Breaking Down the Iowa State Matchup

This week the Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-2, 1-0) take to the road to face the Iowa State Cyclones (5-1, 1-0). The Red Raiders have won 4 of their last 5 games including a 48-47 comeback win over the Texas A&M Aggies last week in College Station. Iowa State is currently on a 5 game win streak after beating Nebraska two weeks ago in Ames.

This game will feature two of the premiere offenses in the nation. Iowa State is currently ranked #14 nationally in total offense while the Red Raiders are ranked #8. On the defensive side of the ball Iowa State has played well, but has yet to face an offense as explosive as the Red Raider's spread offense. Texas Tech has struggled defensively this year. They will try to reverse this trend Saturday in Ames.

Offense
Senior quarterback Kliff Kingsbury leads the Red Raider offense. In this pass-oriented offense, Kingsbury has thrown the ball for 355 yards per game and 22 touchdowns, while only giving up 5 interceptions. Kingsbury likes to spread the ball to a number of different receivers. The Texas Tech Offense features four players who have 29 or more receptions. Wes Welker is currently the leading receiver with 39 catches for 546 yards. In the red zone Kingsbury likes to throw to Anton Paige who leads the team with 6 touchdowns this season. Despite the pass-oriented nature of this offense, the Texas Tech ground game is greatly improved this season. The ground attack is led by running back Taurean Henderson who is averaging 4.9 yards a carry this season. Henderson is also a dangerous receiver with 32 receptions on the season.

Iowa State's offense is led by senior quarterback Seneca Wallace. Wallace is one of those players that can do it all on offense. He has shown some impressive rushing ability by rushing for 115 yards and 5 touchdowns. Wallace also brings a good passing ability to the offense. He has passed for 275 yards a game and 10 touchdowns, and given up 6 interceptions. The receivers are led by Lane Danielsen who has caught 28 passes for 533 yards and 3 touchdowns. The ground game plays an important role in the Cyclones offense. Junior running back Hiawatha Rutland leads the way with 478 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Defense
Defense has been a trouble spot for the Red Raiders this season. Defensive end Aaron Hunt and middle linebacker Lawrence Flugence lead the defense. Hunt is the all-time career sack leader at Texas Tech. Flugence leads the nation in tackles. Redshirt freshman John Saldi will make his first start at outside linebacker this Saturday against the Cyclones. Tim Norman has also moved up the depth chart and will be the nickel back this week. Norman is also expected to see more playing time at cornerback.

The Iowa State defense comes into this game ranked #21 in the country. Their strength is their back seven. Look for the cyclones to drop extra players into coverage in an attempt to force the Red Raiders into running the ball. The defensive line is the biggest area of concern this week. If the cyclones are going to try to force the Red Raiders to run the ball then defensive tackle Jordan Carstens and the rest of the line are going to have to stop running back Taurean Henderson.

Who Has The Advantage?

QB – Even
Both quarterbacks have been outstanding this season. Kingsbury is the better passer, but Wallace can hurt you on the ground. Look for both players to put up big numbers on Saturday.

RB – Iowa State
Iowa state has a strong ground game that could have a big day against Texas Tech's weak run defense. On the other side of the ball look for Taurean Henderson to play a key role in the Red Raiders offense if the Cyclones drop extra players into coverage.

WR – Texas Tech
Texas Tech simply has too many quality receivers to cover. With 5 quality receivers look for Kingsbury to have plenty of open targets.

OL – Texas Tech
The Tech line is big and has been playing great the last few games. Their size should give them a decided advantage over the smaller Iowa State defensive line.

DL – Even
Look for Iowa State's defensive line to have a tough time against the Tech offensive line. The Texas Tech defensive line will have a tough game as they try to contain quarterback Seneca Wallace.

LB – Iowa State
The linebackers are one of the strong points of the Iowa State defense. This game will test their pass coverage abilities. Linebacker has been an inconsistent position all season for the Red Raiders. They will be starting John Saldi this week to try to improve the unit.

DB – Iowa State
This will be the toughest test that the Iowa State defensive backs have faced this season. Can they cover all of the Red Raiders receivers?

Special Teams – Texas Tech
Texas Tech special teams have played well this season. The return teams feature a pair of dangerous return men in Wes Welker and Ivory McCann who can break a big return on any kick. Kicker Robert Treece has been pretty consistent this season. His kick sent the Texas A&M game to overtime last week. Punter Clinton Greathouse has had an outstanding season. Greathouse has placed 10 of his 22 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.


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