Texas Tech, Iowa State desperate for a win

AMES, Iowa (AP) Texas Tech's visit to Iowa State on Saturday will be its furthest trip north in November in 52 years.

It'll be an especially chilly afternoon for the Red Raiders if they can't get rolling against the Cyclones.

Texas Tech (3-7, 1-6 Big 12) has lost three straight, and its only league win came against Kansas.

Iowa State is in even worse shape.

The Cyclones (2-7, 0-6) has also dropped its last three. But their most recent loss, 34-14 to the Jayhawks, might have been the worst in six seasons under Paul Rhoads.

The Red Raiders might represent Iowa State's last realistic shot at a win in a season gone awry.

But Tech can say the same thing about the Cyclones.

''Obviously, we can't make a bowl any longer. But for these seniors, the rest of us owe it to them to step our game up these last two weeks. We're going to get Iowa State's best shot,'' Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

Here are some of the key points to ponder as Tech goes for its 10th win in 13 tries against Iowa State:

RICHARDSON'S BACK: Iowa State is expected to get starting quarterback Sam Richardson back against the Red Raiders. Richardson missed the loss to Kansas with an injured right throwing shoulder, but Rhoads was optimistic that he'll be ready by the time Saturday rolls around. ''He's making all the throws. He's throwing the deep balls as well as the short stuff,'' Rhoads said on Monday. ''To be honest, there's really nothing concerning unless there would be an unforeseen setback.''

TEXAS TECH'S QBs: Freshman Patrick Mahomes has started at quarterback in two straight games in place of Davis Webb, and last week he threw for 392 yards and four TDs in a 42-30 loss to Oklahoma. Webb is still recovering from a high ankle sprain, and Kingsbury said he won't name a starter before kickoff. Mahomes ''didn't play flawless. But like I said, taking care of the football has been a big pain in our side this year. Being able to do that really helped us, so I'll see how they both look at practice and take it from there,'' Kingsbury said.

STOPPING BIBBS: The biggest challenge for the Tech defense will be senior E.J. Bibbs, who ranks first among Power 5 tight ends with seven TD receptions and 4.4 catches per game. Bibbs is one of eight semifinalists for the Mackey Award, given to the nation's top tight end. ''He's been an amazing target,'' Richardson said. ''The guy is quite an athlete.''

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: As hard as it is to believe, Texas Tech has only played four games north of Oklahoma in November. The last came in 2011, when the Red Raiders won at Missouri 31-27. Tech's furthest journey north was in 1962, when it lost at Boston College 42-13. The Red Raiders typically played Arkansas and the Oklahoma school in November back when they were in the SWC, and these days they usually face in-state rivals to end the year.

SCHEDULE TALK: The Big 12 released its 2015 schedule on Wednesday, one that appears to give Iowa State a chance at a strong start in 2015. The Cyclones, whose first three league opponents this year were ranked on game day, open next season's Big 12 season by hosting Kansas and traveling to face the Red Raiders. Tech might not have it so easy. It faces TCU and Baylor before hosting the Cyclones.

---

Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.