The matchup between the No. 15 Iowa State Cyclones and No. 20 Texas Longhorns might be the best we’ll see in the Big 12 this year. Both teams have been playing good football and find themselves climbing the Top 25 rankings. They have each lost a few games, but all in all, the season has been a success thus far.
It’s no surprise to see the Cyclones playing such a high level of football. They’re much improved from the 7-6 team that they were last year, and they owe a lot of it to their strong play on both sides of the football. Their defense isn’t world-beating, but it gets the job done, and the offense can score enough to win most of the time.
College football is always better when Texas is good, and the Longhorns are looking strong as ever. It’s been a few years since they were national championship hopefuls, so it’s nice to see Tom Herman’s team in the spotlight in a good way once more. At 5-2, they haven’t exactly dominated, but they have proven to be a good team in a weird 2020.
The Longhorns are one-point favorites in Saturday’s game, and the over/under is set at 56.5. Kickoff is at noon Eastern on ABC.
Cyclones Look for Huge Win
With just one game remaining after this one, Iowa State will need to keep their pride and dignity high by winning. They should have no issues with West Virginia, so that means that all their focus can remain on the task at hand. Often times, teams of their caliber can overlook good opponents.
It’s been a strong campaign for quarterback Brock Purdy, with 13 TD passes and six interceptions to his name. He’s thrown for 1,713 yards and rushed for another 253.
Iowa State also has one of the best running backs in the country. Breece Hall has amassed 1,169 yards in eight games, leading all college football rushers. Only Alabama’s Najee Harris has more rushing touchdowns this year (Harris has 16, Hall has 15).
Look for the pass-rushing duo of Will McDonald and JaQuan Bailey (12.5 sacks combined) to try and wreak havoc. Linebacker Mike Rose leads the team in interceptions with four; no other Cyclone has more than one.
Texas Hope to Keep Big 12 Title Hopes Alive
If they want to move up in the rankings and perhaps show future recruits that they are a serious program once again, Texas needs to beat Iowa State. It’ll help that they are playing on their home field, and being favored by a pretty tight matchup is also an excellent place to begin.
Sam Ehlinger has continued to sling the ball, firing off 22 touchdown passes (against five interceptions) in just seven games. He’s thrown for 1,834 yards and leads the team with 323 yards on the ground. This stat is both impressive and troubling, given the circumstances. Ehlinger has scored seven rushing touchdowns.
Joseph Ossai has been the leader of the defense with 13.5 tackles for loss. He’ll be tasked with leading the charge to stop Hall. The defense has forced seven fumbles and six interceptions this season, and if they can turn the Cyclones over, the Longhorns can come out on top.
Longhorns Fall Short
Iowa State will squeak by on the road in a close game. A great performance from Ehlinger won’t be enough, and Hall will shine once again.