Football

Matching Up: Iowa State vs. Texas Tech

We take a look at the different match ups between Texas Tech and Iowa State as the Cyclones visit Lubbock on Saturday.

The Match Ups

Texas Tech Pass Offense vs. Iowa State Pass Defense
Texas Tech
Even with a hobbled Patrick Mahomes, he still did well and Davis Webb looked okay as well. The biggest problem with Baylor was the pass protection, which I thought wasn’t up to the standard that I’m expecting at Texas Tech. This is even more problematic now that Justin Murphy is apparently out with an injury and some inexperienced guys are going to get a look at the right guard spot. If I’m Iowa State, I know exactly where I’m headed and if I were personally leaning one way, I think I’d go with Robert Castaneda at right guard just to see what he could do. The other options are most likely going to graduate and Castaneda could provide some long-term stability there. Speaking of injuries, we’re also talking about the injured receivers, where Dylan Cantrell is looking at a redshirt year while Devin Lauderdale is recovering. That means that guys like Tony Brown and Jonathan Giles will get opportunities to step up and be more consistent. They obviously have play making ability, they just need to be more consistent and catch everything thrown their way. I wonder too if it is too late to take off the redshirt for Quan Shorts or Donta Thompson. I mentioned last week that Texas Tech is getting almost zero production from the z-receiver spot, it may be time.
Iowa State
Iowa State utilizes a 3-3-5 (I think) defense and they run out a relatively inexperienced secondary, at least in terms of returning starters. Same E. Richardson (5-8/182) and Nigel Tribune (5-11/184) are at the right cornerback spot while Brian Peavy (5-9.184) is at the other cornerback spot. Your safeties are Qujuan Floyd (6-0/202) at strong safety and at free safety is sophomore Kamari Cotton-Moya (6-1/197) at free safety and Jay Jones (6-3/209) at that hybrid position. ISU is, statistically, very good against the pass, allowing only 194 yards a game, which is good for 43rd in the nation, but they haven’t played a ton of high-flying offenses either. Peavy is the surprise of the bunch, a redshirt freshman from Houston, he’s knocked down 5 passes and intercepted 1 pass.
ADVANTAGE: Texas Tech
Texas Tech Rush Offense vs. Iowa State Rush Defense
Texas Tech
With the struggles with the running game this past week, I would hope and expect that Lee Hays will get this train back on track. This may be the outlier for the year, but DeAndre Washington didn’t have any room and that will have to change this week. With ISU running a 3-3-5, I would imagine that the offensive line is going to need to get to the second level and make an impact there and put some hands on some linebackers (but whatever you do, don’t hold). Patrick Mahomes mobility was part of the equation last week and that’s part of the problem, which is that he was the leading rusher at 39 yards with Washington. Even if a lineman goes down, Texas Tech shouldn’t ever be that ineffective running the ball. Texas Tech gets a slight edge here, not because Texas Tech will be dominant, but I do think Texas Tech will be much more effective than they were last week and look more like their normal selves.
Iowa State
The defensive line is relatively inexperienced as well with only one returning starter, but the two-deep is littered with upperclassmen. Trent Taylor (6-2/267) and Dale Pierson (6-2/249) are your defensive end bookends while Demond Tucker (6-0/296) and and Vernell Trent (6-3/280) are your noseguards. Again, statistically, Iowa State has the 56th best rushing defense, allowing only 148 yards a game. That’s a little bit skewed because Iowa State ran for 126 yards, while Iowa ran the ball 45 times for 260 yards and Toledo, who runs a spread similar to Texas Tech, ran the ball 34 times for 171 yards. The game that’s really bringing down that average is the Cyclones’ performance against Kansas, where the Jayhawks only ran for 38 total yards on 33 attempts. Both Iowa and Toledo ran for over 5 yards a play.
ADVANTAGE: Texas Tech
Texas Tech Pass Defense vs. Iowa State Pass Offense
Texas Tech
We’re talking about explosive plays both on the pass and run defense. Texas Tech has given up 37 pass plays of 15+ yards and 14 of 25+, which is darn near 30% of all pass plays are going for more than 10 yards a play. That’s the problem and it has to be better. Iowa State isn’t a big down-the-field sort of team, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them take some shots, so the Texas Tech secondary has better be ready because there’s no good reason why ISU shouldn’t give it a shot, especially with their size at receiver. If you want a comparison, Iowa State is only allowing 17% of their passes to go more than 15+ yards. I know that they haven’t had the toughest schedule, but that’s still a big difference.
