October 29, 2011

The Nickel: Iowa State

Texas Tech takes on Iowa State tonight at 6 p.m.

Here are five thoughts and storylines to keep in mind while watching the game at Jones AT&T Stadium or on Fox Sports Net:

Revenge factor

The Red Raiders surprisingly lost to Iowa State last year 52-38 in Ames, Iowa.

Tech trailed at one point 24-0 before tying the game at 24-24 but then things slipped away again.

Iowa State has always been a team designed to capitalize on other teams' mistakes. The Red Raiders' two losses this season are due to basic mistakes.

If the Red Raiders can get through today's game without turning the ball over they should be able to blow Iowa State out early.

Avoiding the letdown

Tech seemingly changed the course of its season last week with its win against Oklahoma, but a loss against Iowa State (3-4) would be devastating.

Suddenly a potentially six-win Red Raider football squad looks capable of winning eight games after taking it to Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.

A win tonight also gives the Red Raiders bowl eligibility for a 19th-consecutive season. Tech's streak is currently the fourth longest in the nation.

Can Texas Tech contain Jared Barnett?

Iowa State will give Jared Barnett his first start of his college career although he played a majority of the Texas A&M game last week. Barnett's a dual-threat and Tech has struggled in containing these types of guys all season.

Barnett will probably try to pick up some first downs with his feet. If the Red Raiders can stop him, Iowa State is going to struggle to get anything going offensively.

No depth at offensive line

Right tackle Mickey Okafor is still a little banged up and starting center Justin Keown is all but out for this game and aside from them there's really no depth beyond the starters along the offensive line.

Deveric Gallington, normally a right guard, will get his first actual start at center although he played it for nearly the entire Oklahoma game. Red Raider fans will want to see some improvement out of Gallington as he had about a dozen low snaps last week.

Gallington needs to get the ball up because his snaps affect the timing of the play.

Tech absolutely cannot afford another injury along the offensive line.

Seth Doege for Heisman?

There's no way Tech quarterback Seth Doege wins the Heisman this year, but he can get a good start on something for next year just like Andrew Luck did.

Doege has been in some Heisman chatter this week after leading the charge in upsetting Oklahoma last Saturday, at least locally. He's a good quarterback that's exceeded the expectations laid before him this season.

He's completed 238-of-342 passes and has 22 touchdown passes on the season to just four interceptions. He has 2,608 yards passing.

Doege can gain steam for some major recognition his senior year if he and the Red Raiders get decisive wins against teams like Iowa State -- winning games they're supposed to win and compete when not favored to win a game.

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