The Texas Tech Red Raiders are coming off a gut-wrenching loss to West Virginia, where we saw positives and some negatives with this team.
This game against Iowa State is a major swing game for the Red Raiders. It could get the team back on track, or it could send the team into a downward spiral.
So here are my 3 keys to victory for Texas Tech to beat Iowa State, and improve to 2-2 in Big 12 Conference play.
Play a complete game: This one is a must, and that’s because we haven’t seen the Red Raiders play a complete game all season. Either one of two things happen, they start slow on offense or in the second half they just fall apart. So, it is important the team comes out and plays a complete game. Coming into this game, it is truly a swing game for Texas Tech. It will do one of two things for the Red Raiders, and the remainder of the season. It will either get the team back on track, or derail them as they continue to play in the gauntlet of the Big 12 Conference. So, it is pivotal that Texas Tech plays a complete game this Saturday against Iowa State.
Offense can’t be one dimensional: In the first three quarters against West Virginia, the Red Raider offense was rolling. They established the run and by doing that it kept the defense honest, which opened up the passing game. But in the most pivotal time of the game, the Red Raider offense became one dimensional. On the last three drives of the game West Virginia came back and Texas Tech needed to score. The Red Raiders went away from their run game, they only ran the ball twice on the last three drives (when Justin Stockton rushed twice for 11-yards and a first down). Before those last three drives, the Texas Tech run game was dominant. The Red Raiders had rushed for 190 yards and had one touchdown in the game. So, the team cannot afford to go one dimensional against Iowa State. They must keep the defense honest, and if they do that will open up more of the offense for Coach Kingsbury.
“The couple times we did hand it off, we weren't getting much,” Texas Tech head football coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “They were doing things schematically to try to take away the run at that point, as well, so everybody adjusted, and they adjusted, and they got the momentum and were playing harder and executed better than us.”
Secondary must play lights out: For the second week in a row, this one cracks the list but it’s true. The Tech secondary must play lights out. Coming into this game, the Red Raider defensive backs have been the Achilles heel of the defense. Where the Red Raiders rank 117 out of 130 teams for their pass defense. On the flip side, Iowa State ranks 29th in the nation for their passing offense. So I would look for the Cyclones to go the air, early and often against Tech. So it’s vital that the Red Raider defensive backs play a solid game against Iowa State.
“They've been just throwing short passes and creating them into explosive plays. We've just got to do a great job of tackling and rallying to the ball,” Jah’Shawn Johnson, Red Raider defensive back, said.
Final Thoughts: Last year Iowa State embarrassed Tech, to the tune of a 66-10 beat down in Ames. It was a head scratching loss that dropped Tech out of bowl game contention. So, the team needs to use that loss as fuel, and not let one of the surprise teams in the Big 12 come into Lubbock and send your season in a downward spiral.
If Texas Tech can do these 3 keys, I would look for Texas Tech to beat Iowa State and improve to 2-2 in Big 12 Conference play.
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