The Texas Tech football team was thoroughly dominated by Iowa State on Saturday but there were some Red Raiders that did manage to play well in the loss.
Normally, I like to hand out mythical game balls after every Texas Tech football game. However, doing so after what we saw on Saturday in Ames would just feel silly.
That’s because the 31-15 loss to the Iowa State Cyclones was one of the most humbling and complete depantsings of any Red Raider team in the post-Spike Dykes era. And there were a number of Red Raiders that did not play up to their capabilities.
First of all, the entire offensive line was dominated by the Cyclone defense. That’s why Tech ran for just 58 yards as a team. What’s more, ISU was credited with two sacks, which was twice as many as Tech had given up all season prior to Saturday.
So with the struggles of the line, there’s no surprise that the running backs struggled. But Tech needed more than the 14 yards on six carries that they got from SaRodorick Thompson.
But at least that was more than T.J. Vasher gave his team. Actually, Vasher gave his team absolutely nothing as he was held without a reception, and was targeted just three times. Coming off of the KSU game in which he caught just two passes for a total of ten yards, it makes all the offseason banter about the new and improved Vasher seem farcical.
There’s been quite a bit of talk among the fandom since Saturday’s game about whether or not the Cyclones have a significant talent advantage over the Red Raiders. While ISU did have the better QB, running back, and tight ends, the individual talent gap between the two programs is not as wide as the gap on the scoreboard. Rather, the Cyclones were the more well-coached team and they appeared to have a significant schematic advantage that better utilized the players on their roster.
But there are positions where Tech should have had advantages over the Cyclones in terms of individual talent. For instance, the Red Raider receivers are a more explosive and talented group than the Iowa State wide receivers. Of course, some of that advantage for Tech was neutralized by the absence of inside receiver KeSean Carter while the rest was neutralized by the repugnant play of starting QB Alan Bowman.
Also, the Red Raider linebackers should have been considered better on paper than the ISU LBs. Colin Schooler has a better resume than any ISU LB while Krishon Merriweather is No. 7 in the Big 12 in tackles, which is higher than any Cyclone defender ranks on that list.
The point is that the difference between the two teams in terms of individual talent was not the only reason for the dominating ISU win. Rather, the fact that Tech was outcoached and outplayed almost across the board was a far greater factor in this debacle. And far too many Red Raiders were not able to elevate their play to match their counterparts from ISU.
But there were a few Red Raiders that played well on Saturday so let’s give them some recognition. And we will start by looking at the performance of the player who has become the most popular player on the team over the last two weeks.