Iowa State (1-3) at (20) Texas Tech (5-0)
Saturday, October 12, 12 p.m. (et)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The 20th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders try to keep their unblemished record in tact, as they host the Iowa State Cyclones in Big 12 Conference action at Jones AT&T Stadium.
Under first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Red Raiders have come out on top in all five of their games in 2013, each one by double digits. The latest victory for Texas Tech came last weekend in a 54-16 thrashing of Kansas on the road. With the triumph the team moved to 2-0 in conference play.
Kingsbury, a former star quarterback for the Red Raiders himself, was able to get the team into the national rankings after only three games, the earliest a new head coach has turned that trick in Lubbock. Should Tech come out on top this weekend, Kingsbury would be the first coach in school history to win his first six games with the program.
"We expect to win every game," Kingsbury said during his Monday news conference. "Like I said since I got here, we're trying to get better each and every day. It wasn't a goal to be 5-0 or 6-0. Just every time we took the field we want to get better. That's still how we're approaching it."
Over on the other side the Cyclones, who are going up against their first nationally-ranked foe this season, have just one win in four chances to this point. The squad played a special Thursday night contest to kick off the month of October and nearly pulled off a minor upset before bowing to Texas at home, 31-30.
"What you witnessed tonight were a couple teams playing their hearts out and you could argue both deserved to win the football game," ISU head coach Paul Rhodes said following the loss. "I've got the privilege as the head football coach of this football program to face my players, win or lose and look them in the eye and feel how proud I am of the work they put forth."
In terms of the all-time series between the programs, the Red Raiders own an 8-3 edge over Iowa State.
After trailing by double figures in the first quarter versus Texas at Jack Trice Stadium, the Cyclones battled back, eventually taking a 30-24 advantage late in the fourth quarter before the defense gave up the game-winning touchdown with just 51 seconds remaining in regulation.
Quarterback Sam Richardson converted 16-of-26 pass attempts for 262 yards and two touchdowns, with a long of 97 yards going to Quenton Bundrage, but he was sacked five times and threw an interception in the hard-fought setback.
"It hurts pretty bad," Richardson noted after the loss. "This is the one where you stay up all night and think about the two or three plays that you messed up that can change the game. It'll drive you nuts but you have to put it to bed and move on to the next game because it's going to be just as tough."
Defensively, Jeremiah George came up with a team-best 13 tackles, of which 2.5 were behind the line of scrimmage. The team as a whole came away with eight tackles for loss, but still not enough to pull out the win.
Richardson has been rather solid so far, completing 62.3 percent of his attempts for 254.8 ypg and total of nine touchdowns but the group as a whole has a tough time getting started when they take the field. After four games Iowa State has produced just 14 combined points in the first quarter and 41 points total in the first half, compared to 48 points tallied by opponents in the second quarter alone.
Having to play from behind more often than not, the Cyclones can't give their running attack enough opportunities to get on track, which is why they are averaging just one rushing TD per contest.
During their second-highest scoring game of the season, the Red Raiders, followed the tone set by quarterback Baker Mayfield who completed 33-of-51 passes for 368 yards, but the true freshman was helped off the field with just seconds remaining in the third quarter after suffering what appeared to be a leg injury.
"I just saw him limping off and he wasn't putting much weight on that (right) leg," said Kingsbury. "I've got to talk to the docs and see."
As of Monday afternoon, Mayfield's status for this weekend was listed as questionable.
Davis Webb stepped in and, despite attempting just six passes, accounted for two aerial scores for Tech. The running attack produced just 114 net yards on 43 carries, but still the group scored four touchdowns during the rout.
Should Mayfield, who is averaging just under 300 passing yards per game, be unable to take the field this weekend, Webb will be the quarterback of record, which wouldn't be a bad thing given that he has completed 51.4 percent of his passes for six touchdowns on 70 chances.
No matter which player is under center, the good news is that there are three top-flight receivers to lean on in Jace Amaro, Eric Ward and Jakeem Grant, each of whom has caught at least 25 passes for no fewer than 300 yards on the season.
The Texas Tech offense probably gets most of the attention these days, placing 19th in the country with 41.8 ppg, but on the other side of the ball the squad is actually performing at an even higher level with just 13.8 ppg allowed, eighth-best in the nation, so even with a key injury on offense the Red Raiders should have an easy time of it this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas Tech 37, Iowa State 21
10/09 10:35:02 ET