Kansas knows what to expect from Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek when the Red Raiders visit Saturday. The Jayhawks got a preview of Shimonek last year when he threw for four touchdowns in less than a half in relief of injured Patrick Mahomes.
Shimonek is now the Texas Tech starter and ranks second nationally with 394.5 passing yards to go with 12 touchdowns. “He’s interesting because he escapes, he scrambles, he does some kind of chaotic things, but he always finds a receiver and he can get the ball thrown in some odd positions,” Kansas coach David Beaty told the media. “Man, he’s a handful.” Shimonek’s top target Keke Coutee is questionable after a knee injury knocked him out in the third quarter of last week’s loss against Oklahoma State. Texas Tech is plus-7 in turnover margin — ranked seventh nationally — with 10 takeaways while the Jayhawks are at minus-5.
TV: Noon ET, FS1. LINE: Texas Tech -14.5.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (3-1, 0-1 Big 12): Shimonek is completing 70.8 percent of his passes for 1,578 yards while Coutee (31 catches for 499 yards, four TDs) is second in the Big 12 in receiving yards per game. Four other receivers have at least 15 catches, including Cameron Batson’s 25 receptions for 248 yards and Dylan Cantrell’s 20 catches for 296 yards and three scores. Lineman Tony Jones has three of the Texas Tech takeaways - recovering two fumbles and an interception - for a defense allowing 30 points per game.
ABOUT KANSAS (1-3, 0-1): Sophomore Khalil Herbert (438 yards) has four rushing touchdowns in his last two games while moving up to the Big 12’s second-leading rusher. Peyton Bender has thrown for 1,227 yards with seven interceptions and seven touchdowns — including three to Steven Sims (team-high 16 catches for 298 yards). Linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. is second nationally with 13 tackles per game — including nine tackles for loss — while the Jayhawks give up 39.8 points and 482 yards.
1. Kansas is 10-of-12 on fourth-down conversions and 16-of-17 in the red zone.
2. WRs Ja’Deion High (four catches for 51 yards this season) and Antoine Wesley (four catches for 47 yards) filled in for the injured Coutee last week.
3. Texas Tech leads the series 17-1 and has won 10 straight against Kansas by an average of 19.2 points.
PREDICTION: Texas Tech 45, Kansas 27