Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

October 23, 2018 at 9:25 pm.

Cyclones try to build on West Virginia upset

Apart from a $25,000 fine because of unauthorized field-storming, there wasn’t much to complain about after Iowa State’s 30-14 victory over then-No. 6 West Virginia on Oct. 13.

But that seems like a long time ago — and indeed, thanks to a bye last week, it was indeed a long time ago in college football terms. And with a 3-3 record, the Cyclones have work to do to make a second consecutive bowl game at the end of the year.

To make that happen, Iowa State will continue to rely on freshman Brock Purdy, who has led the Cyclones to two consecutive victories. The bye week came at a good time for Purdy, giving him a chance to refine his film study and preparation heading into the second half of the Big 12 season. He won’t be able to sneak up on opponents any more, not after his standout performances against Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

If anyone knows not to underestimate a true freshman under center, however, it’s this week’s opponent.

Texas Tech also relies on a newcomer, with Alan Bowman getting the nod under center again on Saturday. Bowman suffered a partially-collapsed lung against West Virginia in late September but came back with a 408-yard performance in the Red Raiders victory over Kansas last week.

While there isn’t a ton of tape on Bowman for the Iowa State coaching staff to look at, the Red Raiders offense has a familiar feel. Coach Kliff Kingsbury continues to run the Air Raid offense which gets the ball off quickly, spreads the field and forces opponents to cover and tackle one-on-one. It looks pretty when it works.

The past two games against Iowa State haven’t worked out great for Tech, however. The Red Raiders have totaled just 23 points in the last two meetings with the Cyclones, allowing 97. When the teams last played in Ames two years ago, Iowa State embarrassed Tech 66-10.

On paper, this is a much better Texas Tech defense than usual, and Iowa State has had problems scoring points at times this season. But with David Montgomery coming off arguably the best game of his career, and Purdy continuing his rapid growth as a leader, the Cyclones are confident that the team will leave the field Saturday with a winning record for the first time this season.