It was the first time the Red Raiders lost to a Big 12 North team since 2007; the first two-game losing streak under head coach Tommy Tuberville; and the first time Tech will have to bounce back from an 0-2 conference start since doing the same in 2001.
Now the Red Raiders will try to avoid two more firsts — being under .500 for the first time since 2002 and letting Baylor (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) snap its 14-game losing streak to Tech, dating back to 1995.
"There's some good and some bad," Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown said on Sunday after watching film. "Obviously, we played really well for about 33 minutes. We just didn't make any plays the first quarter-and-a-half really. We got the ball and had some opportunities — moved the ball a little bit — but we just had a bunch of drops that shut down drives early and kind of put ourselves in a hole."
Tech (2-2, 0-2) is off to its second consecutive 2-2 start after four games. The Red Raiders never had their offense together in the early stages and allowed Iowa State to build its 24-0 lead early before rallying back behind quarterback Taylor Potts to tie the game midway through the third quarter at 24-24.
Then as Tech was beginning to move the ball once again in what would have been the go-ahead touchdown, wide receiver Detron Lewis dropped a Potts pass after holding it just long enough to count for a possession, giving the Cyclones back the ball and momentum.
"It's 24-0 and all of the sudden (Tramain) Swindall makes a play and kind of gets us going and from then on we played well," Brown said. "We scored two touchdowns and came out and basically moved the ball up and down the field. But obviously Detron's fumble, when it was 24-24, hurt us."
It did more than hurt.
Once again, it was Tech who got in the way of Tech — a problem the coaching staff hoped would have been fixed after the Red Raiders allowed bad penalties and turnovers to get in the way of their 24-14 loss two weeks ago to Texas.
While the offense sputtered and managed just 144 yards and seven points against the Longhorns, it flourished against Iowa State as Potts had arguably one of his best games statistically since becoming the starter last season.
The senior from Abilene completed 42 of 62 passes (68 percent) for 377 yards and five touchdowns, finding fellow Abilene wideout Lyle Leong nine times for 125 yards and three scores.
"Taylor played well," Brown said. "That's probably the best game he's ever played here. The thing I was really pleased about with him is he had some negative things happen to him early and in the past, he's had a hard time overcoming adversity. But he stayed super positive, he didn't let the drops bother him and he came back and overcame it, and was able to make some big-time plays."
But the offense could not keep pace in the scoring match as Iowa State totaled 290 rushing yards and another 190 through the air (480), as the Cyclones racked up their most points against a conference opponent in 38 years.
Iowa State's best statistic was where it mattered most — converting third downs. The Cyclones converted 10 of 18 third downs (55.6 percent) after coming into Saturday's game with a 38.3 third-down conversion rating.
"I'm disappointed, of course," said Tech defensive coordinator James Willis, who is in his first season as a coordinator. "We didn't play our brand of football and we didn't do anything out of the ordinary as far as what we normally do. We saw a few guys not playing within the scheme of the defense, not using proper technique and fundamentals.
"But that all goes on the coaching — something we have to make sure we focus on as far as practicing and getting the players to do the right things. It was hard to sleep last night, it really was."
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