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New-look defense helps Tech erase demons against Iowa State

Red Raiders come up with two huge turnovers in the fourth quarter to grab the win

Posted: September 29, 2012 - 9:13pm  |  Updated: September 30, 2012 - 12:46am
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Texas Tech's Cornelius Douglas grabs an interception after teammates D.J. Johnson drilled Iowa State's Ernst Brun, Jr. during their game on Saturday in Ames. Tech won, 24-13.
Texas Tech's Cornelius Douglas grabs an interception after teammates D.J. Johnson drilled Iowa State's Ernst Brun, Jr. during their game on Saturday in Ames. Tech won, 24-13.
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AMES, Iowa — Tales of defensive improvement for Texas Tech have become far more than just lip service.

The Red Raiders escaped Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday with a 24-13 win against Iowa State by riding a stellar defensive effort — and enough timely plays on offense — to a victory that helped them erase their Cyclone demons of the past two years.

“It’s a long time comin’,” said Kerry Hyder, the defense tackle who notched two sacks and a key fumble recovery.

Forget bending, the Tech defense rarely even budged while surrendering only 189 total yards, 73 of those through the air. If the Red Raiders (4-0) drop from their No. 1 national ranking in defense, it won’t be far.

The Cyclones (3-1) had leads Saturday night, but they never seemed in charge. Not with Hyder and the defensive front wreaking havoc. Not with Tech's linebackers running to the ball en masse, staying in their lanes against the tricky Cyclone option.

Not with a secondary making as many big plays in one game as it did seemingly all last season.

“The defense has worked hard,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “Last week all we did was work on fundamentals, technique. Players have done a good job of just staying with it. We haven’t panicked.”

A unit that struggled to force turnovers last season came up with a pair of huge ones to turn the tide in the fourth quarter. With Tech leading, 14-13, Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz connected with tight end Ernst Brun up the seam for what appeared to be a big gain.

But safety D.J. Johnson leveled a punishing hit on Brun, jarring the ball from his grasp. Cornerback Cornelius Douglas corralled his second interception of the night at midfield and returned it all the way to Iowa State 9-yard line.

“D.J. came and just smacked him,” Douglas said. “The ball popped up. I got the little present. I tried to house it, but they got me.”

After a holding penalty, Tech quarterback Seth Doege hit his favorite target on the night, Eric Ward, for a 19-yard touchdown that gave the Red Raiders a 21-13 lead.

Ward caught nine passes for 122 yards, and Doege overcame a slow start to throw for 331 yards and a three scores.

The Cyclones mounted a drive past midfield on their next series, but as Jantz rolled right to evade a rush, he fumbled the ball — “He made a number of plays that hurt our team,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said — and Hyder recovered it at the Iowa State 49.

A few big runs by Kenny Williams (82 yards rushing) then set up a 39-yard field goal by Ryan Bustin, who made up for an earlier miss by sealing the victory for the Red Raiders, one that seemed in doubt until the fourth quarter.

While Tech didn’t dig itself as deep a hole as it did in two previous lopsided losses to Iowa State, the Red Raiders didn’t do themselves any favors to start the game. Doege threw an interception in the first quarter that Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein returned 87 yards for a touchdown.

The Red Raiders were driving again in the first half when Doege again threw across his body into the waiting arms of safety Jacques Washington.

Despite the early struggles, Doege said he was determined not to revert back to his habit last year of letting the bad plays drag him down.

“It’s just something I’ve worked on,” he said, "trying to be mentally stronger than I was last year. Just going out there and not throwing it in the tank when something bad happens.”

Tech finally got on the board late in the second quarter. On third-and-goal from the 11-yard line, Doege connected with Jakeem Grant on a crossing route over the middle. The pint-sized receiver did the rest, beating Klein on a sprint to the corner pylon.

The score didn’t come easy. A few players earlier, tight end Jace Amaro caught a pass and was given a touchdown after he dove over the edge of the end zone, but a replay clearly showed Amaro stepped out of bounds at the 3-yard line. On the next play Doege took a sack 9 yards behind the line of scrimmage, and a trick play on second down went nowhere.

But Tech managed to come up with the big play to Grant in a game where the offense relied on a number of them to steal momentum. Tech’s second touchdown — a 4-yard pass from Doege to Darrin Moore with one minute left in the third quarter — was set up by a 47-yard catch-and-run from Javon Bell, who caught the ball on a tunnel screen over the middle and used his speed to do the rest.

The speed also showed up on defense, where the Red Raiders demonstrated sound discipline against the Iowa State option attack. A 36-yard run up the middle by White in the first quarter and a 21-yard run from Jantz on a broken play in the third, were the only big gains the Cyclones were able to muster.

That was a far cry from a season ago, when the Red Raiders surrendered 368 yards rushing to these Cyclones.

