Ten Things: Iowa State 31, Texas Tech 15

1. Hello Darkness, My Old Friend. The end part of this Simon and Garfunkel classic is something to the effect of, “But my words like silent raindrops fell and echoed in the wells of silence.” At this point, I somewhat feel like I’m speaking into the wind. I don’t know that my words really make anything better at this point. It is frustrating and I don’t think that things are going to change, much, if at all.

One of the things that I tend to do is I don’t look at any of the coach or player quotes until I’m pretty much finished with the Ten Things. I also intentionally don’t get on Twitter. I don’t really want to be particularly influenced by what people are saying.

* Box Score
* Notes

2. Complete Ineptitude. For mostly 3 quarters, the Texas Tech offense and defense were absolutely inept. At some point, I wrote in my notebook that Iowa State had over 500 yards of offense and Texas Tech had 95 with I think a quarter remaining. And that was well into the 3rd quarter. I can understand if you complain about the offense. I can understand if you complain about the defense. I can understand if you complain about both.

That was the worst offensive performance and possibly the worst quarterback performance by Alan Bowman that I can recall. Well, Jackson Tyner was worse, but this for nearly the course of the game was an absolute disaster. I have never seen a quarterback throw so many screen or swing passes and intentionally never looking downfield. Bowman was 13 of 22 for 97 yards, 4.4 yards per attempt, and an offense that could not muster 100 yards through 3 quarters.

And the defense had no answer for the Iowa State offense. Iowa State was averaging 6.4 yards a play compared to 3.1 for Texas Tech. The Iowa State offense was one step ahead of Texas Tech for pretty much the entire game. When the Texas Tech defense went man coverage, they took advantage of the passing game. When Texas Tech went to zone, Iowa State took advantage of the running game. No answer.

3. Distressing Statistics. I’m sure you need some bad stats . . . Texas Tech never converted a third down, 0-10 . . . Iowa State ended up converting 6 of 14 . . . in fact, on those third downs, Texas Tech averaged 6.2 yards to go and gained 1.6, which means the plays that they ran were absolutely terrible, while Iowa State averaged 8 yards to go on third downs and gained an average of 6.8, which means they really converted some big third downs . . . Texas Tech averaged 6.1 yards on first down and Iowa State averaged 6.2, the difference in the game was the plays in-between . . . Texas Tech is no longer allowing 100% scoring in the red zone as Texas Tech blocked a punt for a touchdown, but other than that, ISU was 5 of 6 . . . Texas Tech held onto the ball for 19 minutes compared to 41 minutes for the Cyclones . . . Iowa State ran 86 plays and Texas Tech ran 56 . . .

4. Long Term. I’ve written this before and I’m sort of sticking with this, which is that there’s not a lot that’s probably going to happen with the head coaching position. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, I think that Kingsbury is still getting paid off, and to add yet another contract to get paid off in the middle of a pandemic when the school budget has been greatly reduced just isn’t going to be realistic. Send your emails or postcards or whatever you want, but for me personally, I just don’t see anything happening this year. If it does, that would actually probably be great, but I’m not expecting anything like that.

5. Quarterback Change. I wrote before the game that I thought that Alan Bowman gave Texas Tech the best chance to win most likely and I’m ready to completely walk that back. I cannot say as to the reason for the disconnect, but Bowman really didn’t attempt a pass longer than 10 yards (other than that ridiculous heave into the end zone on 4th down) and I wasn’t even sure if there were outside receivers playing yesterday. But whatever that was yesterday wasn’t acceptable and I don’t know if that was Bowman or Yost or maybe both. I get the feeling that Bowman did exactly what Yost said to do, which is that if Iowa State dropped 8, then take the easy stuff, the swing passes and the short tight end attempts. Well, Iowa State was clearly ready for that and that was apparently the plan. ISU bottled up everything and tackled well.

I’m not sure what’s happening in Bowman’s head. He’s probably a smart kid and and he knows the offense, but I’m thinking there has to be some creativity and Bowman wasn’t having any of it. The old tired idea of the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result felt appropriate here.

6. Columbi’s Turn. Yeah, I’m probably good with Henry Columbi taking a turn at starting. I don’t know how hard Iowa State was trying given the lateness of Columbi entering the game and Iowa State was probably just playing a lot of prevent defense to an extnet, but it cannot be worse than what we saw with Bowman at the helm. Columbi actually threw the ball at the wide receivers, ran the ball when things weren’t open and at the very least tried something that maybe wasn’t on script. I’m guessing that with Columbi, you’ll probably get the good with the bad, like he took a sack, but then he did his best to make it up. It will most likely be uneven, but at the very least, it won’t be mechanical in that the same thing happens and the result doesn’t change. Columbi was 10 of 12, one of those misses was seemingly a touchdown, but then finished it the very next play, for 115 yards, which is good for 9.6 yards per attempt with the lone offensive touchdown of the game. Bowman averaged 4.4 yards an attempt, so it’s clear that Bowman just isn’t looking down the field and Columbi is. Columbi is probably a better answer right now, but take today’s performance with a grain of salt. It was significantly better than Bowman’s and I’m happy to be cautiously optimistic.

