The Iowa State Cyclones will travel to Lubbock this weekend for a Big 12 clash with the No. 19 Texas Tech Red Raiders, who shocked the college football world by upsetting Oklahoma last weekend in Norman.
Iowa State has lost four consecutive games, marring a 3-0 start that included wins over Iowa and Connecticut. The Cyclones got off to a slow start in a 33-17 loss to Texas A&M last weekend, prompting a change at quarterback. Iowa State will look to turn around its season in Lubbock, and following the matchup with the Red Raiders, will return home to host Kansas and Oklahoma State in successive weeks.
Texas Tech's 41-38 win over the Sooners not only shook up the BCS picture, but vaulted the Red Raiders into the national polls and into the thick of the Big 12 title race.
"It just proves the fact that we can be really good," said quarterback Seth Doege at his weekly press conference Monday. "If we prepare and put in the work each week and go out there and execute a game plan like we know how and everybody does their job, then we can be a pretty good football team."
There is a lot of football to be played however, and Texas Tech will try to become bowl eligible this weekend against the Cyclones. There is a gauntlet waiting the Red Raiders in November, with Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Baylor all on the schedule to conclude the season.
Texas Tech leads the series 7-2 thanks to wins in three of the last four matchups.
Iowa State has scored just 34 points in its last two games, and Texas A&M held the Cyclones to just 305 total yards, including 180 through the air. Jared Bennett replaced starter Steele Jantz after a dismal showing on the team's first three drives, and finished 16-of-36 for 180 yards, and added 66 yards on 13 carries on the ground. Iowa State averages 223.8 yards passing per game, and are 90th in points (23.1). Steele has been up and down this season, throwing for 1,322 yards and 10 touchdowns against nine interceptions, and that inconsistency has led to a change under center. Barnett will start Saturday against the Red Raiders. Darius Reynolds leads the team with 29 catches for 529 yards and six touchdowns. The running game is keyed by James White, who averages 63.4 yards per game. White rushed for 148 yards against Baylor in early October, and followed with 121 yards combined the past two games against Missouri and Texas A&M. He has scored six touchdowns this season.
Iowa State's defense is anchored by linebacker Jake Knott, who is second in the Big 12 with 66 tackles. The Cyclones have given up over 500 yards of total offense the past two games, including 263 yards passing and 247 yards rushing to Texas A&M last weekend. Iowa State has particularly struggled to stop the run this season, ranking 114th in the country by allowing 222.1 yards per game; overall Iowa State is also near the bottom nationally in total defense (456.1, 112), scoring defense (35.8, 115th) and turnover margin (-1.1, 115).
Iowa State's pass defense allows 234 yards per game, and that figure could be much higher this weekend when it meets Texas Tech's explosive passing game.
Led by Doege, the Red Raiders posted 572 yards of total offense on an excellent Oklahoma defense last weekend ion Norman. Doege threw for 441 yards and four TDs and more importantly, no interception. Doege has thrown for over 2,608 yards and 22 touchdowns with just four interceptions this season, as Texas Tech ranks third in the nation in passing (383.7), fifth in total offense (539.2) and ninth in scoring offense (43.4).
"I never imagined any quarterback playing better than that. He's played light's out," said Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville at his weekly press conference Monday. "Other than last week, the few mistakes he made, he's been there for us all year long. We haven't been good on defense. We've given up a lot of points and been able to outscore five people. A lot of it is because of the offense and how they've done it, and Seth has done that."
Alex Torres and Eric Ward have been viable threats at receiver; Torres has caught 39 passes for 475 yards and four touchdowns this season, while Ward has chipped in 44 catches for 430 yards and eight scores.
Leading rusher Eric Stephens has been sidelined the past two weeks, but DeAndre Washington and Aaron Crawford have added depth at the position, and combined for 146 yards rushing against the Sooners.
The Texas Tech defense enabled the Red Raiders to build a lead and hold on last weekend for the upset, despite over 500 yards of total offense posted by the Sooners. Texas Tech had two takeaways in the game, and held Oklahoma to five-of-17 on third down. On the year, Texas Tech is allowing 425.1 yards of total offense per game (205.4 rush, 219.7 pass). Texas Tech gives up a lot of points, as opponents have scored 34 points or more in each of the last five games. D.J. Johnson has been a key cog for the unit, leading the team in both tackles (43) and interceptions (2).