1. The Setting
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-6, 2-5)
Bad Guys: Iowa State Cyclones (2-8, 1-6)
When: Saturday, November 19th at 2:30 pm
Where: Jack Trice Stadium; Ames, Iowa
TV/Stream: FS1 (FOX Sports Go)
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM | Affiliates | TuneIn App
2. Uniform Tracker
|Stephen F. Austin||W, 69-17|
|Arizona State||L, 68-55|
|Louisiana Tech||W, 59-45|
|Kansas State||L, 44-38|
|West Virginia||L, 48-17|
|Oklahoma State||L, 45-44|
3. The Big Storyline
It’s been a weird week for Texas Tech. I always miss something, but here’s a summary:
* Devin Lauderdale, Gary Moore and D’Vonta Hinton are and have been suspended “coach’s decision”.
* Justin Murphy has retired from football due to injuries and there was an odd exchange with Kingsbury and reporters as Kingsbury told them to ask Murphy for more details about his retirement.
* Texas Tech offered a junior college quarterback in McLane Stanley, who would have three years of eligibility remaining.
* There is a report that Dakota Allen, who was kicked off the team this summer for an incident that’s too crazy to explain, but involved stealing guns from a drug dealer, has allegedly approached the coaches about returning to Texas Tech and making “right” the situation.
* Ivory Jackson is no longer on the team.
That’s a lot of stuff to happen during the month of November. The question is if there’s this relation between what the departures and the new offers and all of the things happening with this team. It’s difficult ot connect the dots. the situations with Lauderdale, Moore and Hinton appear to be just suspensions for whatever reason. That’s three starters not starting because of academic or other types of issues. The retirement of Murphy, Conner Dyer, and Cody Wheeler now creates a vacuum within the offensive line and a serious depth issue. All players retired due to injury and it’s tough for me to think that this is anything other than what it is, which are just retirements.
The offer to the McLane Carter seems to indicate that there may be a need for a quarterback where there wasn’t one before. There’s speculation amongst us that this is a clear indication that Patrick Mahomes intends on leaving for the NFL Draft, but I wouldn’t be so sure about that. It’s incredibly early to be thinking about this, whether it be for Mahomes or the coaches. Lots of times, players are given evaluations as to where they might be drafted. That hasn’t happened yet and I feel like it’s a bit premature. The other thought would be that this reveals that another quarterback may have issues that haven’t quite revealed themselves.
Is this normal? Probably yes, but I’m sure that some thin that this is the company line or whatever and that very well could be true. The weird thing is that at some point, the shine wears off on these true freshmen and a lot of times, these things tend to happen during the course of December, before the end of the semester, when players leave and it’s not covered as much. It’s certainly an interesting confluence of events and this may be one of those things where looking back we’ll have some clarity as to what’s happening now. Bookmark this because this maybe something that needs to be re-visited in the offseason.
Texas Tech will have some match-up issues with Iowa State, mainly the incredibly talented Allen Lazard, but that may be largely dependent on who plays quarterback. Joel Lanning is running quarterback while Jacob Park is more of the passing quarterback. Texas Tech has shown issues covering big receivers deep and only has four interceptions on the year, which is terrible. Lazard is a huge target, 6’5″ and 223 and he’s by far the leading receiver for ISU. It will be interesting to see who covers Lazard, will it be the true freshman Douglas Coleman or the senior, Justis Nelson. I’m probably crazy, but I’d rather take my chances with Coleman. Most of the other receivers are smaller slot-types, Deshaunte Jones (5’10″/175) and Trever Ryen (5’11″/192), while Dondre Daley is the other big outside threat (6’2″/195).
If ISU takes advantage of Texas Tech’s less than stellar ground defense, Lanning will play a huge part as will David Montgomery (5’11″/222) and Mike Warren (6’0″/205). Montgomery will probably start, with Warren mixing in and to be honest, there’s the potential for each of these guys to have career days if they aren’t kept in check.
Offensively for Texas Tech I think we’ll see more of the same from their defense. It’s a defense that’s predicated on not allowing big plays and I’d guess that’s what we continue to see. More of 8 players dropping into coverage. The key will be if Texas Tech has a healthy running back and whether or not their defensive line can really put pressure on Mahomes. One of the biggest differences between ISU and Texas Tech’s past two opponents, Oklahoma State and Texas, is that ISU’s havoc rate for the defensive line is only 86th in the nation, while Texas was 37th and Oklahoma State was 19th. The idea here is that ISU doesn’t have the horses to cause pressure that the other teams did and I wonder how that will play for Texas Tech (hopefully good).
4. One Key Stat
The Texas Tech defense may be able to feast on the Iowa State defense on third downs. ISU is 117th in third down conversions, while Texas Tech is 2nd in the nation. That’s quite a disparity. On the other side of the field, Iowa State is 54th in the nation in converting third downs while the Texas Tech defense is 87th overall.
5. What to Watch on Offense
Iowa State will line up in a traditional spread offense. 10 personnel is common, but they’ll also vary their formations. Lazard on the outside is an incredible weapon.
This is a classic pick-play, where the outside receiver at the top of the screen. The wide receiver essentially runs right into the defender of the inside receiver that’s giving up some yardage and you can see the inside receiver at the 9 yard line all but open to walk into the end zone. Texas Tech does this plenty, so maybe the defense will be ready for it.
This is where things get a bit interesting and you’ll always need to pay attention who is at quarterback. You’ll be able to tell because Park has long hair. Anyway, you see 20 personnel with a man in motion while Kansas has decided to double-team Lazard. Probably smart at this point in the goal line, but that’s an extra defender to play against the run.
This is a bit of misdirection as Park, who is playing QB, fakes the handoff to the receiver in motion and simply hands the ball off to the running back who is then able to walk into the end zone fairly easily. The linebackers aren’t sure who to cover and ISU has done a nice job of blocking up front. Only one defender to beat.
6. What to Watch on Defense
It’s going to be tough to predict what ISU will do, but traditionally, they run a 4-man front with three linebackers, although I think this is a safety walking down and not a linebacker. Still, this is probably expected. Notice the way that they’re playing the inside receiver, 10 yards off the line of scrimmage.
This is where the inexperience of the Kansas quarterback comes into play. He’s got a guy wide open at the 42 yard line, but instead, the quarterback throws it at the 50 yard line, where there’s two defenders just waiting there to catch the ball. For a young quarterback, it’s a tough spot to fit a ball in.
A nice goal line look at the defense. Nothing fancy, pretty standard look.
Here, it’s a pretty simple play for Kansas, just get a receiver to cross the face of the defender, without resistance and the quarterback just has to get the ball there and it’s a touchdown. This is the sort of play that you hope has been eliminated from the defense by this time of the year, but a yard of space means that the defensive back can’t even get a hand on the ball and the only thing he could do is tackle the reciever. The receivers will have their opportunities.
Via OddsShark, the line opened at Texas Tech favored by 3 and that line has moved to 3.5 in some books. Vegas thinks it will be close and I don’t. Yeah, I have no reason to be optimistic, but I think Texas Tech wins handily here.