There’s been a lot of head-scratching by both Texas head coach Mack Brown and many fans that are wondering why this Texas defense, that was far and away the best defense in the conference last year, has become the 99th-ranked defense that doesn’t know the fundamentals of tackling.
Two weeks ago against Kansas the offense finally had a bad game with David Ash being a complete non-factor. The defense was able to stop the Jayhawks passing attack like everyone else, but lead running back James Sims broke a long 64-yard dash and had 176 of the teams’ 234 rushing yards.
Some people may look at giving up over 200 yards on the ground against Kansas is inexcusable, but when the team runs the ball 56 times and throws it nine times you expect that huge difference in yards allowed. Besides, backup quarterback Case McCoy bailed the team out from a daunting loss.
Even with word that Mack Brown would help out with the defense, that momentum from the Kansas win seemed to carry over in Lubbock. Texas’ defense still gave up 441 total yards against Texas Tech, but the defense forced three three-and-outs, one turnover on downs, and four field goals (making 3-4). That’s not bad for a team that’s eighth in the conference in scoring defense.
Compare that to Iowa State’s ninth-ranked scoring offense. What turned into a favorable matchup for the Cyclones could be a much more difficult task if the Texas defense can be just as productive as they were against the Red Raiders. Combine that with David Ash finally looking good against a solid pass defense (Texas Tech is ranked 18th in the nation) with his sixth game of over 200 yards in the air.
There’s enough evidence that what looked like a potential opportunity for Iowa State to win their second straight game in Austin will be much more cumbersome this Saturday.
Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Clones Confidential. Keep up with the latest sports fails and disdain toward the Big Ten by following him on Twitter.