When Big 12 programs collide, there’s always the possibility that fireworks will follow. That’s certainly the case for this late Saturday afternoon tilt as the Texas Longhorns take their act on the road to square off with the Iowa State Cyclones.
The Longhorns entered 2019 with big goals. Sam Ehlinger was being viewed as a potential Heisman contender, while the team set a goal of taking down the Big 12 and being in consideration for a berth in the College Football Playoffs.
Three losses later, those dreams are off the table. However, Texas still has plenty to play for as a strong finish could lead to a marquee bowl spot for a program with a huge following. As for Iowa State, the club checks in at 5-4 as it continues the quest for bowl eligibility.
While the team’s record doesn’t sound all that great, consider that the four defeats have come by a combined grand total of 11 points. A few more balls bounce the Cyclones way, and we’re talking about a team that’s an even bigger factor in the Big 12 down the stretch. Let’s take a look at the matchup in full detail, starting with the game lines.
Texas vs. Iowa State, 3:30 PM EST, Sat. Nov.16, FS1
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Texas vs. Iowa State Pick:
The Longhorns were home last week for a visit from Kansas State as 7-point favorites. The Wildcats held a 14-7 lead at the half. It was all tied up at 24 apiece late in the fourth quarter. Cameron Dicker booted a 53-yard game winner as time expired for a 27-24 Longhorns win. Keaontay Ingram ran for 139 yards and two scores in the win. Kansas State racked up 477 total yards versus the struggling Longhorns defense.
The Cyclones spent Saturday in Oklahoma. They walked on the field as 14.5-point underdogs, but they proceeded to give the hosts all they could handle. Oklahoma held a 35-14 lead at the half, but Iowa State stormed back after the break. The Sooners escaped with a 42-41 victory after a failed two-point conversion try by the Cyclones. Brock Purdy threw five TDs in the loss.
|Iowa State||5-4||3-3||328||225||L2||6-Big 12||NA|
Texas opened up 2019 by hammering Louisiana Tech by a score of 45-14. They met their match the following week when LSU came to town, falling by a score of 45-38. Three straight wins followed, two of them by double digits. Since then, Texas has hit a rough patch and gone 2-2. The two wins over that span have come by a combined total of five points.
Iowa State received a scare right out of the gate as they needed triple OT to escape with a win over Northern Iowa. The team dropped two of its next three, losing by a point to Iowa and two points to Baylor. Three straight wins followed, but the team has dropped its last two in a row. Three of the team’s four losses on the season have come by two points or less.
As expected, the Texas offense has been pretty prolific this season. An average of 37.8 points per game ranks 14th in the country. Overall, there’s a good balance to the attack. The team is struggling on the protection front. The defense has been a big disappointment. Attrition in the secondary is part of the problem. Opponents have had little trouble airing it out against the Longhorns.
Ehlinger is having a good season overall, but he hasn’t taken the huge leap many were anticipating. To date, he has 29 total scores versus eight picks. Ingram leads the way out of the backfield with a line of 114/633/6. Devin Duvernay has been the top pass catching option at 78/910/7. Brandon Jones leads with 60 tackles, right ahead of Joseph Assai at 60. Juwan Mitchell leads with three sacks.
Iowa State has an offense which is right in range with this week’s opponents. The team is posting an average of 36.4 points per game, which checks in at 20th in the nation. There’s balance here as well, but the passing attack is the strength. On defense, the unit is much more balanced than what Texas brings to the table for this week’s festivities.
Purdy is having himself a fine season behind center. He has 27 total scores versus seven INTs thus far with a 68.0 completion percentage. Breece Hall is the team’s leading rusher at 99/585/7. Deshaunte Jones paces the pass catchers with a line of 56/604/1. Marcel Spears Jr. leads the team with 70 tackles, while O’Rien Vance is tops with 6.5 sacks.
Texas holds an all-time advantage of 14-2 over Iowa State in head-to-head meetings. The Longhorns have won the last three in the series as well, including a 24-10 home win last season.
For the season to date, the Longhorns are 4-5 against the spread and 6-3 on the Over/Under. The Cyclones are 5-3-1 ATS and 4-4-1 on totals.
Since the 2016 season, Texas is 1-4 straight-up as a road underdog and 2-3 ATS. Iowa State is 11-2 overall as a home favorite over that span and 6-7 ATS.
Texas was expected to contend for a Big 12 crown this season, but two losses in conference play already have taken care of that. Struggles on defense have been a downfall over the recent 2-2 stretch, and they have been lucky to escape with two wins over that span as a result.
Iowa State is a tough squad which has been more competitive than the 5-4 record indicates. Three of the defeats have been excruciatingly close. This team isn’t that far behind the powers in the Big 12, but they are who their record says they are.
For this tilt, the Cyclones are pretty big home favorites. They may get the win over a struggling Texas team, but they also have a habit of playing it close. Longhorns plus the points is the call.