1. Game Links:
2. 4th and GoalS. Take me back a year and ask me if there would ever be a Texas Tech defense that would get a 4th down stop at the 1 yard line (basically, just roll with it) to force a turnover of downs on Iowa State and to force them to not score. I could imagine one in a game, but TWO in the same game? Those were just huge plays and the plays leading up to those plays to keep Iowa State out of the end zone.
The defense is the reason Texas Tech won that game and is going bowling. Yes, Texas Tech gave up yards through the air, but they did not break. They did not break. Just really happy for those players and the coaches and the staff for seeing it through, notching a win on the road against a tough opponent.
And you want to just sort of think about all of the statistics, which are largely in favor Iowa State last night, which is red zone attempts, where Texas Tech was 2-2 and Iowa State was 1-5
3. Offense Stood Up When They Had to Stand Up. When Iowa State scored with 11:18 remaining in the 4th quarter meant that not only would Texas Tech need to score on a night when they had mustered very little offense, in fact, Texas Tech only had 165 yards of total offense through the 3rd quarter and ended the game with 246.
And truthfully, it seemed that Iowa State was playing a game of field position, pinning Texas Tech deep in their own territory where there was little if no room for error for most of the game for the offense, which put additional pressure on the defense, but the offense just didn’t have a ton of room. The offense leaned heavily on Tyler Shough, the quarterback with the love-hate situation with fans it seems, didn’t flinch. Shough went 5-6 passing, carried the ball 3 times in order to put Iowa State on their toes, and led to a beautiful pass to Baylor Cupp for a touchdowns.
And with 6:10 remaining, if things went the way they were supposed to go, Texas Tech would end up getting the ball back, after Iowa State shot themselves in the foot with bad plays and penalties and the defense forcing a punt when ISU should have probably gone for it because. Texas Tech would get the ball back with 2:45 remaining and would need one first down to ice the game.
Shough would again carry the team, 3 quarterback keepers in a row, gaining a first down after two and it was church for Iowa State.
And to be clear, the fade to Cupp for the touchdown was Texas Tech doing to Iowa State what Iowa State had done for Texas Tech for what seems like a decade, a tight end, catching a pass against a much smaller defender for a touchdown. Irony or something I’m sure.
4. Some Offensive Stats If You Can Stand Them. This isn’t going to be fun or pretty, but let’s go.
- This first one is actually fine I think. Tyler Shough has a quarterback rating of 143.5 and there have only been two games where the quarterbacks had a rating of 140 or more, this game, West Virginia, and Murray State. Shough wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t mess anything up, played within himself, and didn’t turn the ball over. Just getting the quarterbacks to not be turnover machines is a huge part of winning and Shough was good.
- After that, the offensive stats aren’t great. Texas Tech only averaged 2.8 yards a rush for a net of 105 rushing yards. That botched snap in the first half sort of ruined whatever positive numbers there were and Iowa State had 3 sacks as well.
- Texas Tech only had 13 first downs all game and averaged 4.2 yards per play for the game.
- Texas Tech was terrible on 3rd downs, converting 3 of 13 (but the 3 that were converted were huge) and had trouble converting 3rd and short (1-4 yards) going just 2 of 7. Texas Tech was in 3rd and long (9+ yards to go) just 2 times and didn’t convert on either.
- The other saving grace for Texas Tech is probably the fact that they had just 1 penalty, the holding call in the second half that led to the punt that allowed ISU to score their only touchdown.
- Texas Tech only ran 20% of their plays inside the Iowa State side of the field.
5. Defensive Stats Because, Why Not.
- The defensive numbers aren’t going to look great in comparison, but just look at the final score, the defense allowed just 10 points at the end of the day. That’s impressive all on its own
- I think the focus of the defense was going to be not to allow Iowa State to run the ball and Texas Tech definitely did that. Iowa State had 43 rushing attempts and only averaged 3.0 yards per rush.
- The defense was on the field a ton, the time of possession was 36:05 for Iowa State and 23:55 for Texas Tech.
- Texas Tech couldn’t stop Iowa State from completing 3rd downs, the Cyclones were 9 of 19 (still can’t believe they lost given the numbers) and on average had to gain 8.1 yards, which is insanely long odds. On 3rd and long (9+ yards) Iowa State went 0-4. Regardless, ISU converted 6 of those 9 first downs with a pass.
- The defense had a ton of splash plays: 2 pass break-ups, 5 quarterback hurries, 2 sacks, and 7 tackles for a loss.
