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Texas defeats Iowa State 17-7 to win Big 12 Opener

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Longhorns intercept Iowa State’s Jacob Park three times, hold Cyclones to 10 yards rushing in 10-point victory.

 

AMES, IA — The last time Texas travelled to Ames, Iowa the Longhorns managed just 204 yards of total offense and zero points on the scoreboard in a 24-0 shutout at Jack Trice Stadium.  It was Halloween night in 2015 and there were no tricks involved. The Longhorns were simply outplayed.  The loss was the first ever to the Cyclones on the road and the second to then-head coach Paul Rhoads in 5 years.

The Longhorns (2-2, 1-0) and starting quarterback Shane Buechele didn’t put up huge offensive numbers in the 17-7 victory over Iowa State (2-2, 0-1) on Thursday night, but instead rode the backs of Todd Orlando’s defense en route to their first road and conference win of the season.

After winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half, the Texas defense made its presence known early, holding the Cyclones to 4 yards on 3 plays in the game’s opening drive.  The defense would continue to heat up, pressuring quarterback Jacob Park and forcing 3 interceptions on the night.  DeShon Elliott picked off Park twice for his 3rd and 4th interceptions in four games, while Kris Boyd grabbed his first of the season in the second quarter.

The Longhorns found the end zone on their first offensive possession, courtesy of an 11 yard Chris Warren scamper made possible by an extension of downs via an Iowa State unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Texas would add to its lead at the 5:29 mark in the second quarter when Shane Buechele hit freshman running back Toneil Carter in stride for 22 yards and the score.

At the half the Longhorns led the Cyclones 14-0.

The first score of the second half came with 2:05 left in the 3rd quarter, when Iowa State’s Park found Matthew Eaton for an 11 yard touchdown, the first points of the game for the Cyclones.

After three quarters of play the Longhorns led Iowa State 14-7.

Texas kicker Josh Rowland would connect on a 49 yard field goal with 13:25 remaining in the 4th quarter, giving the Longhorns a 17-7 lead.  Texas would hold the Cyclone offense in check for the remainder of the game and secure a 17-7 road win in Ames.

While the win wasn’t picture perfect, it was just that – a win.  A win Texas desperately needed to salvage its season and potentially turn things around as the meat of the schedule approaches.

“We’re going to celebrate this win. Winning college football games is really hard. Really hard.  Winning on the road, in conference, on a Thursday night is even harder.  And we’re going to celebrate it tonight,” said head coach Tom Herman.

Texas deserves the celebration but it will be short-lived, as the Longhorns will immediately begin preparing for Kansas State next Saturday in Austin.

Stat facts

  • The Longhorns held Iowa State to just 10 yards rushing and 256 yards of total offense.
  • The Texas rushing woes continued, with Texas’ leading rusher gaining 44 yards on 16 carries (Chris Warren III). Texas rushed 5 players 52 times for a total of 141 yards (averaging 2.7 yards per carry).
  • Shane Buechele threw for 171 yards and a touchdown in his first game back as the starter since suffering a shoulder injury.
  • Li’lJ Humphrey led the Texas receiving corps on the night with 4 receptions for 36 yards.
  • Texas was penalized 10 times for 76 yards.
  • The Longhorns turned the ball over twice in the game (1-INT, 1-FUM).

Takeaway

The offensive identity of this team still remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the defense has turned the corner and continues to keep the Longhorns in football games.  Tonight’s win was devoid of a base running game again, which will inevitably catch up to the Longhorns sooner or later as they face stronger Big 12 competition.  Connor Williams’ absence on the offensive line is noticeable, as Tristian Nickelson continues to be overmatched at the left tackle position.  The Longhorns are thin at line depth and will have to grind it out and improve play moving forward, as Williams could be out for the long haul.

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Aaron Carrara is the founder and publisher of HornSports and has covered University of Texas athletics since 2011. Aaron is a member of the Football Writer's Association of America and the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association and is a proud father to three boys.

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