The recent scandal at Texas Tech regarding interim defensive coordinator Mike Smith accusing former DC Matt Wallerstedt of leaking their defensive signals could have had nuclear implications on the Red Raiders’ season.
To those who follow the program under a microscopic lens, it certainly answers questions and confirms that tackling issues and penalties aside, no, the Red Raiders aren’t as bad as we thought they were.
For the Iowa State Cyclones, their misfortunes cannot be blamed on recent scandals, but simply a lack of execution. At 0-6 in the Big 12, and 2-7 overall, the Cyclones don’t appear to have it together anymore than the Red Raiders (3-7, 1-6). But when you take a glance at the numbers and loss margins, it’s clear that Texas Tech is closer to resolving the roots of their concerns and doesn’t scare easily. Their recruits — several ranked — have taken notice.
You can assess and analyze this contest into exhaustion, but both teams are seeing this game as more of a scrimmage, and one they desperately need to win.
In Week 12 against Oklahoma, the Red Raiders showed flashes and appeared early on to have fixed some of the issues plaguing them all season. Freshmen quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 393 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. It’s great that Tech has found success at the quarterback position, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury has to use this game as a metric for how his offense will dial it up against Baylor next weekend.
Penalties were still an issue against Oklahoma, and you know the Cyclones’ fans at Jack Trice Stadium are going to try and exploit the Red Raiders with false starts and offsides calls, so Tech is going to have to show a level of discipline that hasn’t been seen this year to prove to recruits that they are not an amateur program.
The Cyclones are ranked 116th in the nation in rushing, and 48th in passing, averaging 250-yards through the air per game. Texas Tech has allowed 22 passing touchdowns this season, and allow an average of 244.2 passing yards per game. Expect to see Iowa State junior quarterback Sam Richardson try to air it out early and take advantage of Tech’s secondary.
Last weekend against Oklahoma, Tech senior linebacker Sam Eguavoen came up big when he intercepted a pass from Sooners’ quarterback Cody Thomas. A few drives later, freshmen defensive back Tevin Madison had a pick, followed by sophomore defensive back Keenon Ward with a another interception on OU’s ensuing possession. Unfortunately no points were scored off the interceptions, but if their defense can shut it down like they did in the first half against Oklahoma, I think you’ll see an offensive spark, too.
Iowa State is coming off a bye week so expect a tough fight on Saturday, as they’ll be reenergized and playing with the same focus as Tech. Both teams are bowl ineligible, so pride is on the line, and Tech needs a win to gain confidence before facing off against No. 7 ranked Baylor in Dallas on Nov. 29. But the same could be said about Iowa State, as they face West Virginia next weekend, followed by a road game at No. 5, TCU to finish out the season on Dec. 6.
*Section Photo and Featured Photo (above) credit to John Weast, Getty Images.