6. Individual Offensive Standouts. The running backs were tasked with carrying the load and it was tough sledding. Tahj Brooks had just 9 carries the entire evening for 45 yards, SaRodorick Thompson had 7 for 35, so they were averaging 5 yards a carry when they did get the ball. Shough had 14 carries for 33 yards (includes sack yardage) so he was better than the numbers indicate and when it was most important.
I think it was hugely important to get Jerand Bradley back, 4 targets and 4 catches for 26 yards aren’t big numbers, but he’s reliable. Myles Price, Nehemiah Martinez, and Xavier White carried the offense, Price had 3 for 42 and a 28 yard catch that set up that first touchdown. Martinez had 3 for 33 and was tough all night. White was 2 of 26.
7. Defensive Standouts.
- Krishon Merriweather and Jesiah Pierre were absolute badasses. They just were. Merriweather had 9 tackles, half a sack and came up huge on play after play. I don’t know if he has the speed to play in the NFL, but he makes plays.
- Pierre had 6 tackles 1.5 tackles for a loss and a quarterback hurry, and those TFL’s were both huge plays.
- It sort of gets buried, but both Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford are the heart of the defense, they are so good inside and it’s been ages since Texas Tech has had two defensive tackles that can play like this. 6 tackles for Hutchings and half a sack, Bradford had 4 tackles and 1 big TFL.
- Adrian Frye probably wasn’t 100% after getting dinged up, but you wouldn’t know it. He put his nose all over the place, 7 tackles and 1 TFL on the day with a pass break-up.
- Kobee Minor had 6 tackles!
- Kosi Eldridge had 6 tackles and a big TFL (they are all sort of big) and I thought that Reggie Pearson had a good game as well, 6 tackles and a pass break-up.
8. Idle Thoughts.
- Icing the kicker at the end of the 1st half essentially made that ISU kicker worthless for the rest of the game and the coaches couldn’t trust him as far as they could throw him. McGuire got in his head.
- Xavier Hutchinson is really good.
- Austin McNamara didn’t have his best game, but he was also kicking from some pretty bad spots. He ended up having to punt 7 times and averaged 39 yards a punt. I think this is one of those games where the ball just isn’t going to go as far with the wind and cold. Iowa State’s punter only averaged 38.4 yards a punt, so I think it was just a tough evening.
- And there were really no special teams issues, the punt blocking had to be on point and not allow any blocked punts because there were so many times that Texas Tech was punting from deep on their end of the field.
- Pretty decent chance that Iowa State lost this game because they had zero confidence in their kicker, they could have come away with points on both 4th and goal situations, but chose not to do so.
- Texas Tech averaged 4.9 yards on 1st down, so that wasn’t a huge issue, it was what was in-between. And Texas Tech had 17 1st down rushing attempts for 79 yards, 4.6 yards a carry, to only 7 pass attempts, completing 5 for 38 yards. When Texas Tech did connect, it was fine.
- The Donovan Smith touchdown run was Kliff Kingsbury-esque. Loved it.
- The cinematic recap is going to be epic.
Where we going? 🎳 🎳 🎳 pic.twitter.com/bBiOX5R34C
— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) November 20, 2022
9. Coach Comments.
“I can’t be prouder of my guys. We had two fourth-down stops inside the five. The defense played great. The offense did what they needed to do. The stat sheet on offense isn’t pretty, but W in the column for the Red Raiders is definitely pretty good.”
On veteran leadership:
“We lost maybe the best defensive player in the country who didn’t get to play in this game, Tyree Wilson, and for our guys to come out and play like they did it just shows the leadership of the old guys, I’m really proud of them to get to six
On mentality coming into the game:
“I always talk about how hard we practice and how much we’re improving. It doesn’t always show up; we had a couple weeks back-to-back where that didn’t show up. But we come back to work and have a great week of practice, so for them to be rewarded with a bowl game is huge. We ask a lot of them and we’re extremely demanding, but we like to have fun when we’re all together, too.”
On keeping warm during the game:
“I thought we had a great plan on how we were going to stay warm, from hot cocoa and chicken broth, to heated benches and Vaseline on everything. I think our equipment staff did an amazing job of having everything those guys wanted.”
10. Tortilla Tossin’ Players of the Game.
The Texas Tech defense gets this and shake in some huge credit to Tim DeRuyter, just an outstanding performance, stepped up when they had to and were just so big when it mattered.
The numbers aren’t great, but Tyler Shough and the offense did just enough. It won’t always be pretty, but just getting the win is enough for me. 15 of 21 for 141 yards and a touchdown with 14 for 33 yards on the ground.
Merriweather and Pierre along with Bradford get these 3 tortillas. They were so big. I can’t choose just one person.