Iowa State (1-2, 0-0) opens up Big 12 play against Texas (2-2, 1-0), a team they generally don’t see too much success against. To be exact, they’re just 1-9 against them all-time.
But the culture has changed in recent years for both teams. Longhorns fans have grown tired of the minimal success their program has had since losing the national championship against Alabama in 2010, and the Cyclones continue to see success since Paul Rhoads has taken over.
Texas Longhorns vs. Iowa State Cyclones
Jack Trice Stadium | Ames, IA
KICKOFF – 6:30 PM CT | TV – ESPN
- Broadcast information
- By the numbers
- Five players to watch
- Scouting Texas’ offense
- Scouting Texas’ defense
- Cyclones RB Aaron Wimberly will start
- Longhorns QB Case McCoy will start
- Cyclones defense keeps things simplified
- Weather will likely impact the game
Iowa State’s lone win against Texas came in the season after the Longhorns went to the national championship in 2010, an unexpected 28-21 victory in Austin.
Looking just at the numbers themselves, both teams can relate to the same struggles. Defensively, neither of them have been good at stopping the run, something that Texas is trying to solve immediately after firing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after just two games this season. For Iowa State, it’s more of the youth that’s been the problem and the coaching staff is finding ways to simplify things to help them understand what to do on the field.
Both teams in general are very young, so mistakes and bad play are something that fans from both sides have been watching all season.
Texas has also been decimated with injuries. As of Thursday morning, there are a total of 14 players listed on the DonBest injury report. Three of the biggest impacts are quarterback David Ash not even making the trip to Ames, linebacker Jordan Hicks being out for the season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon, and wide receiver Mike Davis currently listed as questionable with an ankle injury.
The Longhorns will be facing adversity with a loud crowd that’s hungry for their football team to get the season back at .500 and keep their bowl hopes alive.
Keys to Victory
- Establishing Aaron Wimberly on the ground is pivotal. With soggy conditions likely, Iowa State needs to pound it over the Longhorns. If Wimberly can’t get anything going in the first half, don’t be surprised if the Cyclones have a quick leash and bring out James White or Shontrelle Johnson.
- Tom Farniok needs to bring his full effort and stay healthy. The center routinely went back to the sidelines against Tulsa, but hopefully he’ll be able to be out there the entire time the offense is. There’s a night-and-day difference with the offensive line when he’s out there.
- The crowd needs to be loud as hell. There’s no denying that the home field advantage must be a factor to intimidate Texas, and it could be harder to do that with the bad weather in the forecast. No matter what the conditions are, fans need to pack the Jack and make the place rock.
With so many storylines coming into the game, this is an incredibly hard game to predict. Not facing Ash is a plus for the Cyclones defense, but now the secondary will have its biggest test of the season with Case McCoy not being a scrambler. All the injuries Texas has puts them in a rough spot, but they have much more depth because…well, it’s Texas.
Running the ball against Tulsa opened up Iowa State’s offense, and Courtney Messingham called one hell of a game. Sam Richardson threw the ball to 11 different receivers. Now that the secondary won’t be nearly as wide open, Richardson will have to find the players he can count on the most to make plays and not drop the ball in bad conditions.
The crowd will rock at Jack Trice, but I don’t expect the Cyclones to come out victorious. The Longhorns have had Iowa State’s number multiple times in Ames. With atrocious field goal kicking and the Cyclones’ offensive line facing beasts from Texas, it’s hard to feel comfortable that they can establish a running game.
Mack Brown will be safe for another week.
TEX 29, IA ST 24 (Odds: ISU +7, U55.5)