AMES, Iowa — Surely this is not the road trip Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville envisioned when he started the week.
There were three things Tuberville wanted out of his team this week that were not present in Tech's 24-14 loss to Texas two weeks ago: A complete game performance; no dumb mistakes and turnovers; and a better running game.
Consider it a three-and-out in that aspect.
Tech (2-2, 0-2 Big 12) never had a running game going early and watched Iowa State jump out to a 24-0 lead and rally after a Detron Lewis fumble to beat Tech, 52-38, for just the second time since 1996.
Iowa State (3-2, 1-1) outscored the Red Raiders 28-14 in the final 30 minutes, scoring the most points on Tech since Texas A&M beat Tech, 52-30, last season in Lubbock.
The Red Raiders begin conference play 0-2 for the first time since 2001.
After its first five drives resulted in nothing but frustration, 68 yards and a 24-0 deficit, Tech switched into its pass-happy gear and drove down Iowa State's throat 75 yards for its first touchdown.
Yes, Potts was in the zone, getting the chance to throw all over the field on the drive that may turn the game around. Potts went 7 of 7 for 58 yards and the TD, then completed a 20-yard TD to Lyle Leong to make it 24-14 before the break after Iowa State's bad snap on a punt.
Before the 75-yard drive, Potts was a dismal 8 of 14 for 52 yards while the offense could get nothing going on the ground game — 10 rushes for 16 yards.
Call me crazy, but I'm thinking the passing game is still this unit's forte until Tuberville gets his running personnel in Lubbock over the next two years.
The Red Raiders continued its comeback through the third quarter, getting a field goal and 21-yard touchdown to Leong to tie the score at 24 with 5:25 left in the third quarter.
But then it shifted on Lewis' fumble after a completed pass over the middle from Potts and Tech's defense suddenly had the deer-in-headlights look once again.
Iowa State simplified its offense, running the ball up the middle with success and moving downfield into the fourth quarter with the game still tied.
But the Cyclones continued to run it on third downs, converting three – the final a play-action pass to make it a 14-point game with just 3:40 left.
After a 26-yard TD Leong — his third of the game — made it 45-38, Tech's onside kick attempt went completely wrong as Jeremy Reeves recovered the attempt and ran it back 42 yards to ice the game.
Potts was nearly flawless after the bad start and poor play calling — completing 34 of 48 passes for 325 yards and five touchdowns after an 8 of 14 start. He ended the game with 377 yards.
But Tuberville and Tech will look back and see four glaring statistics in this game: seven penalties for 66 yards; three turnovers; 10 of 18 third-down conversions allowed; and allowed 50 rushes for 251 yards.
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