Matt Wells Sticks With Alan Bowman Until Iowa State Game Is Out of Reach
Texas Tech headed to Ames, Iowa hoping to snap a two-game losing streak after falling to Texas and Kansas State in winnable back-to-back games. The Red Raiders were held back by a flaccid offense through the first 52 minutes, with an anemic Alan Bowman leading the way.
Texas Tech would muster just 134 total yards against the Cyclones with Bowman at quarterback and zero points offensively. In a single drive with Colombi, Texas Tech moved it 88 yards, finishing the drive with a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
It was too little, too late, as the final score would be 31-15.
The game began with the questionable decision to start quarterback Alan Bowman. The injury-prone quarterback suffered a leg injury after a late hit from a Kansas State DB last weekend and didn't play the rest of the game. The injury was nowhere near as serious as the season-ending ones Bowman suffered in the past two seasons.
With Bowman at the helm, it was a three and out on the Red Raiders' opening drive, the ball went to Iowa State.
The Cyclones made it within striking distance around five minutes into the game, but struggled in the red zone. Unable to score a touchdown, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell elected to kick a field goal rather than go for it on 4th down. Big mistake.
Red Raider monster Eli Howard blocked the field goal attempt, and the ball landed in the waiting arms of defensive back Zech McPhearson, who took it 90 yards to the house for a Red Raiders touchdown.
The Cyclones shook off the unlikely turn of events and rallied, cutting through Texas Tech's defense in eight plays thanks to QB Brock Purdy's arm. The drive ended with a red zone rushing TD from Breece Hall. A successful PAT tied the game, 7-7.
Bowman again went 3 and out on the next Texas Tech drive, nearly throwing an interception in the process. A punt would give the aggressive Iowa State offense a chance to take the lead. Purdy again cut into Texas Tech's defense, hitting 100+ yards through the air during the drive. For perspective, Bowman would accrue just 11 yards thrown at this point in the game.
The quarter ended with the Cyclones a few yards away from securing a lead for the first time Saturday afternoon.
At the start of the 2nd quarter, the Cyclones did indeed take that lead, going up 14-7.
Texas Tech's offense managed to stay on the field a little longer on their next drive, but still struggled to string together successful plays and punted it away from their own 40 yard line.
Purdy and the Iowa State offense again had their way with Texas Tech's defense, which seemed two steps behind every play, whether it was on the ground or through the air. Breece Hall again capped the extensive drive with a one-yard touchdown run. With the PAT, the Cyclones extended their lead to two touchdowns, 21-7.
The Red Raiders, again, failed to move the needle on offense and punted away, giving the Cyclones' explosive offense another chance to widen their lead. Purdy felt some pressure from the Texas Tech defense this time and wasn't able to secure any points. The drive ended with a punt, giving the Red Raiders a little over one minute before the end of the half to do something.
The Red Raiders, after a couple nothing plays and 18 seconds left in the half, opted to not even try. Bowman was running toward the locker room before the clock was even at zero.
Score at the half: 21-7, Iowa State.
The third quarter would feature one long drive for Iowa State that would end in a 13-yard play-action pass to Charlie Kolar. On Texas Tech's side, Bowman would continue to be inept.
With a 28-7 lead in the fourth quarter, Iowa State would only manage a field goal in the fourth quarter. The 31 points were more than enough.
The Texas Tech defense played well enough to be in the game, but the Texas Tech offense couldn't get anything going. If only they had another option on the sideline that could make something happen outside of the pocket and wasn't hindered by a sore ankle.
Turns out they did. Henry Colombi came in late in the fourth, down 24, and immediately led Texas Tech on an 88-yard surgical drive, ending in an 18-yard touchdown. The defense would force a punt with new life, but it was too little, too late.
The burning question for Texas Tech fans tonight is, what would the game have looked like if Colombi started? Would the offense have struggled for as long as it did? Was Colombi only successful because Iowa State was in prevent mode with the lead?
I sure wish I knew the answer.
What I do know, is that Colombi fits this Yost offense much better than Bowman does. Colombi was recruited by Wells and coached for two years inside the offense. He has more practice experience. It's obvious he has more command on the offense, even with a small sample size.
Colombi should be the starter when Texas Tech lines up against West Virginia in two weeks, and he should have been the starter today.
The past has already happened, but Colombi can change the course of the season.