Ten Things: Iowa State 34, Texas Tech 24

It’s 10 of them things.

1. Overall

For the past few weeks, I’ve completely missed being able to watch the game live. Youssouf almost always has a soccer game right around game time, so I’ll catch a short bit of the game, but end up having to tape the game and come back and watch it later. Pretty much for every game except for the Baylor game and the Montana State game (which I was actually in Lubbock for that game).

So it’s always a bit tough to watch the game after a loss because I know the score. And if you want to know one of those tricks of the trade, it is the reason I’ve been doing position ratings this year right after the game because I sort of knew that I wasn’t going to be available and I needed a post that I could throw up without having to have any idea as to what happened. I think it’s worked out as well as can be expected.

But one of the downsides in doing this is that part of my assignment is to watch a game after the fact and watching games like yesterday is always a bit depressing. In fact, it’s been a bit like watching the Cowboys in recent weeks, spotting the opposing team 17 to 20 points in the half before ever scoring on your own, and that’s exactly what happened. And, just like the Cowboys, the team played better in the second half, but a 20-point deficit is a lot to overcome.

Don Williams had a tweet right as halftime broke and I’m guessing that Chris Level caught Wells leaving the field and he said that the team did everything wrong in the first half, and they were still in the game. That was an absolutely true statement.

2. The Offense

Kind a tale of two halves (and I’m going to start out the defense post the same way), right? Only 156 total yards in the first half, including an incredible 17 of 21 for just 96 yards passing and 60 yards rushing in the first half. That’s a whole lot of nothing passing the ball. But the second half saw significantly better play, 251 total yards, including 108 on the ground and 143 in the air.

The wide receiver screens work really well, but sometimes I don’t think that Yost calls them with enough consistency. It’s like a running play, but without all of the defensive linemen mucking things up, especially with a guy like RJ Turner or Erik Ezukanma on the outside.

I’d also add that some of the offensive issues, take for example the first drive of the second half and it was 3rd and goal. Obviously, Texas Tech needed a touchdown being down 20-7 and the play actually resulted in a screen to Armand Shyne for a gain of a few, but no touchdown. But there was only 1 receiver in the end zone. Donta Thompson and T.J. Vasher ran shall crossing routes (remember the ball was like at the 8 yard line) and they never sat foot in the end zone, so if you want to clear out some defenders, then they’ve got to get their tails where the turf isn’t green. But maybe that’s not what the play that was called, maybe they were exactly where they were supposed to go?

And on the very next play offensive play for Iowa State, they go 79 yards for a touchdown. Womp. Womp.

3. The Defense

A tale of two halves, right? The defense was absolutely torched in the first half. Long bombs and big completions, Iowa State averaged 13 yards per attempt, which is insane and Purdy was a damned surgeon completing passes to literally every open receiver. I was worried about Kolar, the tight end, before the game and Kolar ended up being an absolute dagger on that second touchdown drive. And Iowa State did it through the air as they only ran for 37 yards, but they didn’t need to run the ball really.

The other part of the defensive issues is that Iowa State is just deadly efficient, they averaged 10 yards a play (insane) in the first half and 10.2 (more insane) in the second half. The defense, namely the secondary in my opinion, has to be better because giving up chunk yards like that is no way to live defensively.

4. The Special Teams

So I very much appreciated Ta’Zahwn Henry taking kickoffs out of the end zone moreso than Dadrion Taylor. Taylor just isn’t ready and I thought that Henry looked more comfortable making that determination as to whether or not to take the ball out. Austin NcNamara was again terrific, averaging nearly 47 yards a punt, which is just terrific and had a couple of 50-yarders. Trey Wolf was 1 of 2, but I’m still not complaining about the kicking situation. We

