Stanley’s performance:
“Yeah I thought he played fine. He had a few big plays in there that sparked the offense. We had a few good drives going out of the third quarter. Went down and kicked the field goal and then (Taylor) Martin scored the touchdown. We got the ball back, down 16. Then Chase Harrell gets the ball ripped out on a weird play. Then Carter throws a good ball to Steven down the sideline. We are going into score again and the pass gets intercepted. You take those two plays away and you are looking at a potential one-score game.”

On if he expects to start next week:
“I have no clue right now. I haven’t discussed it with the coaches at all but I’m going to do the same things I have been doing all year, this week in practice.”

Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury
On how pleased he was with the running game, especially sophomore DB Desmon Smith:
“We needed to improve in that area. Last week it really hurt us not being able to consistently run the ball versus boxes that we should have been able to run into. So that was good to see; when they gave us the opportunity to run it, we moved bodies and those guys did a good job of finishing runs.”

On the defensive and fourth-down stops early:
“Yeah, that’s huge. I really like how each side of the football is playing off of each other, rising up at the same time. All the turnovers, all the big stops, it feeds our offense. And when our offense scores, it feeds our defense. And that’s when you can really start having some success.”

On not letting Kansas have an opportunity to get back into the game:
“A few times this year we let teams get back in it and this was a time that we didn’t. We had a big lead; at the beginning of the second half they tried to come back and on defense, we turned them over and we got that big interception on a fumble recovery for a touchdown. So that slipped the tide back (to TTU’s favor) and it was encouraging to see. When we had a chance to finish it, we finished it.”

On if the team believes it can get turnovers when it needs to:
“That was our emphasis all offseason. With all of the players we had coming back, and some of the new talent we had coming in, we’ve got to take people away. Last year we had 13, last in the Big 12. We wanted to go from worst to first and that’s what we are working on.”

On what the difference was today in the team’s run game:
“Just growth, I think, as an unit. They [Kansas] have a pretty good defense line, a couple of guys that could play from anybody up there. But I think this was only the second game, last week (being the first), that this group of five guys have played together. So we’ve just got to gel and keep getting better up front. It (TTU’s run game) was improved. Next week will be a tougher challenge, (when we go) up against West Virginia. We’ve struggled against them, so we’ll have to continue getting better.”

On if the team is able to put a loss aside to come out and play the next week:
“I hope so, I hope so. I like where their heads have been each week. They’ve competed to win the game, and they come out with a lot of fight. We’ve got to keep that going as we head into this second half of our season.”

Texas Tech Senior RB Justin Stockton
On creating own energy and start as a team:
“Yes sir it was very important, we had to start fast, defense was doing their best abilities and offense had the chance to go down there and score and we did.”

On offensive line getting better as season progresses:
“Give credit to those guys cause they’re down there in the trenches, all of the thanks to them and the receivers on the outside doing their part on the outside. When we get the opportunity to let them ball we’ve got to take full advantage of it.”

On clicking as a team, and knowing when it was going to be a special day:
“I wouldn’t necessarily say clicking for me but as a team in general before we even came out to play we were already fired up for the day.”

On help of defensive stops for both offense and defense:
“We had to create our own energy on the sidelines, and once we did that whether it was offense or defense on the field we would just feed off of each other and bounce back off of each other and just get it done.”

Texas Tech Junior DL Kolin Hill
On feeling of how the defensive line played:
“I feel like as a D-line we played great today, we had a few mistakes but I feel like our sideline communication is very good so when we were on the sideline and coming back onto the field we executed.”

On key of winning turnover battle
“Well last year we weren’t getting any turnovers, so it’s definitely a good feeling whenever defense is scoring on defense.”

Texas Tech Junior DB Jah’Shawn Johnson

On difference today after slow starts:
“We have just been preparing the same way each week, we knew we had been starting slow in the past but it was a new opportunity to start fast and we did that this week and hopefully we can do that again next week.”

On difference of turnovers this season:
“Definitely, we knew coming into the season we wanted to go from worst to first, so we’ve been doing a great job so far, we know we gotta get some next week, we have to get our offense back with the ball with short field when we go to West Virginia next week. It’ll be a pretty physical game, we know their fans are pretty loud and crazy, but we’ve got to stick together and get some turnovers and make some plays.”

On feeling of win and score difference than years in the past against Kansas:
“We were happy about it, still came out in the second half we started a little slow, we wanted to put the game away fairly early but they had a couple great drives on offense and defensively to start the second half so we’ll clean that up and move on to next week but we were pleased with the win.”

On help of the front seven:
“A huge help, just waking up the next day, my body isn’t feeling as bad, but they’ve done a great job clogging up gaps and the linebackers have done a great job defending off of the D-line and you don’t even see much of what they do but they take up a lot of blockers for us on the back end so credit to those guys.”

Texas Tech RS Sophomore DB Justus Parker

On scoring on the fumble recovery:
“Just dropping in coverage, turned, ran towards the ball, we work on getting the ball and stripping it every single day at practice, it’s what our defense does, it’s our identity is getting the ball, so all I was thinking about was stripping the ball and getting it out and when it was out and just had to score with it.”

On mentality of defense:
“I mean that’s completely Coach Gibbs, it’s what he puts into our head every single day at practice, it’s what he does, it’s what his defenses do, and it’s what we do.”

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