LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – Kansas coach Charlie Weis knows exactly how long it will have been since the Jayhawks last won a Big 12 game when they face No. 20 Texas Tech on Saturday.
He made sure to remind his team this week.
“As of this Saturday it will be 1,063 days since Kansas football won a game against a Big 12 opponent,” Weis said Tuesday, “and if we exclude Colorado, who is no longer in the Big 12, it will actually be 1,455 days. I have those numbers down.”
The Jayhawks have lost their last 21 conference games dating to a win over the Buffaloes in 2010 under former coach Turner Gill. Their last victory over a league opponent that’s still in the Big 12 was two coaches ago — Mark Mangino led them past Iowa State on Oct. 10, 2009.
The Jayhawks nearly ended that streak on a couple of occasions last season, including in their game against the Red Raiders. Kansas rallied to force overtime, then double overtime, before Eric Stephens tossed a 3-yard TD pass out of the Wildcat formation to give Texas Tech a 41-34 win.
It was the 13th time in 14 games that Texas Tech (4-0) has beaten Kansas (2-1). The lone loss came in 2001, when current coach Kliff Kingsbury was the Red Raiders’ quarterback.
“I appreciate you bringing that up,” Kingsbury said. “It’s always tough there to play. You look at their track record at home and it will be a very good challenge for our team.”
Texas Tech is trying to start 5-0 for the first time since 2008, and a win would allow Kingsbury to join Dell Morgan as the only coaches in school history to win their first five games.
As Kingsbury and the Red Raiders try to keep a dream start to their season going, and Kansas tries to end a long Big 12 losing streak, here are five things to keep in mind:
FAMILIAR FOES: Weis and Kingsbury should be plenty familiar with each other. Weis was the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots when Kingsbury was starting out in the NFL. Kingsbury’s career never took off, and Weis eventually left the NFL for Notre Dame. Kingsbury was hired by his alma mater this season, while Weis is in his second season with the Jayhawks. “He was one of the best game planners I’ve ever been around on a week-to-week basis,” Kingsbury said. “I learned a lot of X’s and O’s.”
MAYFIELD THE MAN: Walk-on quarterback Baker Mayfield will start for Texas Tech, even though he was replaced by fellow freshman Davis Webb in a win over Texas State two weeks ago. Mayfield won the job with Michael Brewer recovering from a back injury. “Baker earned the starting spot with what he did in camp,” Kingsbury said. “The last week he wasn’t very healthy, and I think it showed. So I’m excited to see him healthy again.”
AIR IT OUT: Kansas is still trying to get its passing game on track behind Jake Heaps, the former high-profile recruit who transferred from BYU. Heaps threw for a season-high 279 yards and a touchdown in a 13-10 victory over Louisiana Tech two weeks ago. “We’ve gotten a chance to be comfortable with one another,” Heaps said of his wide receivers. “We have that in-game experience. We continue to work on it in practice, and last game was a great development.”
AIR IT OUT, PART 2: The Red Raiders have embraced the aerial acrobatics of former coach Mike Leach. Mayfield and Webb have combined to throw for more than 1,600 yards in four games, and will be going against a Kansas defensive backfield that’s entirely new. “We’re adjusting well to their tempo,” Jayhawks safety Cassius Sendish said. “We’re going to respect it to the point where whoever they put out there, we’re going to line up and put our best against them.”
RISE AND SHINE: Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT. It’s the second straight game that the Jayhawks will start before noon, but will be a major departure for Texas Tech, which has played four night games. “It’s a little different than what we’re accustomed to,” Red Raiders wide receiver Bradley Marquez said. “But I think we’re more mature as a team now where we can overcome that and have that not affect us.”
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