Cyclones look to stop nation's top offense

Updated: October 10, 2003, 1:38 PM ET

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech receiver Carlos Francis hopes the Red Raiders have learned how to handle big wins.

Last year the Red Raiders (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) lost to Iowa State 31-17 a week after beating Texas A&M 48-47 in overtime. Tech is once again coming off a big victory, a 59-28 win over A&M, heading into the Iowa State game Saturday.

"We went up there last year, and honestly I think we got the big head off the A&M game," said Francis, who is ninth nationally in receiving yards. "We were still on that high from that victory and thought we could waltz into Iowa State's house and beat them. I think it was a learning experience last year."

The Cyclones (2-3, 0-1) have lost three straight and face Tech's wide-open offense led by B.J. Symons. He leads the nation in passing yards (2,467) and touchdowns (24). Tech's offense also leads the nation with 591.2 yards per game, with 516.8 coming through the air.

Iowa State is coming off a rough week defensively. Last week No. 1 Oklahoma's Jason White passed for 384 yards and five TDs in a 53-7 win.

Injuries have plagued the Cyclones. Seventeen players have missed games due to injuries. Out for the season are defensive end Tyson Smith, a starter, and running back Hiawatha Rutland.

Cyclones coach Dan McCarney said he doesn't expect to stop Symons.

"No one else has," he said. "Even the one game they lost to North Carolina State they still moved the ball a lot. So we're not going to stop them. We know that. But we've got to control it, slow it down, hopefully do better from the turnover standpoint, and offensively stay on the field better than we have, score more points."

Symons said the team retained its focus well after winning at Mississippi two weeks ago.

"We are in the same position we were last week" he said. "We couldn't let down and its even more so this week.

Tech coach Mike Leach expects the Cyclones to show a variety of defenses.

"They're going to try to cover things up and we have to recognize it and just be focused with regard to that and not let them slip something in," Leach said. "I think that's the biggest thing, to play really sharp, polished against that defense, see and recognize it, and do that simultaneously."

Last week Texas A&M rarely blitzed, typically rushing three linemen and dropping eight defenders into pass coverage. Symons finished with eight touchdowns and 505 yards passing. Four Tech receivers -- Francis, Wes Welker, Mickey Peters and Nehemiah Glover -- caught six passes each and Taurean Henderson caught seven.

So will the Cyclones blitz?

"Once in a while you have to," McCarney said. "If that quarterback knows there's not going to be any extra guys coming at him, it makes it even tougher.

"We've seen defenses burned real good when they did blitz because their receivers are so outstanding. (Symons) just not missing on many throws. They're catchable almost every time he's in the pocket."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index