Photo By Steven Chapman

Report Card: Texas Tech 66, Iowa State 31

RaiderPower.com senior writer Joe Yeager grades every Texas Tech position group on its performance in the 66-31 victory over Iowa State on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock (Tex.).

Quarterbacks

If there’s a college football player more fun to watch than Patrick Mahomes, I don’t know who it would be. Against Iowa State, as has been the case with most of the teams he has faced, Mahomes was deadliest precisely when he seemed dead in the water. On those occasions when the Cyclones managed to pressure Mahomes, he miraculously eluded the pressure and delivered intermediate and deep strikes to tremendous effect. One can only guess at Iowa State’s frustration. Davis Webb looked solid in backup duty, leading Tech to a touchdown. No Tech quarterback threw an interception. Grade: A

Running Backs

DeAndre Washington, Justin Stockton and Demarcus Felton were all very effective. Washington had a workmanlike day, but scored one touchdown rushing and another receiving. Stockton bounced back from a subpar effort against Baylor with 101 rushing yards and a touchdown on only seven carries. Felton made the case for a bit more playing time with an impressive 53-yard touchdown run. There were no fumbles from this group either. Grade: A

Receivers

Tech’s receivers played an outstanding game regardless of the circumstances, but when one considers that three starters coming into the season—Dylan Cantrell, Ian Sadler and Devin Lauderdale—didn’t even play, the performance becomes downright remarkable. To begin with, there was only one clear dropped pass, although a tougher critic might score Zach Austin with a drop in the end zone. Second, downfield blocking was just about as good (Ja’Deion High and Tony Brown were particular standouts) as I’ve ever seen from Tech receivers, and that’s saying a mouthful. On top of this the receivers were explosive and demonstrated high skill with several terrific catches. One couldn’t ask for much more. Grade: A+

Offensive Line

Iowa State entered the game ranked No. 10 nationally in sacks per game, but got only one against Tech, and required an intentional grounding call to get it. Dale Pierson, one of the fiercest pass rushers in the Big 12, was totally negated mostly by Le’Raven Clark. So pass protection was more than solid. Run blocking was a bit inconsistent, but still good enough to spring Tech rushers for 261 yards on the ground and 8.4 yards per carry. Draw plays and off-tackle runs were bread and butter on this day. Grade: A

Defensive Line

The bottom line is that Tech surrendered 315 rushing yards and 31 points, while allowing unheralded freshman Mike Warren to ramble for 245 yards on only 23 carries. Yes, the line and the defense played much better in the second half, but if the Red Raiders are to move into the Big 12’s upper echelon one good half of defensive football isn’t good enough. Bright spots were Gary Moore’s two sacks, and the fact that Breiden Fehoko flashed at times. Still, there is much work to do with this group. Grade: D+

Linebackers

Dakota Allen and Micah Awe were the only starters at linebacker against ISU, and both were on the field almost constantly. Unsurprisingly, this duo led the team in tackles with 11 and nine respectively. Freshman D’vonta Hinton also saw lots of action and recorded three tackles, although he also missed a tackle, trying to butt a player down rather than wrap him up. With the improvement of Gary Moore at defensive end, one wonders if moving Pete Robertson back to linebacker might be a good idea, just to get the most effective players on the field at the same time. A front six of Fehoko, Levy, Jackson, Moore, Awe and Robertson could be interesting. Grade: D

Photo By Steven Chapman

Secondary

This was perhaps the secondary’s best performance of the season. Cyclone quarterback Sam Richardson completed only 10 of 21 passes for 139 yards with three interceptions and one touchdown. J.J. Gaines pilfered two of Richardson’s offerings, while Tevin Madison nabbed another in addition to breaking up three passes. Madison, Nigel Bethel, Paul Banks and Thierry Nguema all did good work in coverage. Keenon Ward did not start, and didn’t scratch on the stat sheet either. Grade: A

Special Teams

Not a banner day for this unit. Outside of Clayton Hatfield’s short field goal and Taylor Symmank’s punting, Red Raider special teams were outplayed by Iowa State’s. Jakeem Grant got no blocking on kickoff returns and averaged only 11 yards on two returns. Cameron Batson failed to fair catch a punt in the fourth quarter and it cost Tech at least 10 yards in field position. The Red Raiders also allowed a 33-yard punt return, and a 32-yard kickoff return. Grade: C-


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