Game Preview: Iowa State vs Texas Tech
Who: The Iowa State Cyclones and The Texas Tech Red Raiders
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas
How to watch: FS1
When: Saturday, October 21, 11 a.m.
Broadcaster Team: Aaron Goldsmith. A.J. Hawk, Danny Kanell
What pregame show to listen to: 1340 The Fan’s Countdown to Kickoff, 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 21.
I wrote this piece after the Texas Tech debacle in Ames, Iowa last season.
The thinking still stands, though it can be said, from my perspctive, that Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech have made significant strides this season toward improvement. Their rushing defense has completed a 180-degree turn. The rushing attack has also gained some steam. The offense has stalled, but losing a top-10 NFL talent will do that.
All-time, Texas Tech is 11-4 against the Cyclones, only losing back-to-back games once (in 2010 and 2011). Last year's 66-10 beatdown was the largest margin of victory, by either team, in the history of the series.
If we're talking about Kliff Kingsbury's Red Raider Redemption tour, this is a huge stop.
The Cyclones embarrassed Texas Tech last season. They kept them out of Bowl Season. They put an off-season of misery and despair on the program and got the logo revoked for the summer.
THE RUSHING QUANDRY
This game is a chance for Texas Tech to prove its rush defense is legit. No, the Cyclones don't have a great rushing attack, but they have a history of steamrolling the Red Raiders on the ground. David Montgomery is also one of the shiftiest backs in the Big 12. Joel Lanning, reformed quarterback/current linebacker and running specialist, is also licking his chops to repeat last years performance.
The Red Raiders already slayed the Kalen Ballage dragon. Now, it's time to take out the Iowa State rushing attack.
WILL THE REAL SHIM SHADY PLEASE STAND UP?
The Red Raiders also need to repeat the first half they had against the Mountaineers, and keep it up in the second half. Nic Shimonek looked like an NFL prospect in the first half last week before regressing back to the gun shy quarterback he's been at times. Shimonek needs to find and keep the pocket presence he showed against WVU in the first half if the Red Raiders are going to win this game.
If Shimonek can gain some confidence behind this steadily improving offensive line, the Red Raider offense could be dangerous. Without Shimonek playing well, the offense will be just above average -- which is good, but not good enough.
Allen Lazard hasn't put up the stats he expected to, but he's a bonafide star for Iowa State who will make plays against a secondary that's been susceptible against the passing games this season.
The Red Raiders' pass defense is dead last in the Big 12, giving up 300-plus yards a game, while Iowa State averages right under 300 yards a game passing.
If the Red Raiders can shut down Lazard, they should be able to shut down the Cyclones' surprising offense.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR SPECIAL TEAMS IS NOT SPECIAL
Kliff Kingsbury might go for it on every single 4th down on Saturday.
I wouldn't be upset if he did.
The Red Raiders are going to win this game, whether they cover is the question.
The line in Las Vegas is sitting at -7 for the Red Raiders after opening at -4.5. The O/U is set at 68.5.
I'll take the Over and Iowa State to cover, but lose to the Red Raiders, 41-38.