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2018 Season

Iowa State Scores Late To Take The Win Against Texas Tech; Our Takeaways

Big 12 defense was on display in Ames, but in the end, the Cyclone’s big-play ability was too much for the Red Raiders. #WreckEm #Cyclones

An under-the-radar-game with big Big 12 implications went down to the wire between Texas Tech and Iowa State in Ames. Texas Tech, with just one conference loss going into the game, had a clear path to the Big 12 Title game, while Iowa State has an outside shot at the Title as well following their big win over West Virginia.

Texas Tech jumped out to an early 10-0 lead with a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown and a field goal, but the Cyclones won the second quarter. The Red Raiders clung onto a 17-14 lead at the half.

The Cyclones got the ball out of the break, and quickly tied it up with a field goal at 17-17, and then disaster struck for Texas Tech. Marcel Spears picked off Alan Bowman and returned it 41 yards for the touchdown to give the Cyclones their first lead of the day.

It was one of three interceptions Bowman threw on the day.

Texas Tech didn’t lie down though. They came back with a touchdown of their own on the next drive to tie it back up. Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, that was the last time the offense would score.

The Cyclones, behind a heavy dose of David Montgomery, pulled away once again, but while the Texas Tech offense was done scoring, the defense wasn’t. Riko Jeffers forced Brock Purdy to fumble while backed up in their own end zone and Dakota Allen was there to recover it for a Red Raider touchdown to tie it back up at 31-31.

The score remained knotted up for the majority of the fourth quarter, but with less than five minutes left in the game, it was the Cyclone’s defense’s turn to step up. Backed up to their own end zone, Bowman was forced to roll out to escape the pressure and ended up throwing it away to prevent a sack. Unfortunately for Bowman, the throw didn’t get back to the line of scrimmage, and the intentional grounding call resulted in a sack anyway. Also unfortunately for Bowman, he was standing in his own end zone at the time, which means the resulting sack also resulted in a safety.

With momentum fully with the Cyclones, the offense put the game away with a 48-yard touchdown pass to Hakeem Butler.

With the victory, Iowa State still has a chance to play in a conference championship game, but they will need to win out to do so. This game showed a lot about both teams, as well as how good the young quarterbacks in this conference are, but in the end, there were three main takeaways from Iowa State’s 40-31 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

So what do we take a way from this battle between the two Big 12 members of team chaos? Let’s get into it.

Iowa State’s Offense Is Legit

Since plugging in Brock Purdy at the quarterback position, the Cyclones have averaged 39 points a game. Purdy’s arm and scrambling ability compliments the run attack behind star running back David Montgomery. And it doesn’t hurt that they have elite receivers like Hakeem Butler to throw to.

The rushing attack wasn’t spectacular (only averaged 3.4 yards per carry on 51 attempts), but Montgomery was able to get 125 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, with a big dose of that coming in the second half to help Iowa State close out the game.

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The overall takeaway here is that in a day that turned into a defensive struggle at times, Iowa State was able to show their big play potential behind their playmakers. Butler made just four catches on the day, but totaled 148 yards and a score. The offense as a whole totaled 422 yards of offense and 40 points. While the Cyclones didn’t really play that good on this side of the ball the end results were still very good.  That’s the sign of a great offense.

The Big 12 Plays Defense

Don’t let the final score fool you, there was plenty of defense played in this one.

First, let look at the Texas Tech defense. Not only did they get the forced fumble recovered for a touchdown, they held Purdy to his lowest completion percentage of the season at 48.1 percent. They also held Iowa State to 7 of 16 on third down, and to 3.4 yards per carry. Had it not been for seven penalties for 80 yards called against the Red Raider defense, it could have been a very different day for Texas Tech.

As good as Texas Tech’s defense was on Saturday, the Iowa State defense was flat-out impressive. The Cyclone’s shut down the Red Raider’s offense by holding them to just 17 points. For the first time this season, Bowman seemed unsure of himself as he was picked off three times. Iowa State held Texas Tech to 6 of 16 on third down, and held the Red Raiders to just 1.6 yards per carry.

Texas Tech Has A Penalty Problem

The Red Raiders were flagged 14 times on Saturday, with 10 of those penalties being accepted for 85 yards. Three of those penalties came against the offense: a false start and two intentional groundings. One of those intentional groundings resulted in the safety that lead to the Iowa State win, but those are mistakes by a freshman quarterback, and can be corrected.

It was the seven penalties by the defense that largely shot the Red Raiders in the foot. A targeting call, two roughing the passers, two personal fouls, and a couple of holding calls kept Iowa State drives alive and gave them big chunks of free yards. Holding calls happen, but there’s no excuse for targeting, multiple roughing the passer penalties and two personal fouls. Not to mention a third roughing the passer penalty that ended up being offset by an ineligible downfield pass call. That’s just sloppy, undisciplined play, and it was the difference in the game.

Purdy Won The Freshman Quarterback Battle

There’s little argument that both Brock Purdy and Alan Bowman have brought a spark to their respective offenses. Bowman came in for an injured McLane Carter in the Red Raider’s season opener, and aside from West Virginia game where he was injured, he has averaged over 380 passing yards a game. Purdy took over the Cyclone’s offense against Oklahoma State four weeks ago, and has lead Iowa State to three-straight wins.

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Their matchup on Saturday was one of the biggest story lines of the game, and while both quarterbacks had their worst performance of the season on Saturday, Purdy limited his mistakes and won the QB duel. Despite completing below 50% of his passes, Purdy still threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions. He also brings a wrinkle that makes the Cyclone offense tough to stop, and that’s his ability to scramble.

Iowa State Can Make The Big 12 Title Game, But Needs Help

At a 3-2 conference record, the Cyclones need to win out and still need a little help to make a title game appearance. Iowa State has the tiebreaker over one-loss West Virginia, so it starts with Oklahoma beating the Mountaineers in the season’s last week. Before worrying about everyone else though, Iowa State needs to take care of business. Texas is the only title contender they play the rest of the way so it’s very doable, but they cannot afford a let down. It’s a long shot but don’t count Iowa State out just yet.

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