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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 29, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Trice Stadium (55,000) -- Ames, Iowa. Television: FCS. Home Record: Texas Tech 2-0, Iowa State 2-0. Away Record: Texas Tech 1-0, Iowa State 1-0. Neutral Record: Texas Tech 0-0, Iowa State 0-0. Conference Record: Texas Tech 0-0, Iowa State 0-0. Series Record: Texas Tech leads, 7-3.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams trying to remain perfect on the season open up Big 12 Conference play on Saturday night, as the Iowa State Cyclones play host to the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Texas Tech has barely broken a sweat during its first three games, whipping Northwestern State (44-6), Texas State (58-10) and New Mexico (49-14). The Red Raiders have now won 24 consecutive games against non-conference opponents at home, but things are about to get much more difficult as their final nine games are all against Big 12 foes.
Iowa State has gotten off to a similarly great start. Although it has won games it was supposed to win at home against Tulsa (38-23) and Western Illinois (37-3), it also has a great road victory under its belt against intrastate rival Iowa (9-6). In marks the second consecutive season the Cyclones have started 3-0, the first time they've accomplished that feat since 2000-01.
This marks the 11th time these two programs will face off against one another, with Texas Tech holding a 7-3 advantage. Iowa State has had the Red Raiders' number of late however, winning the last two matchups, including a 41-7 decision last year in Lubbock.
The Texas Tech offense has been able to march up and down the field with ease in the early going this season, ranking sixth in the FBS in scoring offense (50.3 ppg) and second in total offense (597.7 ypg).
The Red Raiders' system has always been quarterback friendly, and Seth Doege has taken advantage of his opportunities so far, completing nearly 75 percent of his passes (75-of-101) for 858 yards, 12 touchdowns and only one interception.
The team possesses an incredibly balanced receiving corps with six different players recording at least 100 yards receiving, but no one with more than 161. Jace Amaro, Darrin Moore and Eric Ward all have three touchdown receptions.
Head coach Tommy Tuberville relies on a trio of running backs to split carries and Kenny Williams (241 yards, TD), Eric Stephens (238, three TDs) and SaDale Foster (160 yards) are all averaging more than five yards per rush.
Although we've come to expect a high-powered offense from the Red Raiders, the real story of this year's team has been its impenetrable defense, which permits just 10 ppg and an FBS-low 160.3 yards per game. The unit is allowing just 28 percent of the opposition's third-down chances to be converted successfully, and has allowed only three trips to the red zone.
Cody Davis leads the team with 18 tackles, and he had an 88-yard interception return for a touchdown against Texas State.
While Iowa State's offense may not have the firepower of Texas Tech's, it has still been effective in its own right, scoring 28 ppg, and it is coming off a season-best 504 yards against Western Illinois.
Senior quarterback Steele Jantz has completed 75-of-107 passes for 731 yards and six touchdowns, although he'd surely like to cut down on his turnovers (four INTs). He's also contributed 64 yards and another score on the ground.
Chris Young (159 yards) and Aaron Horne (141 yards) haven't produced many big plays down the field, but they are both sure-handed targets for Jantz to rely on. Both players have 14 catches and a pair of touchdowns to their credit.
Iowa State also has a timeshare in the backfield, with Shontrelle Johnson (33 carries, 165 yards, TD) and James White (28 carries, 154 yards, two TDs) splitting the load.
Although much of their production has come against substandard competition, the Cyclones' defense has been nonetheless impressive, allowing just 10.7 ppg on less than 300 total yards per game. The unit has amassed as many interceptions as it has sacks (four).
Jake Knott has 22 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble, while Jake McDonough leads the team with 2.5 tackles for loss.
Through three games at least, both Texas Tech and Iowa State have bucked the stereotype that Big 12 teams possess sub-par defenses, but both are in for their biggest tests yet in this game. The Cyclones have the home crowd to help lift their spirits, but Doege and the Red Raiders have been unstoppable thus far and should continue to put up big point totals in this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas Tech 35, Iowa State 31
09/26 10:34:11 ET
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