LUBBOCK, Texas — The question for Texas Tech coming into Saturday’s game was how it was going to stop quarterback Brock Purdy and the Iowa State passing attack. Come game-time: the Red Raiders had no answer. Texas Tech fell 3-4 on the season and 1-3 in Big 12 play with a 34-24 loss.
Purdy threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone, jumping out to a 20-0 lead that Texas Tech could not recover from. He stood in a clean pocket for most of the game and spread the ball around effectively, as five receivers caught three or more passes.
Iowa State’s offense was hot early; the Cyclones moved the ball easily on their first possession before missing a field goal. After a Red Raider punt, Iowa State marched down the field again and Purdy hit Charlie Kolak for a 24-yard touchdown.
The Cyclones got into the end zone on each of their next two possessions as well. Iowa State’s offensive line gave Purdy plenty of time and he used it well, hitting receivers on quick strikes and throwing accurate darts when he opted to go down the field.
Iowa State’s third touchdown took just two plays. Purdy checked down to Breece Hall, who scampered 62 yards up the open left sideline to get into the red zone. Purdy finished the drive on the next play, hitting La’Michael Pettway for a touchdown. After a missed extra point, the Cyclones led 20-0.
“It was just something, really on both sides of the ball that wasn’t there,” Matt Wells said of Texas Tech’s slow start. “We didn’t have the fast start, especially on defense, that we had before.”
Offensively, the first half wasn’t much better for Texas Tech. Its attack was largely centered around screens and Iowa State shed blocks and tackled well, holding many of those plays to short yardage. Jett Duffey finished the game having completed 40 of 52 passes, but averaged a subpar 4.6 yards per attempt.
“So much of that is we didn’t do a good job I don’t think of blocking on the perimeter,” Wells said.
But the offense can also improve that yards per attempt number by throwing more deep balls. Duffey had several chances to do so, but too often the plays didn’t pan out.
“We certainly need to take more shots, we need to execute better shots,” Wells said.
After that, Texas Tech finally settled in. The Red Raiders forced their first punt of the day on Iowa State’s next possession, and finally hit on some of those screens to drive down the field. Finally, SaRodorick Thompson punched in a touchdown.
Thompson had another stellar game Saturday, as he picked up 57 yards and two touchdowns. However, he only toted the ball 10 times as a result of Texas Tech trailing for most of the game.
The Red Raiders kicked a field goal out of halftime, but they did not have the momentum for long. Hall took a speed option 75 yards for a touchdown on Iowa State’s offensive play of the second half.
Texas Tech had an opportunity to come back in the second half. Thompson scored his second touchdown on a 16-play drive that was kept alive by an Iowa State pass interference on fourth down and DaMarcus Fields intercepted Purdy on the ensuing possession.
The Red Raiders had optimal field position after the turnover, but squandered it as Duffey threw three straight incompletions and Trey Wolff missed a 42-yard field goal. After a pair of punts, Hall iced the game with a 30-yard touchdown.
Duffey did hit T.J. Vasher for a late touchdown, but it proved to be too little too late. Texas Tech couldn’t pull itself out of the hole it fell into early.
Next, Texas Tech will take on Kansas. That game kicks off at 6 p.m. in Lawrence.