If it was up to Seth Doege, he'd be flinging the ball all over the field on Saturday. After all, that's what quarterbacks at Texas Tech have been doing for years.

     If it was up to Seth Doege, he'd be flinging the ball all over the field on Saturday. After all, that's what quarterbacks at Texas Tech have been doing for years.

     Given the opponent, he might not bother warming up his strong right arm.

     The Red Raiders (3-0) open Big 12 play on the road against a Kansas team two weeks removed from a 66-24 meltdown against Georgia Tech, one in which the Jayhawks allowed 604 yards rushing and an astounding 12.1 yards per carry, breaking an NCAA record that had stood since 1973.

     "I feel good about our running game," Doege said. "I feel that in the years in the past, that if the passing game wasn't on point, then we were kind of in a hole offensively."

     That sure isn't the case anymore.

     The Red Raiders haven't abandoned the pass-happy offense that Mike Leach pioneered, but coach Tommy Tuberville has added a run element that helps keep defenses off balance.

     That proved to be particularly important last week against Nevada, when Doege took a bunch of shots from a defense trying to slow him down. Eric Stephens wound up carrying the ball 26 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and the Red Raiders escaped with a 35-34 victory.

     "We'll throw first, run second, but we are going to take what they give us," Tuberville said. "We're not saying every game we are going to throw it no matter what you do. You just don't do that."

     Not anymore.

     The Red Raiders haven't had a running back who could threaten 1,000 yards rushing in a season since Ricky Williams in 1998. But already this year, Stephens has twice eclipsed 100 yards in a game, and he's on pace for 1,376 yards — a total that would just surpass Byron Hanspard's 1995 season for the fifth-best in school history.

     The junior from Mansfield, Texas, also has 10 catches for 93 yards and five touchdowns, which has helped to take some of the pressure of Doege in the Red Raiders' unique offense.

     "It has a lot to do with us having an entire line back," Stephens said. "For us to have everyone back, it helped us get off to a quicker start than what we did last year and the previous years."

     The Jayhawks (2-1) figured to have a tough enough task stopping Doege, who was pressed into duty because of injuries two years ago and led Texas Tech to a 42-21 victory over them.

     Now, factor in a ground game hitting its stride and Kansas has plenty to worry about.

     "We have to make more plays as far as turnovers and special teams go, and we cannot allow them to have big plays in any phase," second-year coach Turner Gill said. "We have to be the ones that are making big plays, because I think if we do that, then we will be on top."

     The Jayhawks did that in their first two games, winning shootouts against McNeese State and Northern Illinois. But even then the defense didn't have much to do with victory.

     Kansas ranks dead last nationally in rush defense, allowing more than 280 yards per game, and total defense (550 yards). The defensive backfield allows nearly 270 yards per game, which ranks 102nd out of 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

     "I just feel like our defense isn't playing to our ability," linebacker Darius Willis said. "If we just do what we can do, we can make a lot of things that are difficult seem not so difficult."

     Like stopping the Texas Tech offense, for example.

     "They're just as good as they've been in the past," Gill said. "They always have a quarterback that's very, very efficient throwing the football. I think the one difference with this year's team is they can run, and be very successful running."