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Texas’ Defense Shines in Win Over Cyclones

Texas and Iowa State faced off in a defensive battle on Thursday night.

(Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

Texas’ Defense Shines in Win Over Cyclones

The Texas Longhorns took care of business on the road Thursday, against the Iowa State Cyclones. This was not a typical Big 12 shootout; it was a game dominated by defense, headlined by a number of impressive defensive highlights. Despite the occasional highlight, to be frank, this was an ugly game filled with unimpressive quarterback play.

Texas struck first, when Chris Warren III rumbled into the end zone to cap off an 81-yard drive. After both teams exchanged turnovers back and forth, Texas’ Toneil Carter burned Joel Lanning for a 22-yard touchdown reception to put the Longhorns up 14-0 heading into halftime.

Iowa State made some solid halftime adjustments, and gave Texas problems in the third quarter. The Cyclones brought more pressure, making life difficult for Shane Buechelle and the injury ridden offensive line, which may be something UT needs to prepare for in the future. After Kamari Cotton-Moya picked off Buechele and Iowa State had the ball in Texas territory, the Cyclones finally got on the board when Jacob Park found Matthew Eaton for an 11-yard touchdown.

With the score sitting at 14-7 and Iowa State having seized all of the momentum, the Longhorns responded as DeShon Elliot silenced the crowd with his second interception of the day. Texas capitalized off the turnover with a 49-yard field goal from Josh Rowland to extend the lead to 17-7 early in the fourth quarter.

Texas held off the Cyclones in the final minutes, securing the 17-7 victory in Ames. The Texas Longhorns improved to 2-2 on the season and are showing steady signs of improvement since the debacle against Maryland. Although it was not pretty, Texas knows all too well to never take a win at Jack Trice Stadium for granted.

Iowa State dropped to 2-2 on the season after this disappointing performance. The Cyclone offense had scored over 40 points in all of their games this season prior to this loss. On the bright side, the Iowa State defense played a great game and made life very difficult for the Longhorn offense, and flashed some great potential.

TEAM STATS

MATCHUP UT ISU
1st Downs 19 18
3rd Down Eff 11-23 3-12
4th Down Eff 1-1 0-2
Total Yards 312 256
Passing 171 246
Comp-Att 19-26 24-49
Yards Per Pass 6.6 5.0
Interceptions 1 3
Rushing 141 10
Rush Att 52 15
Yards.Per Rush 2.7 0.7
Fumbles Lost 1 0
Penalties 10-76 4-40
Possession 40:31 19:29
PASS LEADERS C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT QBR
UT – S. Buechele 19/26 171 6.6 1 1 49.6
ISU – J. Park 24/48 246 5.1 1 3 18.1
RUSH LEADERS CAR YDS AVG TD LONG
UT – C. Warren 16 44 2.8 1 11
ISU – D. Montgomery 9 34 3.8 0 9
RECEIVING LEADERS REC YDS AVG TD LONG
UT – L. Humphrey 4 36 9.0 0 28
ISU – A. Lazard 5 63 12.6 0 17

EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK

True freshman running back, Toneil Carter, had his best game of the season thus far. He scored his second career touchdown and provided the Horns with a quicker change of pace back. If Carter continues to progress, he will be able to challenge Kyle Porter and Chris Warren for the starting job.

Texas continues to have trouble solidifying a starting quarterback. Shane Buechele looked hesitant all game and he had trouble getting a real rhythm going. To make matters worse for Buechele, he injured his ankle against the Cyclones. Texas is now back in another situation of trying to decide who will start under center next week against Kansas State.

Jacob Park may have turned in his worst game as a Cyclone. He completed 50% of his passes for one touchdown and three interceptions. Park did not respond well to Texas’ pressure and he scored an abysmal QBR of 18.1. To be fair, the wide receivers did not give Park much help, but that may be a result of Texas’ excellent defense.

Although Park has solidified the starting job and has had a fine early season, some Cyclone fans were calling for Park to be benched in favor of redshirt freshman Zeb Noland. Perhaps those claims were rash and a product of the heat of the moment. Iowa State will rightfully live by and die by Jacob Park, and quite frankly, he gives the Cyclones a chance to win every game on their schedule. Look for Park to bounce back next week against an Oklahoma defense who was exposed by Baylor.

After being compared to Saquon Barkley before the game, Cyclone star running back—David Montgomery—had a quiet day. He took 9 carries for only 34 yards, averaging 3.8 yards a carry. Iowa State needs to give Montgomery more touches heading forward because he is one of the most talented players on the roster. The Cyclones will need a big game from him next week if they want to beat Oklahoma.

The Texas defense is beginning to emerge as perhaps the best defense in the Big 12. Malik Jefferson is playing the best football of his career, and he gave Jacob Park nowhere to run. The Texas secondary is playing at a level we haven’t seen from the Longhorns since 2009. Kris Boyd joined the interception party when he picked off Jacob Park to give Texas its second interception of the night.

DeShon Elliot played centerfield all night long and took advantage of Jacob Park’s poor throws under pressure, picking him off twice. Elliot now has four interceptions in the last two games and is quickly becoming one of the best safeties in the nation.

It is a true pleasure watching Joel Lanning have success at linebacker. The former quarterback had his best day of the year thus far, making a total of 20 tackles! Fellow linebacker, Marcel Spears, had a great game as well with 14 total tackles.

Iowa State travels to Norman to take on the Oklahoma Sooners next week. If the Cyclone offense does not play a better game than they did this Saturday, it could get ugly quick. Baker Mayfield will put up far more points than the Texas offense did against Iowa State. The Cyclones will need to play their best game to get a shot at the upset.

Texas hosts Kansas State this Saturday in what should be a great matchup. This game will probably be a very low scoring defensive showdown. Texas needs to establish an identity on offense heading into this Big 12 gauntlet. The Longhorn defense seems legit, but the Longhorns ability to compete in the Big 12 will be predicated on the progression of this Texas offense.

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