“This year,” Hyder said, “We just came right at them and hit ’em in the mouth.”

 

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2
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Defense!

Iowa St is a good team. They are better than i thought

3
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Nice Road Win

Big step in the right direction. The team, especially the defense, stepped up when they needed to. Tough stretch coming up, to say the least.

3
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The defense won this game for

The defense won this game for us! I don't know if I have ever said those words before. Great game guys!

2
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3 reasons we won

We won with Defense, a running game late in the game, and special teams. Wreck'em Texas Tech!!!!!! Let's get ready to kick OU's butt next Saturday!!!!

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Kaufman

For the first time in how long we won with defense. If both units will play at that level, we can probably play with anyone at least in conference. I felt like we got screwed the past two years when we had to play UT and OU on the road two straight years. Might turn out to be a blessing. We still have some mountains to climb but it looks so much better than last year. Offense had a little trouble but I got a feeling alot of people will against that ISU defense.

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@coyote

I agree. ISU defense is good but our defense played better tonight.

1
2

Yeah really

Obviously we moved the ball well, especially after the half. After watching both Baylor and West Virginia earlier, unless they make a big improvement defensively, those two, especially Baylor, are games we can win. But Gino Smith is pretty special. If we can just slow him down a little, our offense should be rockin by then. Doege did good, overcoming the mental demon of that pick six at the beginning, which he was unable to do last year. Thats a good sign. I really think we'll win next week. This win tonight wasnt that inpressive on the outside, but I think the confidence going into this next game will be more important than the actual win. If we can get in Landry Jones face a little (and I think we will) OU will be in trouble here. Sacks and turnover margin wasnt something we did very well last year. Two wins away from bowl eligibility.

3
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Look at Yesterday's Results in our League

I hate to say this out loud, but there is not one soul on our schedule we can't beat.

Texas was beyond lucky to beat an unranked OSU team. WVU gave up 700 yards--Baylor 800. OU already has a loss. TCU has been beyond underwhelming. On down the list.

In the absence of one pick and one miracle scramble, Iowa State gets shut out at home last night. I applaud the home crowd for not booing on the 56th dive into the line--but the thing is, all you had to do last year was run the ball ANYWHERE to beat Tech. Easily.

Anyway, I won everything--as advertised. I am now rich.

Now on to Stoops--who has won 3 of his last 7 against our folks.

1
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Coaching in Lubbock

We've had some problems lately with our coaching staffs. I won't address the you-know-who issue, but we've had to run off some people who couldn't beat anybody, we've got one more Ma & Pa pair to unload, then the DC problem in football last year, then we had the debacle with Billy Clyde following the debacle with Pat. (Who took it like a man.)

BUT ONE THING IS FOR SURE, ART KAUFMAN DOES NOT FIT IN THE PARAGRAPH ABOVE.

The reason you can't recall a statistical turnaround like that of Tech's defense, is because THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ONE. Never. Ever. Anywhere.

This business of winning games because the other side can't make four inches is a great thing. I guess Iowa State didn't have any new film.

We may be big and strong. But we're fast. Never heard of such.

Go Tech.

1
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Common sense

It only stands to reason that if youre going to bring in top flite players, if you get the right guys driving the bus, youre going to make a little hay. Fact, Glasgow was a bad hire and we paid the price, by breaking all the streaks we were so proud of. Other fact, it would seem Tubs hit a home run with Kaufman. With that one addition, I have no doubt we'll be in a bowl game at this point. Actually I think we could go far beyond that like facts said. Looks like we're back and I like what I see. Cant wait for OU.

2
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I knew you would come around

I knew you would come around to our way of thinking coyote, kind of. Wade Phillips AKA Art Kaufman... it made a HUGE difference in Htown and it is making a huge difference in lubbock. This was the coach they wanted 3 years ago and thankfully he has settled things down a little bit on defense, much different from the "dogs chasing cars" technique from years past.

Great win.....vote republican

2
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Tommy Tuberville

The guy has been around i knew he is a better coach than what the results were on the field in the last 2 seasons. Geno Smith needs to be pressured. You cant let him sit in the pocket but thats two weeks from now when he comes to town. Landry Jones gets hit & knocked around he plays sporadic. They can be beat & The Jones will be packed this upcoming Saturday & Stoops & Oklahoma will be headed back north with two losses. Wreck'em!

2
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Not

Not "coming around" to anyones thinking, bill. As Ive told you before, I deal in reality. What I hope or you hope or anyone hopes happens isnt reality until it comes to fruition. What Im seeing are results. Coaches are hired to win. They are doing their job and Kaufman, as Ive said, seems to have been a fantastic hire. Had we lost 52-10, I would be singing a different tune. As it stands, we're all happy with the results and I think we're solid enough for a repeat performance against OU. We have to continue to win, or at least not lose, the takeaway margin. Hell anybody does in this league. Landry Jones doesnt do well when hes pressured. We've seen that. For the most part, hes been blessed with a good offensive line just like he was when he played in Artesia. If Hyder and others can stay in his face, it will be a long night for the Sooners.

