Foes to Know: Iowa State

RaiderPower.com is taking a closer look at Texas Tech's 12 regular season football opponents in 2015. Senior writer Joe Yeager will spotlight two players who could pose problems for the Red Raiders. One will be on offense and the other will be from the defense. Up next in the series is Iowa State, led by receiver Quenton Bundrage (pictured above).

After a brutal three-game stretch featuring Arkansas, TCU and Baylor (shades of the old SWC), the Red Raiders return home to tackle an Iowa State team they’ve beaten three years in a row.

This year’s version of the Cyclones honestly doesn’t look much more dangerous than most of the previous versions, but this team will feature two very real strengths: the receiving corps and the secondary. The Red Raiders will need to pressure ISU’s quarterback, and be very sound in the passing game to ensure the customary win over the visitors from the north.

Offensive Player to Watch
NAMEPOSCLASSHOMETOWNHTWTNOTEWORTHY
Quenton BundrageWRSRPalmetto, FL6-2200Coming off serious knee injury

A terrible blow to the 2014 Iowa State squad will prove a terrific boon to the 2015 Cyclones. On ISU’s first offensive series of the 2014 season against North Dakota State, star receiver Quenton Bundrage went down with a knee injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season. In his absence freshman Allen Lazard rose to the occasion and had himself a fine year. Now Bundrage is healthy again, and Lazard has a year’s worth of experience under his belt. This duo will easily be one of the best in the Big 12, if not all of college football in the upcoming season.

Bundrage is a powerful and physical receiver who can make acrobatic catches in traffic, and use his frame to shield off defenders. What’s more, his speed is more than adequate. The only question is how soon he will return to 2013 form after sitting out an entire season.

In 2013 Bundrage was effective indeed, particularly in the end zone. He snagged 46 passes for 676 yards (14.7 yards per catch) and nine big touchdowns. For his efforts College Football News named him to its Sophomore All America team. If Bundrage’s knee holds up, he could pull down even more impressive hardware following the 2015 season.

Offensive Player to Watch
NAMEPOSCLASSHOMETOWNHTWTNOTEWORTHY
Nigel TribuneCBJRJacksonville, FL5-11185AP 2nd team All-Big 12 in 2014

Whereas Quenton Bundrage and Allen Lazard will comprise a potent one-two punch for ISU’s offense, Nigel Tribune will collaborate with Kamari Cotton-Moya and Sam E. Richardson to form a hostile barrier for opposing passing attacks. And in the Big 12 having guys that can cover and create turnovers is a big thing.

Any of those defensive backs would be a worthy choice as the Clones’ Defensive Player to Watch, but Tribune’s overall body of work stands him a shade above the rest. In attaining 2nd team AP All Big 12 honors a year ago, Tribune notched 64 tackles, 13 pass breakups and three interceptions, one of which came against Texas Tech.

If Tribune and his talented mates in the secondary can get a little help from the Cyclones up front—by no means a certainty—then Iowa State will field a respectable defense and one of the nation’s elite defensive backfields in 2015.

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