The Red Raiders wanted to play the Hawks in this game so much that Texas Tech had to promise to spend part of Santa Anna's gold in order to secure the Big Twelve bowl slot in the Alamo Bowl. Tech was selected over Texas A&M because they promised to sell at least 35,000 tickets. That seemed very attractive to the directors of the Alamo Bowl in the aftermath of 9/11. Therefore, Iowa will be facing a proverbial sea of red when the Black and Gold storm the field on Saturday in the 2001 Sylvania Alamo Bowl.
However, don't get the idea that the Hawks will be outmanned or outsmarted by the rebellious Red Raiders. Iowa Defensive coordinator Norm Parker has seen the Mike Leach spread offense before when Norm was DC at Vanderbilt and Mike was at OC Kentucky. So Iowa's defensive pass troops will be well schooled before the game. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that senior cornerback Matt Stockdale will be able to play in this game. His presence would be a huge emotional and physical lift for the thin Iowa D back corps.
The tale of the tape: With the Christmas Day release of the movie 'Ali', let's use boxing type charts to compare these two heavyweights:
QB: Advantage Texas Tech - The best quarterback in the Big 12 isn't Eric Crouch, it's Kliff Kingsbury. He threw for over 3,500 yards and had a 25-9 ratio of TD's to Int's. However, the gritty Kyle McCann completed 65% of his passes and can throw the deep ball to keep the defense honest. Watch out here for change of pace quarterback Brad Banks. His speed could be awesome on turf and he's been getting a lot of snaps in practice.
TEXAS TECH +2
RB: Advantage Iowa - All Betts are on here as Ladell looks to cap a great career in his swan song performance. Greving is a quality backup and watch out for the under utilized Jeremy Allen.
The Red Raiders' Ricky Williams is primarily a receiver.
WR & TE: Advantage Texas Tech - This would be even except for the loss of C.J. Jones. TT uses 3 wide receivers all catching 50 passes this year. Nine different players had 18 or more catches. Iowa counters with Kahlil Hill and Chris Oliver at WR. Tim Dodge has the speed the Hawks need to stretch the field. Hill has to STEP UP here and play like the high NFL draft choice he hopes to be. Number 44, Dallas Clark, is superior at TE. Iowa needs another receiver to rise and shine and a surprise may be in store here.
TEXAS TECH + 2
OL: Advantage Iowa - Especially now with Steinbach and Cunningahm healthy. Iowa allowed 17 sacks while rushing for 4.3 ypc. Their Texas Tech counterparts allowed 26 sacks and the running game only averaged 3.5 ypc.
DL: Advantage Iowa - All Big Ten DE Aaron Kampman leads the Iowa charge of the heavy brigade(292 avg.)He and Derrick Pickens will try to miff Kliff while Colin Cole cleans up the trash. All Big Twelve DE Aaron Hunt had 12 sacks and 18 tackles for loss for TT. However, he hasn't met Robert Gallery...yet.
LB: Advantage Iowa-Iowa linebacking corps slightly superior to their Tech counterparts. Iowa MLB's must play well here against the pass.
Steen and Barr may bring it from the outside.
DB: Advantage even - Iowa would appear to be at a disadvantage playing a walk-on CB at times instead of team leader Stockdale. If Matt plays, a huge emotional lift for the DB's. However, FS Chris Smith is fully recovered and will key the Iowa pass defense. The Erie Assasin must figure into this game, unlike the Iowa State game. Bobby Sanders must get to Kingsbury while demolishing the outside running game. A tough task for a tough guy. Bennie Sapp must use his head. TT FS Kevin Curtis, 2nd team all Big 12, made 99 tackles this year. Tech allowed 188 yards per game passing while Iowa allowed 198 ypg. Much of Iowa's pass defense woes were with a patchwork backfield. All are back now except Stockdale.
ST: Advantage Iowa - While the weak Iowa punting game could bode well for the Red Raiders, they have an achilles heel of their own as they struggle to defend kicks and punts. Kahlil Hill, are you listening? No shake leg like at ISU. Grab it and run like the wind. Look for Hill to give Iowa field position all day and to maybe take one to the HOUSE! TT KR Ivory McCann has blazing speed and Iowa call ill afford a Herb Haygood repeat. Kickers Kaeding and Treece look even.
Field: Advantage TT - Tech plays on turf and will have 35,000 plus in the stands. Iowa is used to grass and has not won on turf this year.
Intangibles: Advantage TT - Revenge and bowl experience edge here for the Red Raiders.
TT + 3
Conventional wisdom here favors the revengeful Red Raiders and the Air Kingsbury offense. However, The Shadow tells me the Iowa coaching staff has some things up their sleeves and are very well prepared. That, plus Big Ten SMASHMOUTH FOOTBALL with our healthy offensive line blowing holes for our superior running backs leads me to take the RUNNING DOG:
HAWKS 34 Red Raiders 30