Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Texas Tech vs. Iowa State preview and prediction.
11 a.m. CST, Saturday, October 19th, Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Brian Custer, Robert Smith)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network (Brian Jensen, John Harris); Cyclone Sports Network (John Walters, Eric Heft); Sirius 134, XM 200/382; TuneIn
Opening Line: Iowa State -6
Fun Fact: Texas Tech receivers/tight ends coach Luke Wells was an assistant at Iowa State (wide receivers/tight ends) from 2009-12.
TE Charlie Kolar
Kolar is quickly becoming one of Brock Purdy’s favorite targets and is one of the best tight ends in the nation. Kolar is second on the team in receptions (23) and ranks ninth nationally among TEs in receiving yards (53.2) and 13th in catches (3.8). He has touchdown catches in two of the past three games and now goes up against Texas Tech’s 3-3-5 defense that may give him even more opportunities.
LB Marcel Spears
For whatever reason, Spears seems to love playing against the Red Raiders. He has been named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week in each of the last two seasons after playing Texas Tech. In 2017, Spears had a pick-six and seven tackles. He tallied two interceptions, with another pick-six, against the Red Raiders last season. Spears is a Preseason All-Big 12 pick who is living up to expectations with a team-high 43 tackles, plus 4.5 tackles for loss, and is third on the team with 1.5 sacks.
WR T.J. Vasher
Vasher is one the top deep threats in college football and leads the Red Raiders with 30 catches for 404 yards and four touchdowns. He’s in the top 10 in the Big 12 in receptions per game and receiving yards per game. At 6’6”, he could cause some serious problems for Iowa State’s young cornerback duo of Anthony Johnson and Datrone Young.
LB Jordyn Brooks
Brooks is the Big 12’s leading tackler with 68 total tackles, 13 more than anyone else in the conference, and is third nationally with 11.3 tackles per game. He also had 3.0 sacks and is tied for the conference lead with 11.5 tackles for loss. Brooks has had consistency all season long as well, reaching the 10-tackle mark in four of six games this season.
The Cyclones need to avoid turnovers and win the battle in the red zone. Texas Tech leads the Big 12 with 9 turnovers gained and a +5 turnover margin through three conference games. Iowa State has been uncharacteristically sloppy at times with eight turnovers on the season. However, in the red zone, Iowa State has been the best offense in the Big 12 going 27-28 with 21 touchdowns. On defense, Tech has been a middle-of-the-road red zone team that Iowa State needs to exploit when the opportunities arise.
The Red Raiders will need to open it up to then try and set up the run. The Cyclones’ have the best rushing defense in the Big 12 and Texas Tech is not going to run the ball down ISU’s throat. Jett Duffey will need to get it going on the outside with T.J. Vasher, Erik Ezukanma (seven catches, 155 yards the last two weeks), Dalton Rigdon and Donta Thompson and then see if that will open things up for running back SaRodorick Thompson to build on his 153-yard performance last week against Baylor. Iowa State’s offense is starting to click and will put up points against Tech, so the Red Raiders offense need to keep up to have a chance at the upset.
Iowa State 31, Texas Tech 27
Iowa State is 9-0 in October dating back to 2017 and I see that improving to 10-0. However Texas Tech should not be overlooked as a team that has been playing very well since Alan Bowman went down, beating Oklahoma State and nearly pulling it off against Baylor last week. This is a tough turnaround for Iowa State going from a road game in Morgantown to a road game in Lubbock, two opposite ends of the Big 12 geographical map. That’s not easy for Campbell and the Cyclones, but while this game might get off to a slow start, the Cyclones bruising defense and offense that continues to find weapons like RB Breece Hall and La’Michael Pettway, will pull away for the win.
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