AMES, Iowa — Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell was winless against the Longhorns headed into Saturday’s contest. In fact, the Longhorns were the only team in the Big 12 Campbell hasn’t beaten during his tenure as head coach of the Cyclones. Campbell’s bad fortune against Texas ended on Saturday evening, as did Texas’ hopes of a Big 12 Championship Game appearance, with the Cyclones defeating the Longhorns 23-21 at Jack Trice Stadium.
The Cyclones (6-4, 4-3) dominated the Longhorns (6-4, 4-3) for most of the game, but Texas made a charge in the fourth quarter, erasing a 13 point deficit and taking a one-point lead. Penalties by the Longhorns on Iowa State’s final drive, including a costly one by linebacker Joseph Ossai, allowed the Cyclones to extend the drive when the game clock was a factor and timeouts were sparse. The win made the Cyclones bowl eligible and left the Texas coaching staff scratching their heads, still in search of an identity ten games into the season.
Texas entered the game with the 4th best 3rd down conversion rate in the country. They finished the day 6-17 on third down, well-below their average. The coaching staff knew that in order to beat the Cyclones, they had to outrush and outgain the Cyclones on offense. Neither happened, with Texas totaling 327 total yards to Iowa State’s 466. Sam Ehlinger threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns and Cyclone quarterback Brock Purdy threw for 354 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The lack of rushing production hurt the Longhorns in their upset bid over ISU. Ehlinger led the team in rushing with 27 yards, but the team as a whole gained just 54 yards on the ground on 26 attempts (2.1 average).
Texas played its brand of offensive football for a total of around seven minutes in this contest.
The win by Iowa State ends a three-game winning streak by Texas and makes the Cyclones bowl eligible for the third straight year under Matt Campbell.
After a quick three and out for the Longhorns on the game’s opening drive, Brock Purdy and the Cyclones wasted no time on offense. Running back Breece Hall rushed for 40 yards on four carries to set up a two-yard touchdown pass from Purdy to tight end Charlie Kolar, who was wide open in the end zone. Iowa State held a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
At the 12:02 mark in the second quarter, D’Shawn Jamison intercepted Purdy at the Iowa State 36 yard line. Texas drove to the Cyclone 22 yard line before facing a 4th & 1. Ehlinger kept the ball on the snap and was wrapped up for no gain by ISU defensive back Greg Eisworth.
The Cyclones added a 35-yard field goal from Connor Assalley with :47 left on the clock to increase their lead to 10-0.
Sam Ehlinger engineered a 5-play, 75 yard scoring drive that took just :30 to give Texas their fist points of the game. The drive included pairs of passes to Devin Duvernay and Brennan Eagles. Eagles’ 14 yard acrobatic reception as he tapped a toe in the end zone before going out of bounds capped the drive.
The Longhorns had just 59 yards of total offense prior to their final drive in the second quarter. They finished the first half with 134 total yards.
The Cyclones took the wind out of the Longhorns sails to open the 3rd quarter, using just one play to regain a 10-point lead. On the first play from scrimmage, Purdy eluded several Texas defenders and then took advantage of blown coverage to connect with Deshaunte Jones for a 75-yard touchdown. There wasn’t a Texas defender within 20 yards of Jones when he reeled the pass in.
Assalley’s 48-yard FG at the 12:09 mark extended the Iowa State’s lead to 20-7.
Texas scored 14 unanswered points, with the first touchdown coming from Ehlingher to Keaontay Ingram early in the fourth quarter. After forcing an ISU punt, Texas marched 89 yards and converted a 4th and goal with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Ehlinger to Malcolm Epps.
Texas held their first lead of the game, 21-20, with 5:37 left on the game clock.
On 4th & 5 from the Texas 25 yard line at the 2:16 mark, the Cyclones lined up for a field goal in attempt to regain the lead. In a costly mistake, Texas LB Joseph Ossai jumped offsides giving the Cyclones a fresh set of downs. The Longhorns had just two timeouts remaining, and Iowa State was able to run the clock down to :04 before Connor Assalley kicked a game winning 36-yard field goal.
The Longhorns head to Waco next Saturday to face the Big 12-leading Baylor Bears.
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