Texas Tech has played its fair share of important games this season. However, the toughest test is yet to come.
Tech (6-1, 3-1) will look to improve its bowl-eligible record this weekend when Tech travels to Manhattan, Kan., to face the Kansas State Wildcats (6-0, 3-0) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The triple-overtime thriller this past weekend marked the most combined points scored in Tech history.
TCU entered the week ranked 15th in total defense, according to USA Today before surrendering 56 points to the Red Raiders offensive attack.
Senior quarterback Seth Doege said the offense could use a quick polish before heading to Manhattan to face the Wildcats.
“I think we just need to continue get better,” Doege said. “We need to work on our run game and make sure that’s solid going into the weekend. We still need to throw and catch the ball with guys that maybe haven’t like (Austin Zouzalik) and (Alex) Torres, and guys that are going to be big production guys but haven’t been the last five or six weeks.”
Injuries forced senior receivers Zouzalik and Torres into key roles in the victory against the Horned Frogs Saturday.
Zouzalik caught five passes for 55 yards and Torres, who was named Co-offensive Player of the Week for his performance, caught five passes for 53 yards and added two touchdowns including the game-winning touchdown reception in the third overtime.
Doege said he was pleased with the way Tech seemed determined to not leave Amon G. Carter Stadium without a victory.
“We played great, and we had adversity, and we fought back,” he said. “I think that’s huge. I think that showed as a team that we can struggle a little bit, and we’re good enough to beat anybody in this conference.”
Although the Red Raiders did allow 53 points to the Horned Frogs, it was in a winning effort.
Tech’s defense slid down to 34th in total defense, according to USA Today. However, the Red Raiders were able to force a field goal from TCU in their final possession, which eventually propelled Tech to a victory.
Senior safety D.J. Johnson said it is important the Red Raiders forget their performance last week and instead focus on the task at hand.
“We know what our ultimate goal is,” Johnson said. “To come home with that crystal ball. So we take it one day at a time, one game at a time, one play at a time. So for us it’s making sure we stay motivated and have our eyes set. (Kansas) State is the next game in the way of us achieving what we’re trying to accomplish this year.”
Sophomore tight-end Jace Amaro was unable to play this past weekend in Fort Worth because of an injury he suffered during the game against West Virginia.
Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said Amaro’s status remains day-to-day.
“Jace is still bruised up,” he said. “He was in meetings yesterday going through everything, so we’ll just have to wait and see (if) the doctors will eventually release him. But he’s anxious and eager to get back out.
Tuberville said Amaro will practice this week, although there is no timetable for his return.
Senior defensive back Cornelius Douglas also was unable to play in the game against the Horned Frogs because of injury.
Tuberville said although Douglas is getting closer to being ready to play, the coaching staff intends to only put players on the field that are 100 percent healthy.
“Bruce Jones did well,” Tuberville said. “We’re not going to put a corner back out there until he’s a hundred percent healthy. It’s going to be close, but he’s a lot further along than I would have thought last week.”