THE RESULT | Deceivingly Dominating | You wouldn't know it by the final score, but I really thought that this was a dominating game on two sides of the ball, offense and defense, with Iowa St. making up a ton of ground on special teams. It also doesn't hurt to gift to your opponent two opportunities inside Texas Tech's 25 yard line and Iowa St. capitalized. ISU had only two drives longer than 33 yards, 75 and 80, and other than that, the ISU offense was stalled most of the day by the Texas Tech defense. Being opportunistic isn't a bad thing, it's what keeps teams in games when one team makes mistakes. Iowa St. did just that.
Aside from a dominating defensive performance, the offense put up 666 yards, 416 through the air and 251 on the groudn with 6 offensive touchdowns, with a quarterback that has a bit of an inconsistent side to him, but that really didn't matter.
HC Kliff Kingsbury said after the game that you never expect to win a game when you have 3 turnovers, 2 of which are inside Texas Tech's 33 and 20 yard lines and a kickoff returned for a touchdown. Texas Tech won despite themselves and typically teams don't overcome 21 points almost gifted (ISU earned them too, but with short fields and return) to the opponent. This is the game that you lose 75 out of 100 times because you just can't overcome those sorts of things. It's what happened so much last year. Good thing it's a new year.
One other note about this particular game, is that there was a satisfying win, but there were enough things that were wrong with how this team performed, the coaches aren't going to let them rest on getting to 6 wins. I worry about focusing on getting those 6 wins, it seemed like that was the goal in previous year, and then this team stumbled and staggered to the finish line. I think that with this type of win, we've got a coaching staff that has enough mistakes to focus on with this team to be better against West Virginia. A WVU team coming off a bye wek.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | How about three running backs with over 80 yards each for a dominating performance? RB DeAndre Washington (13 carries for 88 yards and 1 touchdown), RB/IR Sadale Foster (9 carries for 87 yards and 1 touchdown), RB Kenny Williams (17 carries for 80 yards and 1 touchdown) were all just terrific today. I think Williams gets too much flack for this group for not being dynamic, but I think he's a really productive back that gets good yards between the tackles and you really need lots of different types of backs.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | DT Kerry Hyder was dominant today, finishing with 9 tackles and 1.5 TFL. Just all up and down the line of scrimmage. I can't say how good he was and this team will miss him significantly next year.
The Knee | Crap. Crap. Crap. That's how I feel and I hate this for Mayfield. I don't know if this is the end of the year for him, but if it is, then it's the worst way to end his year. This was the worst thing about this game, maybe the only bad thing about this game. Get well soon. Heal fast. We want to see you on the field soon.
Amaro Dominates | You just can't cover TE Jace Amaro. He's really starting to figure out the blocking. I can't recall which rushing touchdown it was, I think the Williams touchdown, where he was asked to block down on the tackle, which would mean that the only player that Williams would need to beat was an edge guy. Earlier in the year, Amaro missed that sort of blocking assignment, just whiffing on the guy, allowing his defender to come inside and make the play. He's getting better, he made his block yesterday and did a good job. Amaro finished with 9 catches for 143 yards and no touchdown. Opposing fans will yell at their televisions and wonder why they can't cover Amaro. It's not them, it's that Amaro is getting that much better. He's figuring out how to beat double-coverage.
Mistake Free Day | We've harped quite a bit, and rightfully so, the problems with the penalties and today, there were only four penalties all game long. This is a credit to the offensive line, who I think was the main culprit earlier in the year, that's doing a terrific job of protecting the quarterback for two straight games and creating space for the running backs. A false start on D.J. Polite Bray (not sure about this), an unsportsmanlike conduct on Eric Ward, a false start (this was Beau Carpenter during an extra point) and a substitution penalty (12 men on the field) that I think Kingsbury disagreed with the assessment. So really, we're talking about 3 penalties that meant much of anything, and only 2 of them were a direct result of the players doing something wrong. Pretty good improvement.
