Iowa State (4-6, 1-6) at Texas Tech (5-5,3-4)
Date: November 19th, 2022
Time: 6:00 PM
Place: Jack Trice Stadium
Line: Iowa State -3
When we last left off...
If you’re reading this, you already know what happened. Iowa State went down to Stillwater and, incredibly, put up their worst offensive performance of the season amid a slew of offensively inept performances. The Cyclones committed five turnovers, including three interceptions for Hunter Dekkers.
Despite the ridiculous task that was asked of Jon Heacock’s defense, they turned in yet another astounding performance (outside of one busted play where a backup safety got burnt deep). Heacock was nominated this week for the Broyles Award, which is given to the nation’s best assistant coach, and he figures to be a favorite to take home the prize.
Texas Tech Tidbits
Under first-year head coach Joey McGuire, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have been...fine. They currently sit at 5-5 overall with a pretty solid defense. But while the defense is better than your typical Tech defense, the offense has been inconsistent, largely due to a revolving door at quarterback centering on Tyler Shough, Behren Morton, and Donovan Smith.
Texas Tech owns the all-time series 12-8, but last year’s win in Lubbock was their first while Matt Campbell has been at Iowa State after the Cyclones took five in a row from 2016 to 2020.
Iowa State Offense
Everything is terrible. The offensive line can’t block anything, the running backs are basically all hurt and/or struggling, the wide receivers (outside of Xavier Hutchinson) are dropping an excruciating number of passes, and Hunter Dekkers has been consistently inconsistent, with peaks and valleys ranging from “not bad” to “how does this guy still have the starting job” on a near play-by-play basis.
Instead of wading further into this molten pit of sadness and broken dreams, let’s just enjoy a video from another game, the result of which has approximately a -37% chance of being replicated this Saturday.
Texas Tech Defense
Overall, the Texas Tech defense is solid, but not spectacular. The Red Raiders rank right about the dead middle of college football in most defensive metrics and don’t do anything particularly poorly or particularly well. They just sort of keep the rest of the team afloat while the offense tries to get something figured out.
However, they do have a star on defense worth pointing out here that will almost certainly give the Cyclone offense some trouble. public enemy number one is linebacker Tyree Wilson, a former Texas A&M transfer that’s had a great season so far for the Red Raiders, sitting third on the team in tackles with 36, and first on the team in tackles for loss and sacks with fourteen and seven, respectively. If you’re into mathematics, that means almost 40% of his tackles happen behind the line of scrimmage.
Verdict - Texas Tech
We’ve seen this movie before. Iowa State is taking on a defense that can be vulnerable, especially to deep throws, and could theoretically present an opportunity to be efficient and effective on offense.
If you’re betting on Iowa State figuring it out on offense this week, then I admire your courage. After a second offensive pants-shitting immediately following a promising game, I’m all the way out on the Cyclone offense until they either prove that they’ve figured something out and can do it on a consistent basis or some personnel change is made, either on the field or off it. Until that happens, I’d cap the offensive output for the Cyclones at 14 points and go from there.
Iowa State Defense
There’s not a lot more I can say about this defense, which is safely one of the five best in college football. After losing Mike Rose, Jake Hummel, Enyi Uwazurike, Greg Eisworth, and Isheem Young after the 2021 season, Jon Heacock has somehow put an even better defense on the field in 2022 with a younger group of players. Here’s a rough visual representation of what I expect the Cyclone defense to look like against Texas Tech:
Texas Tech Offense
As mentioned before, the quarterback position has been a “by committee” situation, with Donovan Smith playing all 10 games, Behren playing 8 games, and Tyler Shough playing 4 games. Overall, the Red Raider offense is mostly unspectacular, ranking near or just below average in most offensive categories. The primary trait of the Texas Tech offense is really their tempo, ranking third in pass attempts per game and twenty-eighth in running attempts, meaning their offense is on the field quite a bit, and likes to move quickly.
Sarodorick Thompson is back once again to lead the rushing attack, and has been solid, leading the team at 5.3 yards per carry among players with more than twenty carries on the season. His duties are split almost a perfect 50/50 with Tahj Brooks, who is averaging a respectable 4.7 yards per carry himself.
The pass catchers are highlighted by Xavier White and Myles Price, who are both tied for the team lead in catches. Xavier White averages 9.8 yards per catch, so expect to see him utilized underneath on crossing routes and in bubble screens. Their best big play threat is Trey Cleveland, so keep an eye on him if the Red Raiders attempt to throw deep on the Iowa State defense.
Verdict - Iowa State by a wide margin
This isn’t meant as any disrespect to Texas Tech’s offense, but I would absolutely shocked if Texas Tech is able to get anywhere near their 34.0 points per game scoring average. In fact, if they got half that total, I would consider it a win if I’m a Tech fan. Jon Heacock’s unit is just so damn good, holding every single opponent this season below their season scoring average, and most by a touchdown or more.
Not in Jon’s house.
We blocked a punt last week!
But we also missed another field goal and had a few really bad punts.
Verdict - Texas Tech
The beatings will continue until morale improves.
Winning Scale from 1 to 10
On a scale of household pets ranging from a tarantula to dogs, I’m gonna give this a parrot’s shot of winning. Parrots can be super cool, and it’s fun to teach them different phrases and cuss words, but eventually you’re going to get tired of it and someday it’s going to repeat something you don’t want it to repeat in front of someone you don’t want it repeated in front of, and suddenly now Christmas is ruined for everyone and your wife has left you and you’re stuck ferrying kids back and forth between family Christmas parties until you go home alone and eat leftover pizza while you watch Die Hard for the third time that week and try to fight people online about it being a Christmas movie even though almost nobody disagrees with you.
Will the Iowa State offense show up? I have no idea. It’s safe to assume that the Iowa State defense will once again have the team in a position to secure a victory on their final offensive drive of the game. What happens from there on out is anybody’s guess.
Iowa State - 13
Texas Tech - 17