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What he's saying

is that he is a fair weather fan that will be back on here copying and pasting his same old drivel the first time we stumble. His current post looks like he has copy and pasted the same thing most of us have been saying for the past year. Kaufman deserves all the credit that the naysayers are giving, but he couldn't have done it without all the recruits that Tubs has brought in the past couple of years. One thing for sure, you guys will never give any of us credit for being able to see the future based on everything Tubs has done the past three years while you continued to live in the past. I believe that is called reality.

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what to make of the ISU win

I'm not sure. Can certainly say that TTU isn't a "bad" team, maybe decent. But can't yet say "good" or "very good." Yet.

I liked what everybody else did. The defense. Keep in mind, however, that ISU is an offensively challenged team that is now viewed as the 9th best team in the B12-2. They scored 9 points against their only other real opponent, Iowa, which is bad output against a bad team. ISU scored 7 against us, excluding the PIK6. So our D dominated against a pretty bad O.

I also saw some warning signs. First, Doege made several poor decisions, uncharacteristic for a senior QB. Overall, TTU scored 24, and 7 were gifted from a PIK returned to the 9 yard line. Our O essentially scored 17 points against the next-to-last team in the conference.

In the next 5-6 games, our D will be tested against some very good O teams. ISU isn't a good barometer. And our O better improve significantly.

I'm also nagging about the relative lack of productivity among the WR other than Ward. Not much by Moore, Torres, etc. Although Amaro is taking some of their balls. Stephens looked good, although he holds the ball in his left arm while running right, and he dropped a 3rd pass on the last drive that would have iced the game (which the PK did with the FG).

Very much looking forward to the rest of the season.

Lastly, don't forget 6-12. That is Tubs' cumulative conference record.

2
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Results

Let's face it many fans are results oriented. This year we have results so far. Three things from this game. 1. Tech defense has proven it's a lot better than last year. 2. Doege has proven he can make mistakes and not fold. 3. ISU may have on of the best defenses in the Big XII. Either Iowa St. has a great defense or Tech has a lot more issues on offense. I think it's more of the former. OU is not going to roll over, but I think we have a great chance of going 5-0! Shore up the miscues and continue playing tough Defense and I still see a 9 or 10 win season. The only thing as good as knocking OU out of the top 10, is knocking them out of the top 25 all together!! If we beat them by 10 or more points I think that will happen. Go Tech, beat OU!!!

3
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@gunzsidewayz

Give credit where credit is due. ISU defense is not weak by any means. Paul Rhodes is a excellent coach & is close to a perfect fit for Iowa St. I agree their offense is sporadic but our defense did exactly what they suppose to do & that is hold them to 189 yards of total offense. What they proved last night was that even though our offense wasnt wasnt explosive we have something that never before been relevant at TTU & thats a DEFENSE that can keep us in games. Doege is good but he's not perfect & he's not going to be playing lights out every game. Its either you are on board or you are not. Its no middle. We have a chance to compete in every game this season & win.

1
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@gunz

At least you are consistent. Even though I basically have disagreed with all of your post including this one, I can respect that at least you are not a fair weather fan like others on here which is really beginning to become obnoxious. Al has a much better analysis of where we are.

0
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@nash, @runnin

We're going to go nuts b/c we played great D and below-avg O against the team now perceived to be 9th best in a 10-team conference?

The fact is that playing 3 puff games and 1 game against a bottom-rung B12-2 opponent does not tell us what kind of team we have, other than "at least decent." Had we blown out ISU, I would have noticed. ISU was within 1 score and driving until the QB inexplicably dropped the ball. Had we lost to ISU, I would have concluded that not much has changed.

The great thing about prognostications is that we won't have to guess in 2 months.

If you want to believe that TTU is very good/great, then go right ahead. That is hope. It "springs eternal." Puff+ISU doesn't prove it. After the next 6 games, it could be fact. We'll soon find out.

As I see the conf schedule, seems likely we'll beat KU. 7 other games ... BU, OU, OSU, UT, WVU, TCU, KSU. We would need 3 wins against this bunch to have a winning conference record of 5-4. Although many other posters have referenced anything less than 7-2/8-1/9-0 as "mediocre."

4
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Looking good,

but there are some tough challenges in the next few weeks, Let hope the offense hits is historical stride of putting big numbers on the score board. With a well improved defense, I think a few Big 12 schools are taking notice that Tech is the team to beat this year.

