1. The Setting
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-2, 1-2)
Bad Guys: Iowa State Cyclones (4-2, 2-1)
When: Saturday, October 21st at 11:00 a.m.
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium; Lubbock, Texas
TV/Stream: FS1 (FOX Sports Go)
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM | Affiliates | TuneIn App
2. Uniform Tracker
Red pants are 0-1.
3. The Big Storyline
Since I didn’t get to Ten Things on Saturday, this will serve as a good place to get out some of those thoughts still running around in my head six days after the fact. Iowa State and Texas Tech are two pretty evenly matched teams and Texas Tech should be favored to get this win. I mentioned this to the group, that Football Study Hall has Texas Tech with a 34% chance of winning 7 games, 25% at 6 games and 23% at 8 wins. FSH is predicting wins against Iowa State, Kanas State and Baylor with Texas favored (as of right now) just slightly. Connelly thinks that Texas Tech has a 90.2% chance of finishing 6-6 or better. Don’t give up hope. Not yet anyway.
I know that the West Virginia loss has beaten some of you up, and rightfully so. It was a tough loss to stomach because of how it happened. Playing so well and then just falling off, on both defense and offense.
The thing I’ve been most impressed with this year has been this teams ability to bounce back from bad things. This team bounced back from the Oklahoma State loss with a drubbing of Kansas, on the road at at 11:00 a.m. I know it’s easy to overlook beating Kansas, but they had just played West Virginia relatively close and were coming off a bye, a full two weeks to prepae for Texas Tech and they were absolutely hammered. I’m not at all suggesting that Texas Tech is going to hammer Iowa State, but I do think that there’s something to this team responding. They’ve typically been pretty quiet about what they do.
It seems as if Kingsbury is running a lot of plays with a tight end and that’s a hand on the turf tight end in Donta Thompson. They’ve mostly been running plays, but in looking at the personnel at times during the game, Texas Tech is running a tight end with a fullback and a running back and that’s a pro-style offense. Someone mentioned to me that this doesn’t work as well unless Thompson catches a pass and as of right now, Thompson hasn’t done that. But it seems that Kingsbury tends to have a long game in play lots of times. Those 12 personnel sets have typically been running plays, but don’t be surprised to see that change in the near future. I’d guess that Kingsbury is setting something up for later in the year. That may be this week.
One other thing to watch, is how this team is really regressing as the game continues, on both offense and defense, via Football Study Hall:
Those numbers don’t have to mean very much other than on 1st and 2nd down, this team is pretty spectacular on offense and in quarters 1-3, this team plays really well, but there’s a drop off, on offense and defense and they’ve got to reverse that trend this week.
4. Keys for Texas Tech
- The key for Texas Tech will be playing mistake free football and hopefully forcing some Iowa State turnovers. ISU hasn’t really turned the ball over really at all this year. The other thing that I think is going to lay on the defense’s doorsteps is the idea that they need to figure out how to get pressure on Kyle Kempt at quarterback. The Cyclones have been really good at protecting the quarterback and pressure will usually change how those turnovers arrive. This should be a big game from Eli Howard and hopefully Lonzell Gilmore is healthy.
- The size of Iowa State’s receivers is obviously bothersome considering how the bigger David Sills just ran Texas Tech ragged last week. Sills is very good at what he does and Iowa State hasn’t shown that they are as prolific offensively as West Virginia. Lazard is most likely as good as an athlete as Sills, but just hasn’t had the opportunity. Not only that, Lazard is only catching 53% of his passes, so it’s not as if he’s capitalizing on what’s most likely some of those deep passes.
- I think Texas Tech will need to be especially cognizant of Trever Ryen, who catches 78% of all of his passes and David Montgomery coming out of the backfield, who ends up catching 81% of those passes. Kempt likes to push the ball down the field more than Park ever did.
