LAWRENCE, Kan. — It wouldn’t be Texas Tech football, the 2013 version, if Kliff Kingsbury didn’t know from one week to the next who would play quarterback.
Fortunately for the Red Raiders’ coach, he has an array of playmakers on offense and a defense that’s delivered solid performances every week. No. 20 Tech beat Kansas 54-16 Saturday, the down side being freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield’s exit with a knee injury.
That sets up another week of uncertainty at quarterback as Tech (5-0, 2-0 in the Big 12) gets ready to host Iowa State (1-3, 0-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“Next man up,” Kingsbury said. “That’s how this whole season’s been. The defense has played outstanding, and the offense has got rolling a little bit this year. But they’ve been winning games.
“Whoever it is (at quarterback), they’ve just got to step in, and we’ve got a bunch of great playmakers. They’ve just got to keep getting them the ball.”
Kingsbury joined Dell Morgan as the only Tech football coaches to start 5-0 in their debut season.
Kingsbury’s there largely on the strength of what’s been a reliable defense. Tech ranks eighth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 13.8 points per game, and tied for 10th nationally in tackles for loss per game with an average of 8.2.
“We played great (Saturday), but we’ve still got work to do,” said defensive lineman Kerry Hyder, who made 21/2 of Tech’s 10 tackles for loss against Kansas. “We enjoy (beating Kansas on Saturday), but come back ready to work on Monday.”
An update on Mayfield’s status is expected today. The freshman from Lake Travis was forced out of the game late in the third quarter with Tech leading 37-10. Pass-rushing linebacker Schyler Miles was knocked into Mayfield low as he threw a pass, causing the quarterback’s right knee to buckle.
Mayfield had to be helped off the field and then, after trainers checked the injured knee’s stability, Mayfield left the sideline on crutches.
Tech might be getting sophomore quarterback Michael Brewer back at just the right time. Most assumed Brewer would be the starter until he suffered a back injury this summer that sidelined him for the first four games. He played two series late in the game, not throwing a pass.
“It’s great seeing Brewer back out there,” running back Kenny Williams said. “He’s wanted it so bad, and he’s been working hard trying to get back out there. So finally seeing him play a little bit, that puts a smile on my face.”
Mayfield won a battle with freshmen Davis Webb and Clayton Nicholas to be the starting quarterback for the first five games, but other injuries and inconsistency put that starting job in jeopardy the last two games.
Kingsbury said there’s a chance Brewer can reassert himself soon.
“I wouldn’t put it past him,” Kingsbury said. “He’s that type of competitor. He had a great spring, so we’ll see. Whoever it is will end up playing well and scoring points and moving the football.”
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