Texas Wins If
Iowa State has been much more competitive in Big 12 play than most people would have thought. In their past two contests, the Cyclones have almost pulled off major upsets against then No. 13 Baylor and TCU, blowing double-digit fourth quarter leads in both of those games.
Iowa State has been competitive because they have gotten their run game going. The Cyclones only rank 65th nationally in terms of rushing yards per game.
But over their past three contests, which includes a win a 44-10 over San Jose State, Iowa State is averaging 182 yards on the ground, almost 40 more yards than their season average.
This resurgence of the run game has taken pressure off junior quarterback Joel Lanning, whose performance has much improved over his last three games. He’s thrown six touchdowns and no interceptions over this span, and is completing 65.5 percent of his passes.
Texas wins if they’re able to shut down Iowa State’s running game, and force the Cyclones to air it out on offense. In the Cyclone’s first three games of the season, the lack of a running game was reflective of the team’s poor performances. Over that span, the Cyclones were blown out by TCU and Iowa, and lost to FCS Northern Iowa.
In those games Lanning was forced to carry a heavier load, and was unable to perform. He threw three interceptions to only three touchdowns, and completed just above fifty percent of his passes.
The key to a Texas victory will be forcing Lanning to lead the Cyclones offense. If Texas can effectively stop the run, it has a great shot at beating Iowa State.
Texas Loses If:
The Cyclones passing offense has not shown the ability to dominate a game, something that bodes well for Texas’ struggling secondary. However, if the Longhorns do not take advantage of this good matchup, then they will be looking at their fourth straight loss.
The Longhorns are coming off of a defensive performance in which they gave up 390 yards through the air against Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Over their past three losses, the Longhorns are giving up nearly 400 passing yards a game.
Lanning is definitely not on the same level as Mayfield, California’s Davis Webb and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, the three quarterbacks who have delivered Texas its three losses. However, he has shown increasing efficiency as the season has worn on and has not thrown an interception since Sept. 10.
If the Longhorns allow Lanning to throw for over 300 yards, then they will be in trouble. Texas not shown the ability to overcome a dominant performance from an opposing quarterback.