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Texas And Iowa State Face Off In Thursday Night Game

Texas and Iowa State square off in a prime time match-up that will set the stage for what each team hopes to accomplish for the balance of the season.

Getty Images - Cooper Neill

Texas and Iowa State are both looking to 2017 to show progress from new coaching regimes. Iowa State is hoping to improve upon a disjointed, but hopeful, 2016 campaign where they achieved three wins. Texas is in the opening stage of the Tom Herman era and hoping to show rapid progress from an early stumble.

LOCATION:Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
FORECAST:Sunny and 70F
Betting Line:Texas -6.5

Texas Longhorns (1-2)

Texas is 1-2 coming off a bye week, previously having suffered a spirited double overtime loss to USC. While a loss, it has been widely regarded as a successful trip for Texas who showed a stout defense and resilient offense. Texas was undermanned up front and played a true freshman quarterback, but outstanding wideout Collin Johnson carried the offensive attack.

Outside of the game against SJSU, Texas has not been able to establish a consistent running attack. Running backs Warren and Porter have struggled, which is largely related to their health issues in the offensive line.

It appears Shane Buechele will be back at quarterback, though I expect to see Sam Ehlinger during the game. Protecting the quarterback may be a more daunting task against an Iowa State squad that tallied six sacks in its last outing against Akron.

Iowa State Cyclones (2-1)

Iowa State has scored more than 40 points in its first three contests and features an underrated quarterback in Jacob Park and an underrated running back in David Montgomery. While the offensive line has struggled at times in the running game, they have allowed only one sack in the non-conference schedule which included an overtime loss to a strong Iowa squad.

Iowa State’s defense has been strong against the run, but has struggled in coverage. Iowa State is yielding a 47% conversion rate on third down.

This game sets up to be a strength on strength match-up. Iowa State’s offense against the improved Texas defense. The talent disparity has narrowed between these two programs, but that disparity is largely responsible for the betting line.

Keys to the Game for ISU

Win Turnover Battle – Texas has five non-offensive touchdowns in three game. Iowa State cannot turn the ball over and hope to make progress against the Texas defense.

Stop The Run – Iowa State’s run defense is ranked 26th nationally through three games and it will need to be stout against Texas. The must put pressure on the Texas quarterback to move the ball through the air without the luxury of a complimentary ground game. This will allow an opportunity for pressure to be brought and for Iowa State to get a key turnover.

Counter Texas’ Pressure – Texas will bring quick, fast pressure. Iowa State has a tendency to run slow developing plays that will not work well against the Texas defense. Park will have to deliver the ball quickly to routes run in to the uncovered areas in order to slow down the pressure and move the ball.

Keys To The Game for Texas

Come Out Focused – Play with the same intensity they brought to the USC game. It should not be hard to mount consistent effort, but it was clear that Texas brought another level of intensity to the USC game. It is simple…they play better the faster they play. Bring that intensity and let your talent take control.

Establish Passing Game – Pass the ball on Iowa State’s safeties. Iowa State struggles in coverage across the board, but they have shown a tendency to have game breaking lapses at the safety position. Texas must scheme to pass against the safeties. There is risk in attacking the middle of the field, but there are big plays to be made there.

Disrupt Jacob Park – Last year, Texas sacked Iowa State quarterbacks 8 times. The pressure stagnated the Iowa State offense and allowed the offense to get on track. Park can carve a team up if he is not pressured. Texas can create separation by making Park uncomfortable.

Game Prediction

If Texas gets pressure on Park, then I believe they can outpace the Cyclones potent offense. Texas should find success against the Iowa State secondary with Collin Johnson. I expect turnovers to be key. Ultimately, Texas prevails as their defensive pressure proves to be too much.

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