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Iowa State Football Post-Mortem: Texas Tech

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Dominant from start to finish

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Iowa State came into the Texas Tech game in a three-way tie for first place in the Big 12. Hard not to feel confident in that position playing against a team Matt Campbell hasn’t lost to in 4 seasons as Iowa State’s head football coach. With Oklahoma State on a bye, Iowa State had a great chance to head into Stillwater in two weeks with at least a share of the top spot of the conference, and their first 3-0 conference start since 2002. Of course, as is the Matt Campbell way, Iowa State looked impressive against the Red Raiders, and got themselves that much-needed 3-0 conference start.

What Went Right

Brock Purdy

It’s been nice to see Brock playing up to his standards after a rough start to the season. Purdy was outstanding on Saturday, hitting 32 of his 43 pass attempts, including a 16/19 start to the game. He also eclipsed 300 yards for the 1st time this season and the 10th time of his career, which is a Cyclone record. Not only was Brock effective as a whole, he was effective at spreading the ball around. Xavier Hutchinson led the team with 9 receptions, but after him, 10 other Cyclones caught at least one pass. The ball distribution, the precision, the ability to keep the defense honest with his legs; all rolled into one set up a fun afternoon for Brock Purdy in the backfield.

Defense

Speaking of having a fun afternoon... how about the Cyclone defense on Saturday? Holding a Texas Tech team KNOWN for putting up points and racking up the yards, to 8 garbage time points and a total of 270 yards (126 of which on the TD drive and the following turnover on downs drive.) This is even more impressive when you consider Texas Tech did a great job limiting the Cyclones’ pass rush (just 2 sacks on the day) by getting the ball out of the quarterbacks’ hands early. The Cyclones were this dominant by tackling well, covering well, and limiting Texas Tech’s big play ability. But let’s show a sack anyway, shall we?

Offensive Line

Alright there. I said it. The offensive line played very well (exception being the blocked kick, we’ll get to that.) Yes, there were penalties, that’s just what they do. But you know what, someone has to be responsible in helping Breece Hall be as effective as he is. And that goes out to the offensive line. They’ve been really good in some of the games past, but Saturday, they ate their dang Wheaties in the morning. 0 sacks allowed against Texas Tech, and only 4 allowed the entire season. That’s some damn good blocking for a team that’s needed good O-line play for a while. Clean up the penalties, and with the help of Brock Purdy and Breece Hall, this group *might* just end up one of the best the Cyclones have had in a while.

What Went Wrong

Special Teams

I mean, you knew it wasn’t going to be good 2 weeks in a row, right? Okay, for a majority of the game, yes, they were good. But you absolutely cannot give up a blocked field goal when you have the ball inside the opponent’s 10 yard line. I’m not entirely sure what happened, if they just thought TTU would let them kick it, or if they didn’t know what their assignments were, or what, but Tech just ran through the line and blocked it. Just that simple.

Turnover Battle

Once again, Iowa State found itself on the losing end of the turnover battle on Saturday. Not including the blocked field goal, Iowa State also lost a fumble in the second half. The defense was able to get a 4th down stop, but the fumble set the Red Raiders up in excellent field position. Turnovers like that have cost the Cyclones in the past, and hopefully those days are now behind us as we head into a bye week.

Targeting

We can argue until the cows come home on both the targeting calls that were looked at on Saturday. One, on cornerback Aric Horne, on a kickoff that wasn’t called originally, was then reviewed, and then stood as no targeting; and then the following play, safety Isheem Young was flagged, it was reviewed, and that play also stood as targeting. With the call, Young was ejected, and with it coming in the 2nd half of a game, due to NCAA rules, he will miss the first half of the Oklahoma State game. Iowa State will need a huge first half from a lot of guys on the back end to make up lost ground for a guy that’s really stepped into his role with the team this season. Really hard to replace this:

Weekly Grades

Offense: A

Defense: A+

Special Teams: C- (but hey, even Clemson had a kick blocked and returned for a touchdown on Saturday *shrugs*)

Win #3: Easy Breece-y Lemon Squeezy

Red Raiders: Routed

FB1: Jirehl Brock