Freshman Baker Mayfield will be Texas Tech’s starting quarterback Saturday at Kansas, Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday.
“We’re 4-0 with (Mayfield) as a starter, and that’s really where we’re at,” Kingsbury said. “So we’ll let him cut it loose and see. I think he’s healthy for the first time in about three weeks, completely healthy, and has looked really sharp in practice. So we’re excited to see him play.”
Mayfield has started every game, but he left the TCU game in the fourth quarter with a bruised thigh and played only five of 15 series against Texas State. Fellow freshman Davis Webb came in and threw the game-winning touchdown pass against TCU and entered in the second quarter against Texas State when Mayfield seemed to be injured and not that effective.
“Baker earned the starting spot with what he did in camp, and then played really well the first two weeks and played a really good TCU defense (in game three),” Kingsbury said. “The last week, he wasn’t very healthy, and I think it showed. So I’m excited to see him healthy again, and we’ll see what he can do.”
Kingsbury said sophomore quarterback Michael Brewer will be able to do some on-field work this week as he awaits clearance from his back injury.
“He’s good,” Kingsbury said. “He’s good. He’s not officially cleared yet but we’re going to start working him back into some drills and see how it goes.”
Texas Tech’s Oct. 12 home game against Iowa State on Monday was set for an 11 a.m. kickoff with television coverage by Fox Sports 1. That means the Red Raiders will face morning starts two games in a row.
Tech faces Kansas in an 11 a.m. game for the second year in a row.
“I like it,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “You get there, you don’t have to sit around the hotel, and you get going. I’m excited about it, and I hope our team feels the same way.”
The Red Raiders’ first four games this season were night games.
“It’s a little different than we’re accustomed to,” junior wide receiver Bradley Marquez said. “We’ve had these six o’clock games these last four games, and we’ve just gotten into a routine. They’ll change it up a little bit. But I think we’re more mature as a team now where we can overcome that and have that not affect us this time around.”
Lowlight against KU
The Red Raiders are 13-1 all-time against Kansas, dating back to 1965.
Tech’s only loss was a 34-31 double-overtime setback in 2001 in Lubbock.
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was the starting quarterback that night, though B.J. Symons replaced him in the fourth quarter when Kingsbury had a sprained thumb.
“I appreciate you bringing that up,” Kingsbury said.
When asked if he used that loss as a coaching tool to get his players focused on the task at hand, Kingsbury said he didn’t need to.
“Our guys have a chip on their shoulder,” he said of his team. “They picked us eighth and ninth all year. So we’re not worried about any game past this. We know this is a huge challenge for us and we’ll go in there and play our best.”
After not playing last week, Tech advanced four spots to No. 20 in The Associated Press Top 25.
“Yeah, we need more bye weeks,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury joked. “We’d be top 10 in about three weeks without playing. I don’t know how that works, but hey, it’s part of the deal I guess.”
Notre Dame and Wisconsin, previously ranked No. 22 and No. 23, dropped from the poll after their losses to Oklahoma and Ohio State, respectively.
Too many flags
Texas Tech is averaging nine penalties for 85 yards per game and ranks No. 119 and No. 120 in the nation in those categories.
When asked back-to-back questions about what the team could do to improve its red-zone efficiency and what it could do to help the freshmen quarterbacks, wide receiver Bradley Marquez’s first suggestion was to cut down on the penalties.
“I think the biggest thing is we need to minimize our penalties because we’re getting positive yards,” Marquez said. “We’ve had 30-yard runs, even touchdowns, getting called back for holding calls and things that we’re doing to ourselves. That’s setting us up in bad positions for first-and-20s and things of that nature.”
Focusing on receiving fewer penalties isn’t a practice that is limited to game day.
During workouts, penalties are called and punishments are enforced.
“Yeah, we do have somebody (calling penalties),” Marquez said. “We do have consequences of when we do get penalties — that we have to run or whatever (it) may be that day. So we’re definitely trying to emphasize that and want to cut that down. It’s one of our focuses.”
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said OG Beau Carpenter should return this week from an ankle injury for the first time since he was hurt in the season opener. SS J.J. Gaines, OLB Austin Stewart and OG Alfredo Morales are questionable. “We’re going to try to get them out there, get them some reps and see,” Kingsbury said. “But I wouldn’t say any of those guys are certain yet.”
Compiled by Krista Pirtle