The Red Raiders traveled to Ames, Iowa, to take on the Cyclones on Saturday for their third conference matchup of the season.
Tech entered the game with an 0-2 conference record, and Iowa State entered the game with a 2-0 conference record.
The Red Raiders had struggles gaining traction, and as a result, lost 31-15 against the Cyclones.
For the Red Raiders, sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman started the game after sustaining an injury the week prior against Kansas State. Along with Bowman, junior wide receiver Dalton Rigdon, freshman defensive lineman Gilbert Ibeneme and freshman offensive Caleb Rogers were also active.
In contrast, Tech was without one of their leading receivers in junior KeSean Carter. Prior to the game, Carter led Tech in receptions, receiving touchdowns and was second in receiving yards, according to Tech Athletics. The Red Raiders were also without senior wide receiver McLane Mannix, senior offensive lineman Zach Adams and junior defensive lineman Nelson Mbanasor.
Key Drive Summaries:
The Red Raiders began with the ball but left the field quickly after a three-and-out.
On the other end, Iowa State. Marched down the field on a 13-play, 74-yard drive to open the game and insert themselves within the Red Raiders’ five-yard line. However, Tech’s defense stood strong and forced the Cyclones’ field goal unit to take the field.
On the field goal attempt, Eli Howard rushed through the special teams’ line and blocked Iowa State's field goal attempt. Senior defensive back Zech McPhearson then caught the ball after the deflection and returned it for a 90-yard touchdown to put Tech up 7-0 early on.
Almost immediately in response, the Cyclones spurred a 68-yard drive behind running back Breece Hall, who punched in the first Iowa State touchdown of the day on an 11-yard drive.
After starting out in man coverage out of the gates, Tech quickly transferred to more of a zone look after the first Cyclone scoring drive.
On the offensive end, Tech just could not get any momentum. They came out of the gate with back-to-back three-and-out possessions.
The Cyclones, on the other hand, had no issues driving down the field. They had three-straight drives getting into scoring territory. The third drive resulted in Iowa State’s second touchdown of the game, as Cyclone quarterback Brock Purdy found a wide-open Chase Allen to increase their lead 14-7 over Tech.
Both teams were polar opposites through the midway point of the second quarter. Tech was 0-3 on third down, and only had 48 total yards of offense in comparison to the Cyclones’ 230.
Iowa State maintained momentum on the following drive. In fact, their fourth drive of the game in the final minutes of the first half was their longest, as they drove 80 yards which was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Hall.
The Red Raiders still could not get any offense going in the first half. Iowa State had four times the passing yards (42-187), five times the rushing yards (27-138) and had 325 total yards of offense to Tech’s 69 at the half.
The Red Raiders’ only points came from the special teams’ block to open the game. Tech did not enter the red zone through the first two quarters, either.
"This is not where we want to be," said head coach Matt Wells. "You can't take a two-touchdown deficit going into halftime and think you're going to come back like we did against Kansas State."
Tech came out of the half on defense and forced an immediate three-and-out against the Cyclones. On offense, sophomore running back SaRodorick Thompson started gaining traction with a first down run. However, a series of incompletions brought up fourth down for Tech again.
The Tech defense stepped up once again despite being on the field for 26 minutes through the start of the third quarter. They came up big, and a huge hit by defensive back Eric Monroe jarred the ball loose for McPhearson to pick up again. The turnover put the Red Raiders in excellent field position.
Tech, however, was unable to capitalize. On 4th and 2, sophomore running back Xavier White got hit at the line of scrimmage, and the Red Raiders turned it over on downs.
The Cyclones made the most of their stop and converted on a 12-play, 70-yard drive. Purdy found his tight end Charlie Kolar for their fourth touchdown of the game on a 13-yard reception.
After another three-and-out from Tech, the Cyclones marched down the field into the Red Raiders’ five-yard line.
Sophomore defensive lineman Tony Bradford Jr. came up with a tackle behind the line of scrimmage to push them back a few yards, and then Tech’s secondary forced an incompletion on third down.
Iowa State then resorted to a field goal, which they converted, and pushed their lead 31-7 in the fourth quarter.
Over halfway through the fourth quarter, Bowman was subbed out and junior quarterback Henry Colombi took the field under center.
On his first drive of the game, Colombi marched 88 yards down the field and converted on fourth down to keep the possession alive. Colombi capped off the drive on an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ezukanma for their first offensive points of the game.
His drive included 63 passing yards (6-8), and three rushes for 15 yards, which made him Tech’s second-leading rusher on the game to that point.
Colombi had one more drive on the game, but he came up short on a 4th down rush which turned the ball over on downs, and Iowa State let the clock run out from there.
The Red Raiders lost on the road to Iowa State.
The Red Raiders came out slow on offense and did not score their first offensive points until late in the fourth quarter when Colombi checked in the game.
The Red Raiders finished with 270 total yards to Iowa State’s 516. The Red Raiders also had 58 rushing yards to the Cyclones’ 214. Through the air, Tech had 212 passing yards (32-34) to Iowa State’s 302 (32-43).
Tech only got in the red zone once all game, which came from Colombi, and were 0-10 on third downs. The Cyclones (40:51) also doubled the Red Raiders’ (19:09) time of possession.
Defensively, Tech had 90 tackles and 54 solo tackles to Iowa State’s 67 tackles and 33 solo tackles. However, those stats are where they should be considering each teams respective time on the field.
Following the game, Wells said the secondary allowed the tight ends and receivers to get behind them too frequently. However, the Red Raiders plan to improve moving forward, and it starts internally.
"This one hurts, and it will take a lot of self reflection starting with me and then our coaching staff." Wells said.
Up Next For Tech:
Tech (1-3) will now have a bye-week, but then face West Virginia (2-1) on Oct. 24 at home following the break.