It’s weird to see both Iowa State (2-4, 0-3) and Texas (2-4, 1-2) sporting the same overall records, but that’s where we stand six games into the season. Both teams still have the expectation to end this season with a bowl berth, and it’s well within reach as the Longhorns continue to improve offensively and the Cyclones face the easier part of their schedule.
Iowa State Cyclones vs Texas Longhorns
Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium | Austin, Texas
Saturday, October 18, 2014 | Kickoff: 7:00 PM CT
TV: Longhorn Network / Cyclones.tv | Web: WatchESPN / Cyclones.tv
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Iowa State needs to get an upset from either one of the Big 12’s traditional football-rich schools or at TCU, and this is probably going to be their best shot if they want to go bowling.
That’s not saying Texas is bad. In fact, this game looks much harder than it did when the Longhorn offense was struggling against BYU and UCLA. But Charlie Strong has this team going in the right direction. Amid the meager offense there’s been an incredible defense.
While the Cyclone defense tends to fizzle out eventually in games because they’re on the field for too long, the Texas defense barely weakens — especially when opponents pass the ball. It’s a different story when it comes to running the ball, but Iowa State hasn’t found much success in that category which negates that advantage.
Nov 10, 2012; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns linebacker Peter Jinkens (19) tackles Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver Jerome Tiller (11) in the fourth quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Texas defeated Iowa State 33-7. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Despite being in the same conference, Iowa State and Texas have had a brief history with just 11 total games. The one and only victory infamously came in 2010 in Austin. There have been some close calls in the later years, and we all still remember last year’s game which could have easily been won by Iowa State if it wasn’t for a late touchdown given up before halftime and the officials blowing a call that clearly had Cyclone defender Jeremiah George taking away the ball to seal away the victory.
However, saying that Iowa State players and fans are still angry is going a bit too far. A lot of Texas believes the Cyclones will be “angry” on the field, but I think the Oklahoma State debacle from two weeks ago and the AD publicly having everyone’s back has sort of tempered the anger.
- Texas is ranked 114th nationally in scoring offense, 101st nationally in rushing offense, and 90th nationally in passing offense. The Longhorns average just under 20 points per game and just over 200 yards per game in the air.
- Texas opponents have had more interceptions (9) than passing touchdowns (5). Same goes for Iowa State (4 INTs, 3 TDs)
- Texas is 93rd nationally in rush defense but 3rd in pass defense.
- 3rd down conversion rate between Texas and their opponents are near equal (33 percent). Interestingly enough, the same holds true with Iowa State at about 48 percent.
- Texas opponents are 10-14 in red zone conversions; Iowa State is 18-19 in red zone conversions. While that’s a good conversion rate, the Cyclones’ 19 attempts are 103rd nationally.
What to watch for
Oct 3, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarter back Sam Richardson (12) looks down field against the Texas Longhorns during the second quarter at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
On paper, this is a horrible matchup for Iowa State. Their strength on offense is a huge strength defensively for Texas. Conversely, if Iowa State had a potent running attack, they could attack the line — especially at the corners.
Sam Richardson is going to have to be very careful in this game. He’ll likely have to use his legs to save some drives, and the linebacker corps for Texas is ferocious — most notably Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond. Richardson will be throwing against an unforgiving pass defense that’s one of the best nationally. They stopped Baylor for over two and a half quarters. That’s pretty damn good.
Unfortunately, Iowa State needs to pass. As tough as it is, it needs to happen because if that’s successful, then they can utilize the running game with either Aaron Wimberly or DeVondrick Nealy — or anyone else that wants to step up. Richardson’s proven he’s more durable by running as much as he has and not going down with injuries, but it’d be ideal for others to get into the rushing offense.
Iowa State needs a carbon copy of the defensive product that was on display against Oklahoma State. Don’t be afraid to put pressure on Tyrone Swoopes. He is improving, but blitzing on certain downs would be beneficial to slowing him down. It’s worth the risk of bringing the house because the secondary’s been great early in games.
As long as they don’t let John Harris, who moved from tight end to wide receiver this season, have a big day. The senior has broken out this season and leads the team with 460 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Oct 11, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Tyrone Swoopes (18) jumps over Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Dominique Alexander (1) as he runs the ball in the fourth quarter at the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma beat Texas 31-26. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Iowa State has to play on the road in the toughest atmosphere they’ll face all season. Texas is a team that’s improving rapidly, and their defense matches up perfectly with the Cyclones offense.
Despite ISU coming off of a big win and gaining much needed confidence, there’s just not enough here to make me believe Iowa State will leave victorious. The road to a bowl game would be much easier if they were able to come out of Austin with a victory, and it’s certainly not impossible considering the Cyclone defense can cause some problems for Texas’ meager offense.
Had this game been in Ames, we’d probably have a different story. Instead, until Iowa State puts up consistent passing performances and can field some sort of running game, Texas pulls away late to a victory.
Texas 31, Iowa State 17