Run D –
Obviously, the Iowa State run game is going to be the top item on the list for
the Texas Tech Defense. This will be the first of several tests in a row of a
team running the football until the run can be stopped. James White is the
first true starting running back the Red Raiders have faced this season and
it’s concerning, but also not anything they can help. At this point, they are
either good enough to stop him or they aren’t we’ll find out. I’m also hearing
that starting FB Jeff Woody will be at best a game time decision for the
Cyclones. He’s Iowa State’s key on short yardage. Don’t think he’ll be 100%
even if he plays. When QB Steele Jantz runs the
football, it will be up to the DEs and OLBs to keep playing consistent
assignment football that they played against Texas St. and New Mexico. Also, be
aware that we’ll probably see an appearance by backup QB Jared Barnett. He
carved up the Red Raiders for
Pass D –
I’ve given them an incomplete grade on the season because we really don’t know
how they’ll react when it’s up to them to make a crucial stop. If Texas Tech
gets an early two score or more lead, I think that will force Iowa State to try
to throw the football. We’ll see
how much practicing against the nation’s #2 overall offense and top 10 passing
offense has helped this group improve. I also think it’s key to have a pass
rusher step up and earn the reputation of one that will be feared. I don’t care who it is, before this
defense is dominant, the pass rush must be established to a point where an
opponent will fear it and gameplan for it.
Special Teams –
The Red Raider punt team is the key ST unit to focus on versus Iowa State. Not
because they have only had two snaps of game action this season, but because they
must stop an Iowa State punt return team that averages over 21 yards per return
on 4 returns. The punt team will probably work as hard as they have all season
against the Cyclones, as Iowa State is 2nd in the conference at 3rd
down defense. When the time comes for Tech to punt, helping the defense out with
field position will be imperative.
Running the ball
– I don’t expect the run game to be too effective against Iowa
State…until the Cyclones start dropping 7-8 into coverage after being burned on
the outside and with the occasional screen. If Texas Tech has 100 yards plus running
the football, it will be a sign of a well-executed game plan for the Red
Raiders. If the rushing yards are low, this will be a lot closer game than Tech
fans want it to be.
Passing Game –
This is where you beat Iowa State early. Use the size mismatch of your outside
receivers on their corners and exploit it. Get Moore and Kennard involved in
the game early, then when they think they are ready for the fade and comeback
routes, burn them deep with Jevon Bell or with a
screen to Jakeem Grant.
matchup: Iowa State LBs versus interior Tech OL: It’s time to see if LaRaven Clark and Alfredo Morales are ready for prime time.
Jake Knott and A.J. Klein lead the most talented position group for Iowa State.
Both have NFL potential. If the Cyclones come after Doege
early, then these two will have to answer the bell and pass their first true
test. If the pressure gets to Doege and he is forced
into making a couple of hurried throws and decisions, that is going to play in
the hands of the Cyclones.
Tech WR vs. Iowa State DBs Texas Tech has the size and
talent advantage against the ISU secondary, but Iowa State is physical at the
line of scrimmage to make up for it. That said, Darrin Moore is 6’4’’, Marcus Kennard is 6’3’’ and Eric Ward is as physical as anyone. Throw up top until
they stop it. I look for a similar game plan to Texas St.
Win 3rd Down: Iowa State and Texas Tech are 2nd
and 3rd respectively in the Big 12 in 3rd down defense.
I’d be willing to bet that whichever team stops the other on third down more
will win on Saturday night.
Get an early lead: Iowa State has had leads of 24-0 and 21-0
in the first half the last two years against the Red Raiders. This can’t happen
for a third year in a row, can it?
Force the hand of Steele Jantz:
The Cyclone’s QB is responsible for 5 of the 7 turnovers for Iowa State this
season. He’s prone to turning the ball over. Force him to make a bad decision
and then capitalize on it.
Make a Statement: Win this game and prove to the rest of the
conference that the Texas Tech Red Raiders are a team to be feared and taken
seriously in the Big 12.