Three big takeaways: Iowa State falls apart at Texas Tech

Iowa State’s defense walks back to the sideline after a play against No.10 Iowa on Sept. 11.

Sam Stuve

Iowa State, the nation’s seventh-ranked team coming into the season, is 6-4 (4-3 Big 12) with just two games to go.

How did this happen?

Well let’s look at Iowa State’s 41-38 loss to Texas Tech on Saturday in three big ways.

Donovan Smith excels in first start

In his first career start, Texas Tech quarterback Donovan Smith couldn’t ask for a better one.

He completed 25 of 32 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns, as well as 50 rushing yards. His favorite targets on Saturday were wide receivers Myles Price and Erik Ezukanma.  

Price had nine catches for 175 yards and one score, while Ezukanma had four receptions for 54 yards and two scores.

And in addition to Smith’s three scores, he led the Red Raiders down into Cyclone territory to setup the game-winning 62-yard field goal.

Smith and company were dominant early and often. 

Out of Texas Tech’s six first half possessions, it finished four with a touchdown, one with a interception and one with an end of the half field goal. 

Iowa State’s defense had no answer in total for the Texas Tech offense.

The Iowa State defense gave up a season-high 529 yards of total offense (322 through the air and 207 on the ground).

Cyclones run game halted

Yes, Iowa State running back Breece Hall did score twice in Saturday’s game and extended his consecutive games with a rushing touchdown streak to 22 (T-2nd best in FBS since 1996) and added a third touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Brock Purdy.

But as a whole, the Iowa State running game was rather ineffective. In total, Iowa State averaged 3.6 yards a carry and that mixed in some scrambles from Purdy.

As for Hall himself, he was limited to just 2.8 yards a carry and finished with 51 yards on 18 rushes.

In recent weeks, Hall has shown his ability to break free and score long rushing touchdowns, take his touchdown runs against Kansas State, West Viriginia and Oklahoma State for example. 

But Texas Tech’s defense kept him in check and avoided giving up the big run. 

Hall’s two touchdown runs were from the one yard line and the 17-yard line respectively. 

And his longest run was for 21 yards. Take away his two longest runs, and Hall had 16 rushes for 15 yards.

Kolar helps lead near comeback

In the second half, Iowa State nearly made the second largest comeback in program history and a large part of that was due to the success it had in the passing game, specifically going to the tight ends. 

After being held to two catches for 16 yards in the first half, tight end Charlie Kolar went off in the second half.

He caught two touchdowns, one in the third quarter to cut the deficit from 17 to 10 and one in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit from 10 to three.

Kolar finished Saturday’s contest with eight catches for 76 yards and two scores.

By coming up with two scores on Saturday, Kolar doubled his touchdown total on the season from two to four. 

In addition to scoring on the touchdowns, Kolar made some big catches to keep the Iowa State second half drives alive. 

In the final five minutes of the game, Kolar caught three, third down passes that resulted in first downs for the Cyclones, helping to tie the game at 38 all.

While the Cyclone offense sputtered early in the game with two interceptions and two punts on four of the first six drives, the offense got going with big plays from not only Kolar, but also fellow tight end Chase Allen and wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson.