Iowa State will roll into Lubbock to kick off two straight games away from Jack Trice Stadium. Yes, everything about the beginning slate of conference play screams 0-3 for the Cyclones. But not many people gave the team a chance in their last game at Jones AT&T Stadium, and that quickly became one of the best games Iowa State has ever played on a football field.
2012 Texas Tech quick recap
The problem for the Red Raiders last season was the same problem they had since Tommy Tuberville took over — their opponents continue to outrun them. They were ranked 76th nationally in rush defense, one notch above Iowa State, giving up 175.54 yards on the ground per game. If you recall, the Cyclones had plenty of problems stopping the run last season (and anything really once Jake Knott got banged up), so it’s easy to see how much this team struggled with it as well.
Only Iowa State and West Virginia in the Big 12 couldn’t put more than 14 points on the board against Texas Tech. Everyone else put up 31 points or more in the conference. The Red Raiders gave up over 50 points four separate times. They defeated Minnesota, 34-31, in their bowl game, but the fans have to be hungry for a lot more after being used to nine-win seasons under Mike Leach.
Projecting the Red Raiders
It’s hard to know what to expect know that Tuberville has bolted and former quarterback Kliff Kingsbury making his head coaching debut. He worked with Johnny Manziel during his brief stint with Texas A&M as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season. The same high-flying passing attack should be good and well this season, and it will be interesting to see if either Michael Brewer or true freshman Davis Webb will be under center for the season.
Most expect the Red Raiders to finish in the bottom half of the league this season, and that will likely be the case with a defense that may have problems in the secondary now. Four seniors were lost from last season. It will be up to some younger players with experience to step up both on the line and backing it up to generate pass rush, or else they’ll be in shootouts all season long.
Too early analysis
Both squads have played some pretty strange, unpredictable games in their last couple meetings. It’s hard to tell exactly what could be in store for this season’s matchup, but what holds true for the Cyclones is that this will be their best chance for a win in their four-game gauntlet against the former Big 12 South to start the conference season.