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October 30, 2011

Wolf Diamonds Wrap: Iowa State

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Texas Tech followed up one of the biggest wins in school history with one of the most embarrassing losses in recent memory, a 41-7 domination at the hands of Iowa State. The Cyclones hadn't scored more than 26 points in regulation in over a year, but managed to pile up over 500 yards of offense and 41 points Saturday in Jones Stadium.

THREE THINGS WE LEARNED

1. Texas Tech is neither good nor bad, they're worse: inconsistent. The college football season is nine weeks old. Most Big 12 teams, all but Baylor and Texas, have played five conference games. You aren't going to see any dramatic rises or fades at this point in the season, you pretty much are who you are.

And the Red Raiders, just like last year, are inconsistent. As we have seen the last two weeks, they are capable of being a very good football team and equally capable of being a terrible team. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but that won't take any sting out of what has to be considered one of the program's most embarrassing home losses in the Big 12 era.

Tech trailed to Texas State at halftime, needed a last minute touchdown to beat Nevada, trailed by 20 to one of the worst Big 12 teams in recent memory, repeatedly shot itself in the foot against Texas A&M and Kansas State, dominated Oklahoma for roughly three quarters and followed that up with a complete no-show against Iowa State. That's who the Red Raiders are at this point.

The frustrating thing is that this is what Tech was last season as well. No back-to-back Big 12 wins, alternating wins and losses, up and down performances and disjointed efforts on offense, defense and special teams.

2. The Red Raiders can't afford an off-day from Doege. Saturday was Seth Doege's worst game as a starter -- 16-of-32 passes for 171 yards, two interceptions, a lost fumble and a rushing touchdown. Unlike his four turnover outing against Kansas State, Doege looked uncharacteristically off from the first quarter on.

Considering how bad Iowa State had been in their previous four Big 12 games (all losses), Doege's performance is even more puzzling.

3. Jones Stadium no longer qualifies as an intimidating homefield environment. From 2002 to 2008, seven full seasons, Tech lost five games at home. Since 2009, the Red Raiders have won six games. Tech has lost three home games in a row for the first time since 1991 and are 1-5 in its last six home conference games.

This is hard to fathom, as the program enjoyed three separate 10-plus game home winning streaks over the last 11 seasons.

I think it started, oddly enough, at the tail end of one of those streaks. In 2009, Tech struggled mightily in the first half against a terrible New Mexico team, were humbled by Texas A&M (22-point underdogs) and needed a fourth-quarter comeback to top Kansas.

Last season saw losses to a Texas team that finished 5-7 and a very good Oklahoma State team.

This year? Complete disaster -- the Red Raiders spent a good amount of time beating themselves against A&M and Kansas State, and then didn't show up against Iowa State.

You could make an argument about fans having to do their part as well, but the Red Raiders should have been able to beat the Cyclones on a deserted grass field, let alone with 59,000-plus in the stands at kickoff.

OBSCENELY OBLIGATORY OVERREACTION

BIG 12 POWER RANKINGS
1. Okla. State -Cowboys dominate Baylor, still control their own destiny.
2. Oklahoma - Sooners put an emphatic end to K-State's undefeated season, could work their way back into the title discussion.
3. Kansas State - Wildcats thoroughly beaten by OU, and it won't get any easier this week against Oklahoma State.
4. Texas A&M - Credit the Aggies for sticking to a script -- led by double-digits at halftime but still managed to lose.
5. Texas - No bonus points for beating Kansas, but UT's defensive performance was still impressive.
6. Missouri- Assuming MU beats Kansas at season's end, Tigers need to win one of next three to get to a bowl game.
7. Baylor - The Bears got seal-clubbed for a second-straight game; most disappointing aspect of OSU loss is BU was coming off of a bye.
8. Texas Tech - Texas Tech - Raiders go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.
9. Iowa State - Cyclones beat a Big 12 opponent by more than two scores last night for the first time in over five seasons.
10. Kansas - Terribad
Record-wise, Tech is exactly where we thought they would be two weeks ago. Few, if any, expected the Red Raiders to split their last two games the way that they did, but they again find themselves facing an uphill battle to gain bowl eligibility for a 19th-straight season.

You can't point to how well Tech played against Oklahoma without also pointing to how poorly they played against Iowa State. They are capable of beating Texas this weekend, and they're equally capable of getting blown out.

We saw Saturday how the Red Raiders handled success -- poorly. Coming up, we'll see how they handle being embarrassed.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Road teams have won seven of the last nine Big 12 games. Texas and Oklahoma State are the only Big 12 teams to win at home over the last two weeks.

Oklahoma bounced back from their loss to Tech in a big way, routing Kansas State 58-17. Landry Jones set an Oklahoma record with 505 yards passing, Ryan Broyles set a Big 12 record for career receiving yards (4,499) and the Sooners piled up seven sacks on Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein.

Texas A&M is 5-3 after losing to Missouri in overtime, and you have to wonder how warm Mike Sherman's seat will be heading into the Aggies' first season in the SEC.

Even after completing just 16 passes against Iowa State, Seth Doege still leads the Big 12 in completions per game (31.75). Dartwan Bush leads the league in forced fumbles (4).


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