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Texas vs. Iowa State Football Prediction and Preview

Texas Longhorns vs. Iowa State Cyclones Football Prediction and Preview

Cyclones and Longhorns are looking for reasons for optimism

The 2021 college football season isn't going the way the Iowa State Cyclones and Texas Longhorns hoped.

Iowa State entered the year with visions of a Big 12 title and bid to the College Football Playoff. Those aspirations probably died last week when West Virginia upset the Cyclones, 38-31, to drop them to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in conference games.

Meanwhile, the Longhorns slogged through yet another late collapse in a 31-24 loss at Baylor. The loss dropped their record to 4-4 (2-3 in Big 12) on the year.

Here's what to watch as Texas and Iowa State try to get their seasons back on track.

Texas at Iowa State

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1
Spread: Iowa State -6.5

When Texas Has the Ball

Texas running back Bijan Robinson looked like a mere mortal last week in UT's loss to Baylor. The Bears made a point of taking Texas' stud out of the game, and Robinson ran for just 43 yards on 17 rushing attempts.

The running game's inefficiency put the onus on the UT passing attack to pull out the win. Quarterback Casey Thompson threw for 280 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. That wasn't enough to outlast the Bears, though.

The Cyclones may try to replicate the Bears' success in slowing down Robinson. Keep an eye on how UT head coach Steve Sarkisian responds. Speculation is mounting that the Longhorns may go back to Hudson Card behind center to light a fire under the offense.

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When Iowa State Has the Ball

Texas defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski needs to come up with a way to contain ISU workhorse Breece Hall. The Cyclones' feature running back chewed up 167 yards on 24 carries last week in Morgantown against a stingy WVU defense. Hall is averaging 5.5 yards per carry through eight games.

If the Longhorns cheat up to stop Hall, quarterback Brock Purdy will have opportunities to hit on downfield shots to receiver Xavier Hutchinson. Purdy will try to bounce back from a disappointing outing against the Mountaineers in which he completed 16 of 27 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. Not awful, but also not efficient.

Also, watch out for ISU receiver Tarique Milton, who caught a 68-yard touchdown pass last week versus WVU. As a shifty target out of the slot, Milton can potentially exploit Texas' poor tackling.

Final Analysis

The Cyclones had the look of a Big 12 contender prior to last week's upset loss to the Mountaineers. Can Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell get his team off the mat? Barring a hangover, the Cyclones should win this game.

Texas' best hope is to bait Purdy into a few questionable throws that it turns into easy points off interceptions. That probably means throwing the house at ISU at the line of scrimmage in hopes of getting pressure in the QB's face.

UT's defensive personnel isn't equipped to do that consistently enough to force the requisite number of mistakes. A late ISU score will probably put this game out of reach in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: Iowa State 30, Texas 21

Podcast: Week 10 Predictions, CFB Playoff Rankings Debate and Conference Expansion News

— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is the founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.