LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — The signs inside Texas Tech's locker room this week are bitter reminders: Iowa State 41-7 and Iowa State 52-38.
The Red Raiders have lost to the Cyclones two straight years, with last season's anemic one-touchdown performance at home still fresh in players' minds. That loss brought the Red Raiders, and their fans, crashing to the ground after the team stunned No. 3 Oklahoma 41-38 a week earlier.
It was a thud that kept on giving. The Red Raiders lost their final four games, capping their first losing season since 1992 and no bowl invite for the first time in 11 seasons.
This season, the Red Raiders (3-0) have shown strength on offense and defense. They're No. 1 nationally in total defense — that's not a misprint — and second in total offense.
Senior quarterback Seth Doege wants to erase last year's shellacking. And those signs, well, they are motivation for Saturday night's visit to Iowa State.
"The vibe around the locker room and the building is totally different than it was last year," said Doege, who has thrown for 12 touchdowns and 858 yards in the nation's second-best offense. "We remember what happened the last two years. They definitely did what they wanted against us and we didn't perform very well on offense."
Both teams were off last weekend.
For Texas Tech, a win over the Cyclones (3-0) would be a good jumping off point for a tough upcoming schedule. After Saturday, the Red Raiders host No. 16 Oklahoma and No. 9 West Virginia, visit No. 15 TCU and No. 7 Kansas State, then return home to play No. 12 Texas.
The game could turn out to be a defensive battle. The Cyclones are ninth nationally in scoring defense (10.7 points per game), while the Red Raiders are sixth (10 ppg).
The Red Raiders have started slowly in the back-to-back losses. Last season, they fell behind by 21-0 and in 2011 by 24-0.
Coach Tommy Tuberville wants a fast start Saturday night but said that's often difficult on the road.
"It's been a one-sided game the last two years, and we have got a lot to make up for," he said. "We are going to be playing in an environment that we'll have very few people that will be pulling for us. It will be a night game, which is always tougher to play when you go on the road."