5. Offensive Notes

  • Duffey was just much better in the first half, but some of it wasn’t necessarily his fault. I thought that some of the receivers had some drops, I thought that there were a couple of occasions where the defense maybe got to the receiver a bit early and could have been pass interference, but that’s sort of one of those things that happens when you play aggressive defense. Duffey was 40 of 52 (which is a great completion percentage) for 77%, but just 239 yards and one touchdown. The downside about Duffey’s play was that he averaged 4.6 yards per attempt, which is not really all that efficient, but that’s probably what happens with those wide receiver screens. I’d also add that I think Duffey’s Achilles heel is crossing patterns over the middle or the post play. He missed a wide open McLane Mannix that should have gone for 30 or 40 yards and he has to be better about those. Iowa State was more than happy to give those up rather than anything deep. I don’t think that Duffey played terrible, but he didn’t play great. Probably a C for me overall, not failing, but needs to be significantly better.
  • I love SaRodorick Thompson, I love what he brings and I think that he’s going to be a terror for Big 12 defenses for years to come. He only ran 10 times for 57 yars, but I sort of love watching him play.
  • The leading receiver for the second week in a row was RJ Turner, who had 11 catches for 76 yards. Of all things, he was targeted 12 times, so if he’s getting the ball, he’s catching it.
  • I mentioned that sequence in that basically started the second half, and on the kickoff, there was a holding penalty that pushed the return back, and then there was a penalty on third down on Terence Steele that made it third and forever and Texas Tech had to punt the ball away.
  • I thought that the running backs actually played well enough, adjusted for sacks, the team ran for 173 yards overall on 34 carries for about 5 yards a carry. Shyne ran the ball 9 times for 41 yards and Henry had 5 for 41. I like both of those guys running the ball.

6. Defensive Notes

  • It’s difficult to pick a defensive standout, I thought there were way too many missed tackles, that Iowa State running back running the ball for 79 yards was absolutely terrible, I think that was Douglas Coleman that missed the tackle on that one.
  • Statistically, Jordyn Brooks had 10 tackles and 2 tackles for a loss as well as 2 quarterback hurries. I think it would be safe to say that he had a good game, but not a dominating performance. Of course, it is difficult for him to shine when Iowa State passed the ball as much as they did.
  • I also liked the way that Evan Rambo played, 7 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 pass break-up, and 1 QB hurry.
  • the DaMarcus Fields pick was really pretty and I think it was really caused by a ton of pressure leading up to that play where maybe Purdy was under some pressure. And even if that last part isn’t true, it was a darn fine play.
  • Am I missing any other defensive standouts? I don’t feel like I am. The defense gave up 560 total yards and allowed 10 yards a play. The defense has to be better. They were not good on Saturday afternoon.


Head coach Matt Wells on the message to the team after the game:

Okay, congratulations to Iowa State. They won it. You know, the message in the locker room is a couple things. You know, first of all, when you play a team that’s as good as them and the program that they’ve built and where they’re at, you can’t come out of the gate and spot them 20. Obviously we weren’t dialed in at the beginning enough. Something just wasn’t there, to be honest with you.

Don’t read into that wrong. I thought we were emotionally ready to play, but there was just something really on both sides of the ball that wasn’t there, and we didn’t have the fast start, especially on defense, that we’d had before.

You know, I think the second thing coming out of that deal is, you know, it was very interesting to see us fight back. You get it to 20-10, and we fought, we came out at halftime, put a good drive together, unfortunately it finishes with a field goal, and then it’s right back. We almost had a walk-off basically right there, and they get another lead, and then we just keep — we kind of fought back.

On the one front, it seemed like it was about to crumble and was going to be not in the game, and then all of a sudden we had a few guys that stepped up and made plays. We had a pick and then unfortunately we don’t convert it into a touchdown late at Damarcus’s interception. But we had some guys fight. The biggest thing with the game of football that I talked to our players about is the game of football when you invest at a high, high level and you practice at a high level and you’re accountable and you’re ready to roll every single week, it’ll pay you back ten fold and it’s a tremendous game and it’s awesome, but it can also be an ugly game from an individual standpoint when you don’t invest the right way, and it can be something that sticks out.

Obviously when you have a game like this, I don’t know what the final was, 10 points, but it’s — every loss to me is always disappointing. We’ll go back and we’ll regroup and we’ll set our sights on the next one and try to get back to 4-4, and obviously we’re still fighting to get bowl eligibility, and I think those are right in our sights. Our guys know that, and we’ve got to find a way to put this thing together and play better, obviously, and give a better effort and find a way to go win on the road. That’s kind of the message coming out of the locker room.

On if the he’s still coaching accountability and intensity from week-to-week (which I thought was a weird question, but whatever).

Q. Are you guys still teaching, instilling how to maintain that high level of intensity from week to week?
MATT WELLS: We are, yeah, we’re still teaching. Accountability, we’re still teaching, day-to-day discipline, we’re still teaching, how to practice and how to get ready for a game on Friday and Saturday morning. I think a lot of the effort was there. I’m certain in a game like this when there are a couple balls that get loose on you and you don’t set the edge of the defense, we’re going to see some effort issues because we’re going to make sure we don’t deviate from anything in our culture, in our foundation that we’re setting. To answer your question, I think we’re still teaching a lot of things, and I think we were after wins, as well.