- Offensively, Texas Tech needs to put some real rhythm together for the entire game. I think that college football games are a lot like NBA games now-a-days, where in an NBA game a team will be down by twenty, but the team that’s down will make a run and be right back in the game. Twenty-point leads don’t mean as much in the NBA as they used to and I think that’s the same for college football offenses. There are no perfect offenses, including Kingsbury’s and Texas Tech’s. The problem with those lulls for Texas Tech is that they are coming at the end of games and at the beginning of games (not recently, but prior to Kansas and West Virginia). There’s almost no escaping the lull, but I’d rather be hot late than early.
- We’re getting real close to the disappearing act of Derrick Willies, who has all of the talent in the world, but hasn’t been able to put it together on the field. That position has seemingly always been problematic, or it has since Kingsbury arrived. Quan Shorts seems like he is ready for the role, but I’m not ready to write off Willies just yet. There’s lots of time for him to make a second half push and I’d guess the coaches want to see that.
- Kingsbury said during yesterday’s luncheon that Desmond Nisby didn’t play all that much against West Virginia because he was mentally just not ready to handle some of the things that the Mountaineers were doing offensively. That’s way too an important part of the offense to have to take away because things are getting complicated. I’m ready for Nisby to get his head in the playbook and wrapped around pretty much everything. That combination of Stockton, Nisby and King should be tough to beat, but when you take one of those away, that’s an important weapon you’re taking away from the team. You can’t play light-weighted safeties who can’t support the run if Nisby can get meaningful snaps.
- It may be critical that Douglas Coleman plays this game. Texas Tech is obviously struggling in some respects with pass defense (prior to last week, the only thing they were doing well was not giving up big plays). Jah’Shawn Johnson and Justus Parker got the start, while Coleman was injured. Vaughnte Dorsey is a demon against teams that like to run, but there may not be as an important player in pass defense that Coleman, who has the range of a cornerback. Dorsey is not great in coverage, that’s not his strong suit. Statistically, both Octavious Morgan and Jaylon Lane are struggling at cornerback a bit, but I think this team is going to need it’s full compliment of players to slow down Iowa State.
5. What to Watch
Iowa State took advantage of short fields and had some pretty terrific special teams play that helped them along the way. A punt return for a touchdown, a missed snap on a punt for Kansas that resulted in a turnover of downs. was huge in breaking open what was a rainy game.
You really don’t get the true sense of how good a team is playing against Kansas because Kansas can’t tackle for the life of them. Texas Tech used to look like this, but there’s just guys missing completely and it’s not necessaryily anything complicated.
Iowa State will come off the edge and they’re really pretty fast along the line, but just like any other team, they’ll get burned because they blitz.
The interior of the defensive line may not be as stout as I previously thought. There might be opportunity to move some folks around.
I’m not putting anything into the horrible passing performance by Park because I don’t think that’s reflective of what Iowa State is doing right now.
Shimonek is going to need to be calm and collected because the Cyclones will absolutely force that pocket and Shimonek has to be ready to step up and deliver the pass, but he can’t bail early.
The edge players for Iowa State really are impressive, those tackles for Texas Tech better be ready.
Iowa State proved to be a resiliant team after Oklahoma got out early.
The offensive line looks really mobile on all of these highlights. A nice mobile group for sure that is seemingly doing a really nice job of pass protection.
Those huge receivers are like watching Tim Duncan post up. That’s a real advantage.
Iowa State has more speed than you think they do. They’ve got really good athletes.
6. Coach’s Corner
I couldn’t find any quotes from teh coaches. I found video (Sometimes I hate only having video. I like words.) of the coordinators and the head coach talking about the game, but no quotes.
I think Texas Tech gets a close win here, something like 38-35. I have no idea how Texas Tech gets 38 points without a field goal and I don’t know who is going to kick it. The defense is going to have to show up in a big way this week.
|Michael||Texas Tech wins 49-28 with nightmares of last year’s 66-10 debacle in their heads the entire game.|
|Spencer||42-31 Tech. The offense is consistent enough throughout the game to not leave the defense out to dry. #DontKickTheBall|
|Brian||42-34 Tech, as the Raiders pull ahead in the 2nd quarter and the Cyclones score some near the end to make the game seem closer than it is.|
|Dan||37-27 Texas Tech. We never are trailing in the game, and Nisby scores 2 TDs.|