Iowa State
Sam B. Richardson (6-2/217) is your senior quarterback for Iowa State and he’s a very steady hand. I mentioned this during the offseason, but Iowa State utilizes some big receivers, D’Vario Montgomery (6-6/216), Quenton Bundrage (6-2/198) and Allen Lazard (6-5/223) are your starting receivers. This could be a big deal with Texas Tech’s relatively small cornerbacks. This has resulted in Iowa State having the 39th best passing offense in the nation, at 256 yards a game.This is, by no means, great, but Texas Tech really hasn’t stopped anyone in the passing game thus far this year.
ADVANTAGE: Iowa State
Texas Tech Rush Defense vs. Iowa State Rush Offense
Texas Tech
Well, the only way to go is up, or hopefully that’s the key here. I still don’t know if Texas Tech has the pieces in the right spots, but Texas Tech hasn’t shown much of an ability to stop any sort of rush offense, so there’s just no way I’m betting against Iowa State this game. I’m of course hopeful, but I’m not holding my breath. The problem has been the big play, which Texas Tech has given up 34 runs of 10+ yards and 13 of 20+. And most of these runs are happening in the 4th quarter as Texas Tech has given up 12 of those 34 10+ yard runs in the 4th quarter alone. The other problem is that Texas Tech is giving up 18 of those 10+ runs on first down, so the defense probably always feels like they are on their heels. I’m sure some of this is inexperience on the line and just not knowing how the parts are supposed to go together just yet, but improvement starts with limiting the big plays.
Iowa State
The Iowa State offensive line is experienced and senior-laden. Three of the five starters are all seniors, including LG Oni Omoile (6-3/305), C Jamison Lalk (6-6/304) and RT Brock Dagel (6-8/300). The left tackle spot is sophomore Jake Campos (6-8/297) and at right guard is junior Danile Burton (6-6/319). Iowa State does start a tight end in Ben Boesen, but he’s only caught 2 passes thus far in the season, so he is not a receiving threat. As previously discussed this week, Iowa State has done a terrific job of running the ball the last two weeks behind Mike Warren (6-0/200), a redshirt freshman from Lawton. The rushing offense was relatively anemic before Warren burst on the scene and Iowa State, as a team ran for 207 yards on 49 carries against Toledo and 243 yards on 37 carries against Kansas. That still means that ISU is only averaging about 150 yards a game, but that’s much improved over the first two games.
ADVANTAGE: Iowa State
Texas Tech Special Teams vs. Iowa State Special Teams
Texas Tech
Texas Tech is coming back down to earth a bit. Texas Tech is 15th in net punting and 127th in punt returns. Still not doing a lot there, but maybe the idea is to just not mess anything up. It would still be nice to break a play there every once in awhile. Texas Tech is 72nd in kickoff returns and 80th in kickoff return defense, although some of those numbers may be skewed a bit when we learn that TAylor Symmank is kicking 72% into the back of the endzone. Field goals are a bit of an afterthought, but Michael Barden has made 2 of 3 and Clayton Hatfield has made 2 of 2 with both kickers making all of their extra points. I’m giving Texas Tech an ever-so-slight edge here, but only because of the ability to kick the ball in the endzone and field position battle.
Iowa State
Iowa State kicker Cole Netten is only kicking 18% of his kickoffs out of bounds, but that doesn’t mean a thing because Iowa State is 6th in kickoff return defense (the kicks must be high and near the goal line). Unfortunately, on the other end of things, Iowa State is 110th in kickoff returns and 112th in net punting and 80th in punt return defense. So there are yards to gain there. Fortunately, the Cyclones are 13th in punt returns, behind Allen Lazard and Trever Ryen, who are averaging 16 and 23 yards a punt return (that’s pretty danged good. Kicker Cole Netten has made 6 of 10 field goals and made all 13 extra points.
ADVANTAGE: Texas Tech

The Tally

Texas Tech is now in a situation where they’ve pretty much assured themselves of being the team to beat on offense, while always being up against it on the defensive side of things. It is, most likely, going to be this way for the rest of the year, with the deciding vote being special teams, which has always seemed like a ridiculous tie-breaker, but here we are. I think Texas Tech’s offense is significantly better than Iowa State’s, while I’m being careful not to be too negative on the defense from the past two weeks. It will be interesting to see Texas Tech’s defense play a “normal” offensive team and see how the defense responds.

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