Dominating the Defensive Line Trenches | The top four tacklers from the game, Hyder (9), LB Will Smith (6), LB Sam Eguavoen (5) and DE Branden Jackson (5) were all linebackers or defensive linemen. That's dominating things up front and this group really did it will style. Jackson actually had 2.5 TFL, including a sack, and was just spectacular. He's really starting to come on the last two games and if DE Dartwan Bush is out for any extended period of time, then he's going to have to be as good as he's been the last two weeks.
And Iowa St. had 143 yards on 39 carries for an average of 3.7 yards per carry. ISU was averaging about 150 prior to the game, so any time that you can hold an opponent to less than what they normally do, then it's a win. The three rushing touchdowns are something that this team can improve upon, especially along the goal line. The line was spectacular anywhere on the field except when ISU was in Texas Tech territory. As said above, there are lots of good things to discuss, but also plenty of things to fix.
Webb Was Pretty Good | QB Davis Webb isn't perfect. He's a true freshman and he's got a lot of room to grow and that's okay. Way too many passes batted down or tipped at the line of scrimmage and an interception that was into triple coverage and over throwing receivers and all sorts of things. But you know what, Webb also threw for 415 yards on 62.5% completion percentage for 7.4 yards per attempt 3 touchdowns and just 1 interception. Yeah, there certainly could have been more, but he's young and he's learning and he helped lead an offense to almost 700 total yards. That also means he's recognizing when he needs to hand the ball off to the running backs and taking advantage of matchps.
326 | That's the total yards by running backs this game, both rushing and receiving. That's on 47 touches (39 rushing attempts and 8 receptions) for 6.9 yards each time the running backs touched the ball.
Special Teams | I somewhat saved the carnage for the last thing to discuss. I would hate to be a special team's coach. I really would. Coaching special teams would be like coaching an amoeba, just glob of a thing that you sorta have to have organized on some level. I mentioned during the game on Twitter, that special teams isn't so much about making adjustments, although some were made, but it's about executing. There isn't anything that a team hasn't seen on special teams, there are no new schemes or revolutionary concepts. There are sometimes special players that can do special things that make special team coaches look bad. Jarvis West is one of those guys I think, or he was yesterday for sure. Towards the end of the game, the kickoffs were intentionally high and short and that was done to minimize West's returns and I understand that. That's the biggest adjustment that was made, but that means that Haverty wasn't comfortable with his guys executing and that does bother me. This is something that I do not think will be a problem two weeks in a row.
QUICK HITS | Some of these insightful things I may have mentioned on Twitter.
- We haven't even talked about the receivers and how good they were this game, as a group, they had 344 yards receiving on 27 receptions for 12.7 yards a completion. That's pretty darned good. And touchdowns from three different receivers, including Ward, WR Bradley Marquez and IR Jakeem Grant. For an offense thtat
- Credit should go to the defense, as they held Iowa St. to just 5 of 18 on third downs, which is good for just 27%. Last week against Kansas, the defense held KU to 3 of 16. That's two really good weeks. The downside of the whole third down situation is that Texas Tech was just 5 of 16 for 31%. That's a definite area of improvement, one that seems like it is pretty squarely on Webb, who tends to go for the big play on third down rather than giving his guys a chance to make a play.
- At some point, the secondary is really going to be tested, but we're not quite there yet. ISU's Richardson was only 15 of 38 for 168 yards and the longest completion was just for 19 yards. CB Bruce Jones and CB Olaoluwa Falemi are really going to be tested in the coming weeks. The secondary in general really hasn't been tested by a true passing quarterback, other than SFA, so it will be interesting to see how they take the heat. As an aside, that screen pass where Jones drove through the blocker to then tackle the receiver was a jump-off-the-couch moment for me.
- In watching the injury bug, J.J. Gaines played the first series, but then Tanner Jacobson played the rest of the way. Jacobson was trucked by the ISU running back for a touchdown and his play makes me nervous a bit. I'm sure that no matter who was plaing safety would have been run over by Jeff Woody because that guy just runs over players. DE/DT Dartwan Bush tweaked his knee and I hope he returns quickly, but it is really nice to have a guy like Jackson take his spot. Jakeem Grant hurt his head and Kingsbury said after the game that he was joking and doing okay.