On the lack of efficiency on offense after turnovers (again a weird question because Iowa State had just 1 turnover and really, this should be a question about offensive efficiency overall).

Q. Are you guys still teaching, instilling how to maintain that high level of intensity from week to week?
MATT WELLS: We are, yeah, we’re still teaching. Accountability, we’re still teaching, day-to-day discipline, we’re still teaching, how to practice and how to get ready for a game on Friday and Saturday morning. I think a lot of the effort was there. I’m certain in a game like this when there are a couple balls that get loose on you and you don’t set the edge of the defense, we’re going to see some effort issues because we’re going to make sure we don’t deviate from anything in our culture, in our foundation that we’re setting. To answer your question, I think we’re still teaching a lot of things, and I think we were after wins, as well.

On Duffey’s performance from last week to this week:

Q. Two weeks ago Duffey threw for 444 yards, 9.16 average. This week 200-plus yards, but he’s only averaging 4.6. What was it Iowa State was doing that made you want to stay short passes underneath stuff?
MATT WELLS: Well, inasmuch as that, we weren’t effective, we didn’t do a good job blocking on the perimeter when some of that stuff was thrown. We had some shots early, protection breakdown, Jett didn’t see it, a couple times we had guys open. We certainly need to take more shots, we need to execute better shots, to be dead honest with you.

And then Wells discussing how he thought that Yost called passes down the field, but said the third and longs are a problem.

MATT WELLS: Yeah, when I say take more shots, don’t read into that that David didn’t call enough shots. There’s certainly — probably internally we’ll look at a handful that maybe you could have called a little bit more, but you also can’t put yourself in 3rd and 8, 3rd and 10, 2nd and 10. Any of us know what’s coming next in terms of that.

1st down efficiency I didn’t think was very good, and some of that was related to my answer over there a while ago, I don’t think we blocked on the perimeter very well today.

Q. When you say you know what’s coming next, you mean extra pressure or it’s going to be hard to —
MATT WELLS: No, Iowa State didn’t pressure five times.

Q. Can you elaborate when you say you know what’s coming next?
MATT WELLS: (Indiscernible) type of guys and they’re going to have underneath coverage, and we can’t — you know, it’s going to make it a whole lot more difficult. 3rd and 10 is not real fun to be in. The national average is if you get over 20 percent of 3rd and 10 you know you’re operating a a really, really high level. I’d like to try to get our chances a little bit better at that. We all do. That’s what I —

8. Stats and Things

  • Texas Tech led time of possession, 32:15 to 27:45, Iowa State scored pretty quickly on a couple of those drives they had. It was in favor of Iowa State 16:53 to 13:70 in the first half and in favor of Texas Tech 19:80 to 10:52 in the second half.
  • Texas Tech was a respectable 7 of 17 on third downs, for 41%. The average distance was nearly 8 yards each third down, which is really high. Texas Tech was 1 for 5 on third and 9+ yards, 4 for 6 on third and 1-4 yards, and was 0-4 on third and goal. That’s kind of a killer right there.
  • Iowa State had 318 total yards on first downs for 11.4 yards per first down. Insane.
  • Texas Tech had only 6 penalties for 60 yards. That continues to be pretty good I think.
  • The defense didn’t have any sacks, that’s partly a credit to the ISU offensive line and Purdy who dodges pressure really well.
  • If Texas Tech gets a field goal after the interception, it’s 27-20 and it’s a one-possession game. Even better, get a touchdown and it’s 24-27 and it is a completely different animal in terms of how the game is played. The miscommunication between Vasher and Duffey was a killer, Vasher had turned his head and gone up the field and Duffey had no idea. Again, I think that those crossing routes are something that Duffey has to get better at and not that this situation was Duffey’s fault, so maybe it’s something that needs improvement for both receivers and quarterback.

9. Looking Ahead

You ready for the bright lights of Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday? It’s a 6:00 p.m. kickoff and the Jayhawks had a back-and-forth affair with Texas on Saturday, but ended up losing 50-48. Tune your TV’s to FS1.

10. The Final Word

This is probably what year 1 of a rebuild or retool or whatever you want to call it looks like versus year 4. That’s the reality of the situation and these growing pains and lighting of fires underneath asses is probably part of the process. The team did continue to fight, so that’s encouraging, just need some things to fall their way or make some plays and that’s the difference between a team that’s 1-3 in conference play and 3-1.

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