College Football

2-Minute Drill: Iowa State Cyclones vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Break down Saturday's penultimate game

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Breaking down Iowa State (2-8, 1-6) vs. Texas Tech (4-6, 2-5). Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium (FS1).

 

ISU RUSH OFFENSE VS. TTU RUSH DEFENSE

Freshman tailback David Montgomery had a breakout game Saturday with 24 carries and 169 rushing yards, which will earn him his third straight start. He has the longest run from scrimmage (46 yards) this season, and with the limited touches Mike Warren has gotten in the last several weeks, could be poised for another big day.

More: Matt Campbell praises David Montgomery's tenacity

Texas Tech is last in the Big 12 in rush defense and No. 117 in the FBS. The Red Raiders have given up 233.4 yards per game on the ground and a league-high 29 touchdowns, and surrender 5.8 yards per carry. If Warren is healthy, the Cyclones could use a rotation of their three tailbacks and include freshman Kene Nwangwu, with senior Mitchell Harger also in the mix.

Quarterback Jacob Park played the majority of the afternoon against Kansas, but with Tech susceptible to giving up ground yards, don’t be surprised if Joel Lanning gets a number of snaps as a designated runner. He has 347 yards and six touchdowns this year.

Advantage: Iowa State

ISU PASS OFFENSE VS. TTU PASS DEFENSE

Texas Tech’s pass defense is a fitting companion to its rush defense. The Red Raiders are last in the conference, No. 124 in FBS and are the only Big 12 team to give up more than 300 yards passing per game (307.6). Opposing quarterbacks average 8.2 yards per attempt against the unit.

In his last three games, Park has had passing completion percentages of 54.2, 55.1 and 76.9 with 25-plus attempts in each. In those three games, he’s combined to throw for 666 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions — one of the picks was on a bobbled ball against Kansas.

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More: Walk-on Trever Ryan exceeds own expectations

Allen Lazard is coming off his fourth 100-plus receiving yard game of the season. Deshaunte Jones has had five catches in three of the last four games with 87, 43 and 48 yards receiving, respectively. Texas Tech has four interceptions on the season, fewest in the conference

Advantage: Iowa State

TTU RUSH OFFENSE VS. ISU RUSH DEFENSE

Texas Tech is not a run-first offense, but is capable of committing to the run at times. The Red Raiders have rushed 40 or more times in three-straight games, and are coming off an output of 159 rushing yards in a one-point loss at Oklahoma State. They are last in the conference in rushing yards per game (107.1) and No. 122 in FBS.

Demarcus Felton is Texas Tech’s leading rusher with 63 attempts, 349 yards and three touchdowns.

Iowa State’s rush defense has been a struggle much of the season. Opponents have run for 200 yards or more in three of the last four games, making the Cyclones ninth in the Big 12 and No. 113 in FBS. Kane Seeley, Demond Tucker and Willie Harvey are coming off a game where they produced 10, 7 and 6 tackles, respectively.

Advantage: Texas Tech

TTU PASS OFFENSE VS. ISU PASS DEFENSE

This is where Texas Tech makes its opponents lose sleep at night. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Red Raiders are No. 1 in college football in passing offense (474.8 yards per game) by almost 120 yards. They have 567 passing attempts this season, 40 touchdowns through the air and complete 66.8 percent of their passes.

 
Mahomes is the third-most efficient quarterback in the Big 12, and has more passing completions than all but two conference quarterbacks have pass attempts. He has 4,230 yards this season and 34 touchdowns and at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, has the ability to offset defenses with his size and ability to throw on the run.

Jonathan Giles leads the Texas Tech wide receiver efforts with 65 catches and 1,059 yards as a sophomore. He has 12 touchdowns, second most in the conference behind Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook, and gets 16.3 yards per catch.

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Iowa State maintains the No. 2 pass defense in the Big 12, No. 59 overall, but will have its work cut out for it — even on a windy day — against a team that has made its name through air attacks.

Advantage: Texas Tech

SPECIAL TEAMS

In its four Big 12 losses by 10 points or less, Iowa State has had largely sound special teams play. Kicker Cole Netten is Iowa State’s all-time leading scorer (276 points) and the most accurate ISU kicker in history (77.8 percent). Kene Nwangwu is third in the league in kick return average (24.5 yards).

Texas Tech kicker Clayton Hatfield is just behind Netten at 90.9 percent on field goal attempts this season. The Red Raiders punt less than any other Big 12 team, but on punt returns, Cameron Batson averages 10.1 yards per return, with a long of 33.

Advantage: Push

INTANGIBLES

1. The series — Texas Tech leads the all-time series with Iowa State 11-3, including 4-2 in Ames. Red Raiders Coach Kliff Kingsbury, who played quarterback at Texas Tech, faced Iowa State just once, a 31-17 ISU win in 2002 — which was also known for Seneca Wallace’s “The Run” play.

2. Young head coaches — Iowa State’s Matt Campbell and Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury are the two youngest head coaches in Power 5 football. Campbell is 36 years old (Nov. 29, 1979) while Kingsbury is 37 (Aug. 9, 1979).

3. Ames in November — Texas Tech has played north of the state of Oklahoma just five times in school history. The Red Raiders are 2-3 in those games, with the last one being a 34-31 win against Iowa State in 2014.

3 & OUT

1. Third-down conversions — Texas Tech is the best in college football at third-down conversions at a 54.3 percent clip. Iowa State allows opponents to convert 47.3 of their third downs, last in the Big 12. The Cyclones have to find away to get off the field, particularly in third-and-long situations.

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2. Ball control — Texas Tech averages 91 plays per game, the most in college football while Iowa State averages 76.4. The Red Raiders have a 31:19 average time of possession compared to the Cyclones’ 29:07. Controlling the clock and limiting turnovers will go a long way into deciding a game that is bound to have a high number of snaps.

3. Red zone — Texas Tech and Iowa State stack up fairly close in red zone defense, but what separates them is offense. The Red Raiders have scored 43 touchdowns to the Cyclones’ 20 touchdowns. Iowa State has made all 10 field goal attempts, but if it wants to keep up with the TTU offense, it has to score six inside the 20s.

ISU WILL WIN IF ... It can control the clock through a run game, score touchdowns instead of field goals and force a couple Texas Tech turnovers.

TTU WILL WIN IF ... It can force Iowa State into three-and-out situations and stymie the Cyclones’ budding ground game.

PREDICTION: Texas Tech 52, Iowa State 42

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