Texas Tech's win over Iowa State was a strange one. In many areas, the Red Raiders were utterly dominant. In others, they were very good. But on special teams, they were borderline incompetent. This week's report card reflects Tech's schizophrenia.
Quarterbacks: If nothing else, Davis Webb proved that he is capable of leading the Red Raiders for an entire four quarters. Hitherto, his longest stretch of play was just under two quarters, when he took over for injured Baker Mayfield against TCU. But it was Webb's show from start to finish against Iowa State and the offense's productivity was very good. There's no doubt that Webb has a gun; again and again he stuck the ball in tight spaces against close coverage, beating double- and sometimes triple-coverage. His lone interception was a bad one; he either didn't see the linebacker or didn't loft the ball high enough to drop it in behind him. Webb also missed Eric Ward and Bradley Marquez deep for what should have been touchdowns.
Running Backs: Kenny Williams and Deandre Washington finally made major contributions to Tech's cause. Between them they rushed for 168 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per tote. Washington's improvement was the most dramatic. He is supposed to be able to make people miss and he did just that against ISU. Sadale Foster's performance likely guaranteed that he will remain at running back the rest of the season. His speed and vision are what separate him from other backs. Foster had a long TD run against West Virginia last year and broke one for 38 yards against the Cyclones. He is Tech's home run hitter in the backfield.
Receivers: There were a few drops, chiefly by Jace Amaro and Jakeem Grant, but this group compensated with play that was both steady and spectacular. Amaro had a monster receiving game with nine grabs for 143 yards, but his devastating blocking was even more impressive. Grant was on pace to have a career day before a bang on the noggin sent him to the sideline. Eric Ward had his second good game in a row, and Bradley Marquez hauled in yet another critical touchdown on a fade pattern.
Offensive Line: Forget about a couple of sacks early in the game; this is the kind of performance from the offensive line we've all been hoping for. Pressure on Davis Webb was almost nonexistent, and running lanes for Tech ball-carriers were abundant. The line was aided by ISU's conservative drop-and-cover scheme, but the blocking was still impressive. Le'Raven Clark looked like the All American type he's been touted as, and Beau Carpenter's presence is making a world of difference. Also noteworthy, penalties were not a major problem.
Defensive Line: The defensive line started the season strongly, and just keeps getting better and better. Its performance against Iowa State was a true exclamation point. Kerry Hyder had his signature game and showed why he is without doubt Tech's best interior defensive lineman since Gabe Rivera. Branden Jackson had the best game of his Red Raider career, and when Dartwan Bush left the game with an injury, there was no drop-off in performance. Jackson Richards, Demetrius Alston and Dennell Wesley all saw lots of snaps and played solidly.
Linebackers: The line took care of so much stuff right that there wasn't very much left over for the linebackers. Nevertheless, Will Smith chipped in with six tackles, Sam Eguavoen was right behind him with five, and all of the linebackers were involved in the pass rush as Matt Wallerstedt dialed up many a blitz. Austin Stewart, however, was the only linebacker to record a sack. He makes things happen when he's on the field. Micah Awe dropped an interception that would have salted the game away.
Secondary: The secondary did everything except intercept Sam Richardson. As it was, the Iowa State signal caller completed only 15 of 38 passes, and Tech held the Cyclones to 38 passing yards in the first half. Wallerstedt left Tech's corners on an island much of the game, and Ola Falemi and Bruce Jones were up to the task although neither was credited with a pass breakup. Tre Porter had a decent all-around game, and Tanner Jacobson seemed to have problems with the speed of the game early on, but settled in well and had a solid outing.
Special Teams: The only things preventing a failing grade here were the foiled fake field goal and Ryan Erxleben's punting. Everything else was terrible.
Iowa State Report Card
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