Don't Expect Much Defense in Ames

Texas Tech takes on Iowa State 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA. The Red Raiders (3-7, 1-6 in Big 12) and Cyclones (2-7, 0-6) own two of the worst defenses in thecountry.

KEY IOWA STATE STATS
CATEGORYSTATISTICNAT'L RANK
POINTS PER GAME24.4No. 95
RUSHING YARDS PER GAME111.7No. 116
TOTAL YARDS PER GAME361.7No. 100
SACKS 12No. 116
POINTS ALLOWED PER GAME37.8No. 117
YARDS ALLOWED PER GAME495No. 118
FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE88.9No. 6


As one can easily tell by looking at the statistics, the Iowa State Cyclones don’t do anything well except kick field goals. On offense, they cannot run the football and their passing game is borderline inept. And that’s the good side of the ball! Defensively, ISU cannot stop the run or rush the passer. What’s more, they don’t stop anybody on third down and put up little resistance inside the red zone.

Cakewalk city for the Red Raiders, right?

Well, not necessarily. As we all know, Texas Tech isn't about to make anybody forget the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Still, unlike Iowa State, the Red Raiders do have a couple of jacks, if not aces up their sleeves, if they’re willing to play them.

At this point in the season it is probably pointless to expect Tech to actually utilize its greatest offensive strength by far, the running game, but the affair in Ames cries out for Kliff Kingsbury to concern himself with winning rather than impressing receiver recruits. That means, of course, giving the Cyclones a heavy dose of Deandre Washington and Justin Stockton, and ideally, starting Pat Mahomes at quarterback, and letting him do a Collin Klein number on the ISU defense.

This option is there for the taking, and aside from making the most sense for Tech’s offense, would allow the beleaguered Red Raider defense to rest on the sidelines and lick wounds inflicted over the course of a brutal season. But because this course of action makes so much sense, it is likely we won’t see it.

Defensively, Tech will finally see an offense that cannot simply steamroll the Red Raiders with the rushing attack. ISU is No. 116 nationally in rushing yards per game, so if Tech can’t slow down the Cyclone ground game there’s nothing more to be said.

On the other hand, however, starting quarterback Sam Richardson returns to the Iowa State fold after having sat the loss to Kansas with a shoulder injury. Richardson is a gamer and a good athlete. He can make plays with his legs and is a competent passer. Consequently, the Red Raiders will have at least one Cyclone to worry about.

But at times Tech’s pass rush has been decent this season, so it is exceedingly likely that defensive coordinator Mike Smith will try to heat Richardson up and ascertain the integrity of his shoulder.

Do not be surprised if this game is a tale of two halves. The Red Raiders have been a fairly strong first-quarter team all season, and there is every reason to believe that Tech will jump on the Cyclones early. What’s more, I would expect the Red Raiders to extend dominance through the second quarter and lead by a wide margin at halftime.

But Tech’s defense is simply not reliable, and quarterback Richardson is the kind of player who can catch fire. Therefore, expect the Cyclones to stage a furious rally in the second half, which will make the game uncomfortably close. But in the end, there is no excuse for the Red Raiders not winning this one.



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