LUBBOCK, Texas — Things were looking pretty good for Iowa State under Matt Campbell even before Saturday’s road showdown with Texas Tech.
Then the Cyclones choked down the nation’s seventh-most productive offense toward a 31-13 win, which allowed the program the keep pace with some bigger-named Big 12 schools for its best conference start in 15 seasons and its longest road winning streak since the 1960 campaign.
“As soon as you start buying into everything else that everyone wants to say nice about you, bad things happen,” Campbell said. “Our fan base is outstanding. I’m so grateful for them that they get the reward of their loyalty over the last couple of years to this football program, but our reward to them is doing a great job finishing the year.”
Iowa State (5-2, 3-1 in the Big 12) had 28 votes in the Top 25 poll entering the week and could squeak in considering it held the Red Raiders (4-3, 1-3) to 336 yards, well below Tech’s six-game average of 543 yards. That would make next week’s homecoming game against No. 4 TCU one of the nation’s most intriguing games.
Texas Tech coach and chief offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury broke away from his offensive trends and the Cyclones made him pay in the Red Raiders’ homecoming game, which Iowa State was able to spoil for the first time in five tries in addition to lacing consecutive wins against the rival program for just the second time in 16 meetings.
Kingsbury bucked his passing trend through the first half and ran 22 rushing plays for 79 yards against 9 of 11 passing by Nic Shimonek for 18 yards.
Running backs Justin Stockton and Desmond Nisby fumbled on back-to-back offensive plays and on the wrong side of midfield in the first half. Iowa State converted the turnovers — recovered by D’Andre Payne and Mike Warren — into 10 points on a 22-yard field goal by Garrett Owens and a 4-yard touchdown grab by Matthew Eaton, who caught a 3-yard score later in the half for a 24-6 lead at the break.
Cyclones signal caller Kyle Kempt threw three touchdown passes with an interception and completed 22 of 32 attempts and the offense reached 400 yards.
Shimonek ultimately completed 31 of 40 passes for 207 yards with an interception as Texas Tech tried to claw back into the mix. The Red Raiders ran the ball 41 times for 129 yards.
“It was more the looks we were getting,” Kingsbury said. “We felt like we could execute the run at a high level, and we didn’t. Turned the ball over a couple of times got us off schedule.”
Iowa State didn’t score in the second half until the 9:07 mark of the fourth quarter, but Michael Spears’ pick-6 of 61 yards was a backbreaker against a squad which dominated second-half time of possession and managed to get back within 11 points on Shimonek’s 2-yard scramble.
“We’re not a defense that’s going to give you 30 different looks,” Cyclones linebacker Joel Lanning said. “We’re sticking with what we’re rolling with. Right now, we’re just clicking as a defense.”
Iowa State: The Cyclones had 28 votes in the Week 8 poll and probably will probably add to their count. They’re currently three teams behind No. 25 Memphis in vote accumulation. Iowa State has not been ranked since Sept. 25, 2005.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders had two votes remaining after being ranked 24th in the Week 7 poll, which was their first time to own a ranking since the 2013 season. It’s hard to fathom Texas Tech will have any votes in the new poll.
Iowa State: Playing in an 11 a.m. Central time game, Matt Campbell’s squad set the bar for four other Big 12 teams which began the week with 2-1 league records. The list included ranked teams Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia in addition to Texas. The Longhorns fell out of the race with a loss to Oklahoma State in the 11 a.m. time slot.
Texas Tech: The local fan base was not happy with the Texas Tech coaching staff, which managed to briefly cool down their hot seats with a 4-1 start. Jones AT&T Stadium was nearly empty several minutes before the game ended and the fans booed the Red Raiders’ play selections more than once.
Iowa State: The Cyclones return home to host No. 4 TCU.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders travel and have a primetime date with former teammate Baker Mayfield, who guides No. 9 Oklahoma’s offense.