This game doesn’t have quite the hype that people were expecting it to have at the beginning of the season, but it should still be a great game. Two teams that haven’t had the seasons they were hoping for, but still a lot to play for.
Iowa State comes into this game off of a slim, heart wrenching, and controversial loss to the highly-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. They got off to a slow start but then got things going in the second half. In the end, it came down to a Cyclone two-point conversion attempt. Oklahoma gets the stop and wins 42-41 in primetime.
Texas came off of a close game themselves, but they were on the winning end of theirs. They got off to a slow start of their own, going down 14-0 against Kansas State, but were able to pull themselves to a 10-point lead by the fourth quarter. They eventually had to fight off a Wildcat comeback but were able to weather the storm for a 27-24 victory.
- When: Sat, Nov 16, 2:30 PM CT
- Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
- Forecast: Mostly Sunny, High of 41°F
- Stream: Fox Sports Go
- Betting Line: ISU -7.0 O/U 65.5
No. 19 Texas Longhorns (6-3)
BY JOSH COWAN
Led by quarterback Sam Ehlinger, Texas has fielded possibly their best offense this decade, scoring an average of 37.8 points per game in 2019. The “pro spread” offense for the Longhorns revolves largely around the dual threat capabilities that Ehlinger provides, as the junior has run for over 400 yards this season and thrown for more than 2,600.
His primary weapon thus far has been slot receiver Devin Duvernay, a stout but speedy player who has 78 yards receiving on the season. Texas relies heavily on their short passing game, so look for Duvernay to get catches in those situations. Keep on sophomore running back Keaontay Ingram as well, who had the best game of his career last week against Kansas State, racking up 139 yards and 8.7 yards per carry.
As good as the offense has been, the defensive side of the ball has really struggled for the Longhorns this year. Texas has been strong against the run, but they’ve been prone to give up big plays in the passing game. They have also picked off opposing passers 11 times in 2019, so “inconsistent” would be the best way to describe the secondary of the Longhorns this season.
Texas Keys to the Game
Win Turnover Margin: Since both of these teams have great offenses, with their defensive struggles Texas probably needs to get at least one more turnover than the Cyclones. Doing so would give the Longhorns an additional possession that they will likely need.
Control The Clock: As the visiting team in a hostile environment, Texas should want to possess the ball and slow the game down. That can help take the crowd out of the game, and keep Iowa State’s offense off the field.
Make The Cyclones Throw It: In their five wins, Iowa State has thrown the ball an average of 31.4 times per contest, while in their four losses they’ve averaged 43.3 attempts a game. Texas will need to be able to contain the elusive Breece Hall and keep Brock Purdy in the pocket most of the day if they want to contain an offense scoring 36.4 points a contest.
One of my favorite football cliches is “big players play big in big games,” and Texas will need that to happen on Saturday in Ames. Specifically, the Longhorns will need their upperclassmen leaders to step up to give themselves the best chance to win this one. I think Texas will be competitive in this one, and likely cover the seven points that Iowa State’s getting right now, but ultimately the Cyclones get the win at home.
Iowa State Cyclones
BY COLTON WOOD
The Cyclones are coming off of a close, heartbreaking loss to the top-10 Oklahoma Sooners. After being down by 21 points at halftime, Iowa State battled back to the point where they were going for two for a one-point lead with 24 seconds left. Had they completed that conversion, they likely would have won the game. Many fans are upset about a controversial no PI call on the two-point conversion attempt.
Most Cyclone fans know they are past the point of moral victories, but how can you not love this team. They continuously improve week in and week out. They never give up. They have so much heart and fight in them. They may make mistakes, but they learn from them. When they were down to Oklahoma State’s explosive offense three weeks ago, they panicked and ended up throwing the ball 62 times. Last week, they knew not to panic and stuck with the run game and it worked.
Some people may question Matt Campbell’s decision to go for two, but it seems as though most fans are standing by his decision. First of all, Campbell knows this team better than anyone. He would know whose hands to put the ball into with the game on the line. Second, sure they had been starting to figure things out late, but do you really want to give that Oklahoma offense only 25 yards to get to the end zone? Lastly, Campbell made a great point when he said, “When I see Brock Purdy just keep making unbelievable plays. I’d rather put the game in his hands.” Per Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register on Twitter.
Iowa State Keys To The Game
Contain Ehlinger: Sam Ehlinger may not be having quite the season that people had expected him to have, but he is still a guy who can go out there and play gritty football. He’s not the greatest thrower, but he can run and run tough. Iowa State has struggled this season with even non-mobile quarterbacks scrambling for first downs. Hopefully, they can use what they figured out against Jalen Hurts in the second half on Ehlinger.
No Slow Start: Slow starts have plagued Iowa State all season, and as a fan, it hurts to watch. Got down 20-0 against Baylor and stormed back to take the lead late. Got down by double digits to Oklahoma State and fought back to tie in the fourth quarter. Got down by 21 at halftime to Oklahoma and battled back with a chance to win it on a two-point conversion. That’s three of their four losses right there. If you get off to a stronger start in those games, you’re looking at a very different season for the Cyclones.
Just Play Ball: If Matt Campbell and Co go out and play their brand of football, they will win this game. Texas doesn’t have the distinct talent advantage that they usually do. They don’t have the distinct size advantage that they usually do. Lastly, they have a condition disadvantage. It is supposed to feel like 32 degrees at kickoff on Saturday. Not too bad actually, but definitely cooler than what they’re used to. The last time Texas came to Ames late in the season, which was in 2015, Iowa State won 24-0.
This team is angry right now. They are frustrated that they came so close to victory last week just to fall a play short. They’re going to be looking for someone to take this anger out on, and I bet it will be Texas this week. Brock Purdy is going to be Brock Purdy. Breece Hall will keep showing us how great of a running back he is. The defense will remind us that they are the best defense in the Big 12. Final Score: ISU 42-24