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Iowa State Cyclones vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Preview and Prediction

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The Big 12's fifth-place Iowa State Cyclones travel to Lubbock to meet up with the ninth-place Texas Tech Red Raiders this Saturday in what could shape up to be yet another high-powered, high-octane performance from the perennial offensive powerhouse Raiders.

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Iowa State may simply be trying just to keep up as soon as the end of the first series for Tech, which has scored in under two minutes on 34 of its drives this season alone.

Texas Tech leads the all-time series against the Cyclones 10-3, including a 6-1 edge in games played in Lubbock.

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Iowa State at Texas Tech

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: FOX
Spread: Texas Tech –12.0

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Three Things to Watch

1. Defense, duh!

Yep, that's pretty much where I'm leaving it. Both teams can put up points, and both have proven offensive weapons. But there's no question that any game in which Tech plays will be an aerial offensive show. Through five games this season the Red Raiders are, not surprisingly, ranked third in the nation in total offense at a whopping 602.8 ypg. So it comes down to a simple question of whether the Cyclones opt to just slow down the show, or try to trade it point-for-point.

2. Iowa State running game

The Cyclones look to have found a new star in the making with the insertion of FR RB Mike Warren into the starting lineup. He's already ranked third nationally among active freshmen at 6.85 yards per carry, and has piled up back-to-back 100-yard performances. He appears to be just what the doctor ordered for Iowa State's offense, which is mired at 98th overall in rushing yards per game.

3. Can Iowa State stop Patrick Mahomes II

Here for your review we trot out the ring leader of the Texas Tech aerial show, sophomore QB Patrick Mahomes II. You don't need to look much farther than the staggering statistics this young man has put up nationally in 2015 to figure out where the Red Raiders have found their offensive chops. Texas Tech is first in FBS in passing offense (423.8 ypg) and third in both total (602.8 ypg) and scoring (50.0 ppg) offense. If Iowa State opts to take the route that says the Cyclones can match Mahomes and the Red Raiders point-for-point and play-for-play, it's gonna be one heck of a derby.

Final Analysis

These teams have played it close and to the end the last couple of meetings. But each time it's ended the same way, with Tech edging the Cyclones in each of the last three contests. At least on paper, you'd think this game would end the same way. But I'll throw out my upset prediction for the weekend here, and call the game for Iowa State. They played Iowa tough for the majority of four quarters, and Toledo right to the end. And the Cyclones have only gotten better since those games. No moral victories are gonna cut it this time. They might not do it pretty, but I'm feeling good about the Cyclones in this one.

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Prediction: Iowa State 53, Texas Tech 46

— Written by Robert A. Boleyn, a member of the Athlon Contributor Network and a native Iowan currently based in Southern California. Boleyn attended both the University of Iowa and UCLA, and is a former contributing writer for The Daily Iowan and a die-hard Hawkeye. Follow him on Twitter @BoleynRobert.