The Longhorns (1-2, 0-0) and Cyclones (2-1, 0-0) will meet for the 15th time in history on Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa in a prime-time matchup scheduled for 7:01 PM CST on ESPN. Texas holds an all-time record of 12-2 against Iowa State, including a 27-6 victory last season in Austin.
In their most recent trip to Ames (2015), the Longhorns were shutout by the Cyclones 24-0 under former head coach Charlie Strong.
Will Texas open Big 12 play with a road victory over Iowa State?
The HornSports staff give their predictions on the outcome of the game.
The Longhorns simply have not been able to win away from DKR for the past 2 years. Texas lone road victory in 2015 came at Baylor, and their lone road victory in 2016 came at Texas Tech. Nothing about going on the road for a Thursday night game against Iowa State should give Longhorn fans warm fuzzies. With that being said, I am beginning to see signs that players are beginning to believe in Tom Herman and in each other.
Iowa State has talent that could give Texas some problems. Allen Lazard and David Montgomery are future NFL players. For Texas, I worry about the offensive cohesion and how the game flow will play out. I see this is as the type of the game where the defense will have to carry the load again while the offense tries to find a rhythm.
In the end, I think Texas has the better defense and that will be the difference. Iowa State will give Texas all they can handle, but it’s hard to ignore the progress we have seen the past 2 games.
Score Prediction: Texas 24, Iowa State 14
This game always makes me uneasy and that goes double for when it’s on road in Ames at night. Iowa State always gives Texas their best shot regardless of big of an underdog they are, and I don’t expect this year to be any different. The Cyclone offense has show thru three games that they are capable of scoring points so this will be another good test for the Texas defense that looked much improved against USC. ISU QB Jacob Park looks much better than when we last saw him in Austin last fall and his two favorite targets in Hakeem Butler and Allen Lazard have combined for 6 touchdowns thus far.
I don’t expect this to be a cakewalk and with Texas trying to figure some things out offensively, I think this one will be closer than Texas wants it to be, but they eventually pull away down the stretch. I think having an extra week of prep and getting healthy will prove to beneficial in the long run.
Score Prediction: Texas 35, Iowa State 24
Last time Texas traveled to Ames, an eye-opening 24-0 shutout occurred. This team is much different than they were two years ago, but so is Iowa State.
Last year, Matt Campbell was in many ways in a similar situation of Tom Herman and Texas this year – a new coach with new philosophies trying to instill a new culture. After one year as head coach, Matt Campbell really seems to be turning the Cyclones’ program around.
Tom Herman knows Texas cannot take this team lightly. After a surprisingly decent performance against No. 5 USC, fans are eager to see how the Horns react.
Ames is a place teams go to survive. I think Tom Herman and his squad will do just that. After a fantastic defensive performance, Texas will look to start where it left off. On offense, Shane Buechele will likely get the start. However, look for Sam Ehlinger to receive some meaningful snaps as well. All in all this game will be too close for comfort, but the Longhorns will survive and live to see another day.
Score Prediction: Texas 28, Iowa State 21
Recent history shows Texas has its share of challenges in shutting the door and locking it on Iowa State and I expect Thursday night to be no different. Iowa State fields a very capable offense behind quarterback Jacob Park and sophomore running back David Montgomery, and Todd Orlando has another opportunity to show that his unit’s solid performance against a prolific USC offense was no fluke.
On offense, the Longhorns have questions to answer. Can they establish a running game? Which quarterback gives them the best chance to win football games? Will playmakers be given opportunities to make plays?
Simple, yet complex….
Statistically, Texas and Iowa State are comparable on defense. Tim Beck’s offensive game plan needs to be consistent and creative to keep the Longhorns a step and a score ahead of the Cyclones on their home turf.
Tom Herman gets his first conference and road victory on Thursday evening with a two score win over Iowa State.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, Iowa State 24
Texas needs to establish a running game early and often. Whether it be Chris Warren III, Kyle Porter, Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, or even Jerrod Heard in the Wildcat, the Longhorns need to impose their will on the ground so that they can help alleviate whoever it is throwing the football. Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger might both get reps against the Cyclones, and they’ll need to be at their best against a hot Iowa State team. The Cyclones are led by QB Jacob Park and running back David Montgomery has rushed 56 times for 321 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Cyclones have surpassed 400 yards in six-straight games, a school record, which means the Longhorns will be put to the test being as they are depleted in the defensive line and already have not played well against the rush. This could be a close game as both teams will be looking for their first win in Big 12 Conference play. I predict the Longhorns will put on the same pressure that they did against the Trojans and combined with an offense full of much needed adjustments will win a close one, 35-27.
Score Prediction: Texas 35, Iowa State 27
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