1
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@gunz

You are right about prognostication taking care of itself in short order, but when I look at all the circumstances and everything that Tubs has done including recruiting much better players then we have had in the past as well as putting together a top notch group of coaches and the early success that we have already seen, it seems to point to big possibilities. With all due respect, your post make no logical sense to me. I am in no way a homer either. I haven't felt this positive about Tech football since Rodney Allison was a sophomore.

2
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Not so fast .......

for all the venom they've spewed on here, I'd like to kick everyone of them off the bus.

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if you had to bet your savings

For all of you that have already concluded "TTU is the team to beat," "every game is winnable" (well, sure, that is a tautology), "best-looking team since Rodney Allison was a junior," etc.

I'm just curious. If you had to bet EVERY LAST CENT you own on TTU's conf record this year, what would you choose? No "if this or if that," you have to guess right now, with the facts in hand. Go on record, please.

Out of curiosity, and maybe my memory is bad ... but I thought TTU tied for SWC crown with UofH, but I thought Allison was a JUNIOR that year, not a soph. After TTU climbed to #4, I think, and lost to UofH at home, UofH lost to ND in Montana's famous Cotton Bowl, while TTU lost 31-28 to NEB in the Bluebonnet.

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@gunz

You are right about his junior year. The year before hopes were high with Tommy Duniven starting that year at quarterback. Duniven had annihilated Texas the year before in Lubbock. Duniven stayed banged up that year and we were able to get a good glimpse of Allison as he came in for an injured Duniven at College Station. Allison lead us to a big victory over the Aggies after we thought the game was over due to losing Duniven. That of course created a qb controversy that didn't exists his junior year. His junior year was defiantly filled with high expectations too as I sat in the stands that year watching Allison mount what seem to be a come back against Houston only to throw an interception in the end zone as the clock was running down. That killed our chances of winning an outright SWC Championship and sent Houston to the Cotton Bowl. We ended up losing another heartbreak game to the Huskers lead by Vince Ferragamo. The next years high hopes ended after Allison broke his leg against aTm. The conference had taken notice and things were looking good, but losing Allison pretty much ended the season because we had no depth at qb. Rodney Allison was not a real gifted quarterback, but when he was in the game you just felt like you were going to win. He could carry the team. But of course we also played some pretty good defense too. That is why I really like this years team. This is the first complete Tech team that I've seen since the Rodney Allison years.

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@gunz

I wouldn't bet my last dollar on anything, but I would make a friendly wager from what I've seen so far, that this team will win more conference games this year than they lose.

0
4

Beyond illogical

Dreamy eyed and child like. Thats Nash in a nutshell. I guess I just dont understand how looking at realistic proof makes one a fair weather fan. You seem to have a problem with me personally, which troubles me deeply, Nash. When things are taking a positive turn, I acknowledge it. When they are trending downward, I acknowledge it. Your "obnoxious" habit of putting lace on a pig and calling it beauty and stating your hopes and dreams as gospel is what children do. Fact is, like it or not, I want the same thing you want for this team - to be winners. Difference is, you can hope all you want and until you see it happen, thats all it is, hope. Another fact is, you cant stand it that I am happy with the results thus far this season. Its almost as if you feel that because I dont relentlessly trash the previous coach and sing the highest praises of the chancellor and current coach, that Im not worthy of calling myself a fan. In other words youre a dreamy eyed silly little man with a vendetta against someone else that you dont even know, who posts on the same threads and a coach who you want everyone to forget yet you go to a website for the express purpose of collecting dirt to further your "im right, youre wrong" agenda. Its transparent and, whether the others who take issue with my posts support you or not, they see it too. So, sally forth, nashville. And I'll continue to post my support for my team, point out factual observations, and attend the games, win or lose.

4
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Not so fast Coyote...

.....can't have it both ways. You have spewed as much negative venom as anyone. Don't let these jokers hide behind "I want the same thing you do" Eddie Haskell garbage. Keep exposing them for the snakes they are. Wreck 'em Tech !!!

0
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Negative venom?

So I take it nashville doesnt want the Red Raiders to win? Is that what you intended to insinuate with your non-specific post? Refresh my memory on the "venom" I have "spewed". Im sure by "venom" you cant mean falsehoods or ill conceived innuendo. Be specific. Share an example or two, Spike. Im sure you wouldnt have referred to me as a "snake" unless you recall a particular instance where I "spewed venom".

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@spike

Having coyote pretending to be a psychologist is like having the inmates in charge of the asylum.

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Random

Is that what its like, nashville? Im looking at Spikes post and I dont see a reference to psychology, psychologists, asylums, inmates, or the like. I think youre on the wrong thread man. Either that or you felt the need to post something clever so you plunged your fist into a body cavity and pulled out your last post. It fell short.

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