Cyclones looking to make history versus Longhorns this weekend
The Clones last beat UT in 2015, the program's last game under the leadership of ex-head coach Paul Rhoads. ISU has an 0-3 record versus the Longhorns since Matt Campbell arrived.
Can Campbell and his team finally break through against the Longhorns? Here's what to watch when ISU and UT take the field in Ames on Saturday afternoon.
Texas at Iowa State
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Iowa State -6.5
When Texas Has the Ball
The offense of the Longhorns showed the kind of balance head coach Tom Herman relishes in Texas' win a week ago against the Kansas State Wildcats. Texas threw for 263 yards and ran for 214. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger appeared to be in control throughout the game, and UT produced more chunk plays from its passing game than usual.
Texas faces a tougher test this week in the form of the Iowa State defense, one of the best in the Big 12. The Cyclones have the kind of personnel in their anti-spread unit to combat the dangerous targets out wide for the Longhorns.
Texas will need to exercise some patience to move the ball consistently versus ISU. Ehlinger might end up running the ball a touch more than usual, too.
When Iowa State Has the Ball
ISU struggled to move the ball last week against the Oklahoma Sooners – until they didn't. The Cyclones put up the vast majority of their 477 total yards in the second half of the game, scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter. It made for a thrilling comeback that ultimately came up short for ISU.
Rallies may be exciting, but head coach Matt Campbell would almost certainly prefer to see his team come out of the gate a little quicker this week versus the Longhorns. ISU quarterback Brock Purdy will have plenty of chances to put the ball in the hands of his receivers on short routes to exploit UT's spotty tackling in the secondary. A larger concern for Purdy would be avoiding the turnovers that led to ISU's demise a few weeks ago versus the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
One factor that could go overlooked in this matchup is the weather. The forecast calls for a bitterly cold day in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday, which favors the home team over the one from Austin. Those kinds of conditions can lead to sloppy ball security and breakdowns in fundamentals.
If the Longhorns can fight through the elements, they will still need to find a way to keep Brock Purdy contained. The ISU QB played a superb game (357 total yards, 6 total TDs) against Oklahoma last week as the Sooners struggled when Purdy broke containment and improvised.
Sam Ehlinger can't afford to make any of the big mistakes this week, such as forcing throws into the team of the Iowa State secondary. Don't be surprised if a couple of turnovers put the Clones in a favorable position to pull out a win in a wild shootout.
Prediction: Iowa State 40, Texas 31
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.