Big 12 Previews

Iowa State vs. Texas Tech: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Texas Tech

Here is everything you need to know about our upcoming Big 12 match up in our Iowa State vs. Texas Tech preview and prediction.

Game info

2:30 p.m. CST, Saturday, October 10th, 2020; Jack Trice Stadium, Ames Iowa

TV: ABC (Mark Jones, Dusty Dvoracek, Paul Carcaterra)

Radio: Cyclones Radio Network (John Walters); Texas Tech Sports Network (Brian Jensen, John Harris); Sirius 135, XM 384

Spread: Iowa State -13

Fun Fact: The Red Raiders will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak to the Cyclones as Texas Tech’s last win in the series came in 2015 when future NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes threw for 428 yards and five touchdowns, including two to Jakeem Grant, who had 166 receiving yards in the victory.

 

Key Players

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Who’s at QB?

Alan Bowman went down in last week’s game against Kansas State and is considered day-to-day with his ankle injury. If Bowman can’t go, Utah State grad transfer Henry Colombi will take over for the Red Raiders. Colombi improved as the game went on last week for Tech, but it’s still a big drop off if Bowman can’t go on Saturday in Ames.

LB Krishon Merriweather

Merriweather ranks third in the Big 12 with 9.0 tackles per game. Merriweather was tabbed the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 14. Through three games, Merriweather’s 27 tackles rank tied for second among Red Raiders since the start of the 2000 season as he trails only Jordyn Brooks from a year ago. This production is coming one season after he racked up 153 tackles at Garden City Community College, which led the NJCAA.

Iowa State Cyclones

RB Breece Hall

Behind Big 12-rushing-leader Breece Hall, Iowa State ranks 14th nationally in yards per rush (5.32) and is tied for seventh nationally in rushing TDs (9). Hall is third in the country with his 132 rushing yards per game and also third with six rushing touchdowns this season. Hall has been the engine for this team’s 2-0 start to Big 12 play. He was the Offensive Player of the Week after the Cyclones upset the Sooners last week.

DL Will McDonald

McDonald has 8.5 sacks in his last seven games, which is tied for the most of NCAA football player dating back to November 16th, 2019. He’s tied for first in the Big 12 and is 14th nationally this season with 3.5 sacks. McDonald shared a big sack with LB Mike Rose in the second-to-last possession for OU to force the Sooners to punt. He has become a big part of ISU’s third down pass rushing, which will likely be an important role against the pass-happy Texas Tech.

 

Key Storylines

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Tech’s defense needs to start coming together. Through three games the Red Raiders rank last in the Big 12 in defensive efficiency, while ranking last in passing defense (346 ypg). The good news is that Iowa State’s passing has not been lights out, but it has steadily improved through the first three games. The Cyclones rank 8th in passing yards per game and 9th in the Big 12 in offensive efficiency. This is an opportunity for Tech’s defense, which has a lot of transfers who didn’t have an offseason to gel, to start showing up and proving the talent on that side of the ball can work together.

Iowa State Cyclones

The Cyclones need to get to whoever is at quarterback for the Red Raiders. Tech is doing the best in the Big 12 in allowing sacks, giving up just one in three games. Meantime, the Cyclones have piled up 11 sacks over three games, good for third in the Big 12 behind West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Whoever wins this battle in the Tech O-Line vs. Iowa State D-Line is going to have a big advantage as the game progresses.

Prediction

Iowa State 35, Texas Tech 24

The Cyclones are the better team right now. They’re riding high off of their win over OU, and had they not stumbled terribly in the opener against Louisiana, this ISU team could be ranked in the top 10. But Tech, even with its issues at QB, loses, but loses close games. In Matt Wells’ tenure, Texas Tech is 5-10, but seven of those ten losses have been by 10 points or less. Iowa State might find itself in a bit of a hangover situation, while Tech’s wide receivers will give themselves opportunities against an ISU secondary that isn’t as strong as its been in recent seasons. But in the end, Iowa State’s running game, tight ends and defense do enough to give the Cyclones a comfortable win to improve to 3-0 in Big 12 play.

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