Neither Iowa State (2-7, 0-6) nor Texas Tech (3-7, 1-5) expected to see their season end up like this. Before Thanksgiving, both of these Big 12 teams are out of bowl consideration and will finish with a losing record. It’s all about pride in Ames this Saturday, and for the Cyclones, keeping head coach Paul Rhoads’ hot seat cool and getting something to look forward to next season.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Iowa State Cyclones
Jack Trice Stadium | Ames, Iowa
Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 | Kickoff – 2:30 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Networks | Web: Fox Sports Go
- Players to watch
- Iowa State’s keys to victory
- Interview with Texas Tech blog Wreck ‘Em Red
- Betting updates
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Questions surround both quaterbacks heading into the game. Both Sam B. Richardson for Iowa State and Davis Webb for Texas Tech are probable, and we expect them to start. However, Richardson had the same status heading into the game against Kansas and he came out of the locker room in warm-ups. According to our interview with Wreck ‘Em Red that we posted today, they are hearing that freshman backup Patrick Mahomes, who has started the last two games, will likely get the nod again.
It’s extremely important that Iowa State gets Richardson back. Considering the Cyclones haven’t gotten their running attack going consistently at all this season, and with how backup Grant Rohach looked very shaky in the pocket against Kansas, they truly can’t afford that hit on offense again. Iowa State also needs to take advantage of any running attack they can get offensively — Texas Tech is really bad at stopping it.
As for Texas Tech, if Webb is struggling at all with his injuries, Mahones should get the nod. He actually looked pretty good against Oklahoma last week. The Red Raiders were in the game until the fourth quarter, when the Sooners absolutely ripped them apart with three straight touchdowns to seal the game.
Iowa State is just 3-9 against Texas Tech all-time, but are 2-2 in the last four games. Before losing the last two, the Cyclones beat the Red Raiders by a combined 93-45 in two games.
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What to watch for
Nov 8, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks wide receiver Tony Pierson (3) is tackled by Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Sam E. Richardson (4) in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Rhoads has even made it a key to victory himself, and Iowa State got off to another slow start against Kansas. That’s been the ugly, consistent trend of this season. After the Cyclones got up early on North Dakota State in the season opener, they always tend to fall down by a few touchdowns early in the contest.
If Iowa State is going to run the up-tempo offense, it HAS to score something in the first couple of drives. At this point, it doesn’t matter if it’s just field goals. March down the field and give the defense a reason to go out there and compete. The defense can’t win the game themselves. If Iowa State is going to win any of these final three games, it’s because the offense finally does something.
Also, how well can Texas Tech play in the cold weather? It’s actually going to be warm compared to what it was last week — below freezing and snowing all over the place. For the Red Raiders, this will be one of the coldest games they’ve played in history as they haven’t ventured up north this late in a season in over 50 years.
If you’re Iowa State, you’re hoping for a shootout. Unless the defense got completely healed up with the bye week, the secondary returns to their dominant form, and the front seven show that they can actually slow down a running attack, expect Texas Tech to get at least 35 points.
Nov 8, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Iowa State Cyclones offensive coordinator Mark Mangino on the sidelines before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
That’s why the Cyclones need to go into the game with the intentions of throwing up at least five touchdowns. What makes that equation work is to avoid another slow start. If Texas Tech scores early, they have to score with them, or it’s going to be the same crap we saw against Oklahoma and Kansas.
As the ever-positive fan I was with this team, I am finally off the wagon. The team has been too inconsistent and has deteriorated as the season progressed. How healthy is Richardson? Can any running back establish themselves as a dominant starter? Could this defense stop some high school teams playing at the UNI-Dome these last couple weeks? Who the hell knows.
If Richardson plays, expect the offense to finally have a good game. But that will depend when the offense clicks, and until Iowa State shows differently, they’ll dig another hole they simply can’t get out of.
Texas Tech 41, Iowa State 28