Texas Tech and Iowa State are starting to hit their stride, and both carry a two-game win streak into their meeting on Saturday. This one will take place at Jack Trice Stadium, where just two weeks ago the Cyclones shocked the 6th ranked Mountaineers. Iowa State had a bye last week, while the Red Raiders had about as close to a bye as you can get while still playing a game; they defeated Kansas at home.
The Red Raiders are starting to play some defense down in Lubbock, while the Cyclones have been doing it for a long time and doing it pretty well. Both teams are successful because of the play of freshman quarterbacks who have burst onto the scene. Despite two very different styles of play these teams have a lot in common and this will be a must see matchup.
Iowa State Cyclones [3-3, 2-2]
Iowa State is coming off a huge upset over West Virginia and it was an all around domination of the Mountaineers. The offense has a newfound trio of stars in Brock Purdy, David Montgomery, and Hakeem Butler. Those three took center stage in their last win and the Cyclones offense is no longer mediocre like it was with Zeb Noland and Kyle Kempt under center. Montgomery rushed all over WVU totaling 189 yards and a touchdown. Iowa State only put up 30 points but they totaled 498 yards. Purdy threw for 254 of those yards and threw for three touchdowns. He was in control all night and the Cyclones really did look unstoppable.
The defense was lights out as well. West Virginia put up seven offensive points, 152 yards, and only 11 completions. The Mountaineers averaged 1.9 yards per carry and Grier got sacked seven times. Greg Eisworth went off and the whole group of defensive backs as a unit played well. Mountaineer receivers were never open and rushing three created coverage sacks. Eisworth is the team leader in tackles and will make plenty of plays on Saturday as well. Braxton Lewis and Willy Harvey also are among the tops in tackles. Lewis had four solo tackles and eight total tackles last week.
The Cyclones are 38th in the country giving up about 23 points a game. Iowa State looks different though, Purdy woke this whole team up and despite being .500 right now they seem to be one of the better teams in the Big 12. This team is really good, a revamped Cyclones squad is hard to pick against and looking at the roster, there’s a lot more talent than a 3-3 record would indicate.
Texas Tech Red Raiders [5-2, 3-1]
Texas Tech is coming off two straight wins and is sitting at 5-2 and receiving votes in the AP poll. This team is scary good and it all starts with freshman quarterback Alan Bowman. The young gun slinger came off a collapsed lung last week and only threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns, light work. He reunited with his main man Antwon Weasley who had nine catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. The running back by committee idea has been working this season. Six running backs have over 100 rushing yards this year with Ta’Zhawn Henry being the team leader in that category.
It’s the defense where this team has improved. Think of all those insane Pat Mahomes Texas Tech teams, now imagine if they had a respectable defense. That would be insane, and that could be what happens down the stretch. Texas Tech held TCU to 14 points and Kansas to 9 before a last second garbage touchdown. Dakota Allen has lived up to the hype this year and has led the defense to surprise some people.
Ever since the second half of the West Virginia game the defense has played unreal. Texas Tech gives up about 26 points a game and they score 43, that’s a pretty favorable margin. Texas Tech is finally starting to play some defense and it’s making a huge difference and putting them in the conference championship race but if they want to stay there it means they need to win this one.
Keys To The Game For The Cyclones
Let Purdy Sling It – The Cyclones offense has taken off behind the play of freshman Brock Purdy. Through two games he has a 75% completion percentage, so let him throw the ball. David Montgomery is a top caliber running back but Texas Tech shut down the run game recently and has been playing well. The Red Raiders will always have a disadvantage in the secondary and Iowa State needs to exploit that. If Purdy can throw the ball 35 plus times this game I think Iowa State wins pretty easily.
Defense Needs To Keep It Up – Iowa State shut down one of the nations best offenses in West Virginia their last time out. The Mountaineers only scored seven offensive points and that was because of the field position after a Purdy interception. West Virginia totaled 152 yards of total offense and was 1-10 on third down. The Cyclones had a great scheme and coverage that resulted in a lot of coverage sacks. Iowa State needs to keep that up against another challenging offense in Texas Tech led by Alan Bowman.
Limit Possessions – While the Cyclones offense has found a rhythm, they still are at a disadvantage in that field against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders offense is insane like always and the more possessions they get the more they score. Iowa State could use a couple five minute scoring drives to get points and take some clock off. Iowa State isn’t going to win this game 50-49 but a 30-29 score is much more reasonable, as long as the play conservative with the clock.
Keys To The Game For The Red Raiders
Let Bowman Throw Loose – The Cyclone’s defense played West Virginia so well because Grier couldn’t get any rhythm going. Bowman needs to establish his arm early and make Iowa State drop eight, which will open up the run game. I would like to see Bowman take shots in one-on-one coverage and let his receivers make a play. Bowman can prove his worth in this one.
Bring Pressure On Defense – Purdy had plenty of time to find something against the Mountaineers, Texas Tech can’t let that happen again. He is just a freshman and let’s make him make some quick decisions. The Red Raiders are not talented enough in the back end to let Purdy look through his progressions and make a decision with confidence, they need to rush six or seven a lot and make him uncomfortable.
Weather The Environment – The Iowa State fans are unreal, they were 2-3 before the WVU game and the place was still packed and got rowdy. That can be expected again and Texas Tech can’t let it get to them. That starts with getting ahead early, and that most likely coincides with letting Bowman sling it. If Texas Tech can quiet the crowd and the carry over momentum Iowa State has than this game becomes a true toss up.
If this game was played last week I think the Cyclones could be a little flat footed following their upset win, that’s not the case and I think the bye week has them locked in. Texas Tech is red hot and their defense has been giving up an average of 15 points the last 2 games. Bowman versus Purdy should be really fun but I think the Cyclones are getting better offensively and have a big defensive advantage. Cyclones in a close one.