7. Defensive Issues. I’ve already picked on Bowman to an extent and I would also like to add Eric Monroe to the list as well. I do not like singling out particular players, but there seemed to be many opportunities when Monroe could make a play, but decided not to make a play. This is one of those times where the number of tackles is probably not indicative of how a player played. Monroe had 12 tackles and he did have “a” nice hit to cause the fumble late, but Iowa State was clearly picking on Monroe and although I wasn’t in the booth with the offensive coordinator, but it sure did feel like he was a target. In the second quarter, it felt like ISU was throwing the ball to whatever tight end that Monroe was supposed to cover. There was also that point in the first quarter where Breece Hall hurdled a defender that was really just diving and that defender was Monroe.

I’m still not really pleased with the safety play overall because I’ve had my issues with Thomas Leggett in coverage (which have been better), but there are apparently no other options because Monroe and Leggett get a ton of playing time and I do not enjoy watching them play. I long for the days of Jah’Shawn Johnson and Cody Davis.

The other defensive issues can probably be related to the idea that the offense couldn’t stay out on the field for any sustained period of time. Until Columbi came into the game, Texas Tech’s longest drive was 2:36 that ended in a punt. For the most part, Texas Tech’s drives averaged about a minute and a half (I’m not going to go and average the time, this is just a guess). I did do the math and Texas Tech’s drives under Bowman averaged 4 plays a drive for the first 9 drives (this does not include the blocked punt for a touchdown, which is technically an offensive possession).

8. Iowa State Has Zigged When Everyone Else Has Zagged. I think the Iowa State offense is something that Wells wants to implement and this would actually make me happy to an extent. It felt as if Iowa State was in a 3-tight end set for a majority of the game and Texas Tech simply didn’t have an answer to stopping the run or stopping those tight ends. John Holcomb is a year away, but I do like him as a prospect, he just lacks strength, while Travis Koontz is struggling to be an option. While everyone else in the country has fallen in love with the spread offense, Iowa State tried to find a market inefficiency and exploit that. Again, Wells has recruited two tight ends for the 2021 class, so I thin this is where he wants the offense to go, it’s just not there yet. I don’t know that it will ever get there, but I think that’s what Wells is going after. Iowa State has been able to implement it faster because Campbell has been at Iowa State longer.

9. Head Coach Matt Wells. I don’t know that I believe the running game is going to magically open up without some sort of effective passing game, especially with Iowa State, and in this circumstance, I think that the lack of the running game was completely dependent upon the passing game being ineffective. The press conference ended with Wells talking about how getting the turnover, the forced fumble, and then going 3 and out and being disappointed with that result, and, well, that result was a likely result, the 3 and out, because that had been the result for the previous 6 drives, all of which resulted in a punt. Not making a change when there might have been a momentum shift seemed, well, inappropriate.

Opening statement:

“Credit to Iowa State. They came out and took it to us. The field goal block there early in the game, huge play, nice play by our d-line getting a hand up. But we struggled on offense. Couldn’t get the running game going and that made us very, very one-dimensional. Obviously we didn’t do that good enough either. I think we left the defense out there too long. We got tired at times. We’ve got to be able to get off the field on third down. We struggled with that. Offensively, we didn’t help the defense one bit in terms of trying to prolong a drive and trying to stay on the field.”

On the quarterback situation moving forward:

“We’ll evaluate that the next couple days. David (Yost) and I and the offensive staff.”

On starting quarterback Alan Bowman:

“I think we struggled just getting guys open, getting them in front of safeties or behind safeties. The run game did not help him at all. We’ve got to be able to open up the run game or it’s just going to become a throw fest and at some point we’ve got to take into consideration your defense is struggling and try to run the ball and at least establish the run. That’s not something we really wanted to do is get back into a full-out drop back pass game.”

On the decision to bring quarterback Henry Colombi into the game:

“I thought we needed a spark at the end of the third, the beginning of the fourth quarter. That’s probably the main position to be able to give us a spark is to put Henry in, and I think he responded well. We protected him, we made some catches for him. He did a nice job moving the ball.”

10. Up Next. Lucky for you, you’ve got a week off in terms of a game as Texas Tech has a bye week. After that, Texas Tech will host West Virginia in Lubbock on October 24th.


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