Ever since Matt Campbell arrived and turned Iowa State into a legitimate program, Texas’ showdown with the Cyclones has taken on massive importance at the end of the year when it comes up on the schedule.
Iowa State pasted Kansas State 45-0 last week, raising their record to a conference leading 6-1 (6-2 overall) with an inside track to the Big 12 title game. All they have to do is beat Texas and handle West Virginia at home to secure a guaranteed berth. In fact, they could lose one of those games and still get in. But that's unlikely.
There’s some potential for trouble in the postponement of Texas’ road trip to Lawrence to play the Jayhawks. Three different troubling scenarios now loom for the Longhorns. Scenario one sees Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State in Bedlam on Saturday night and then each win out, Texas beats Iowa State and Kansas State, and then all they have to do in order to enter a three-way tie atop the standings is go on the road the week before the Big 12 Championship Game and beat the Jayhawks.
When Ian Boyd first gave Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy the nickname “Pump-fake Purdy,” the term that came to my mind was “one trick pony.” Following Texas’ 2018 matchup versus the Cyclones, I felt justified in my label. The Longhorn defense was well-prepared for the freshman quarterback’s pump-fake and the rest of the Cyclone offense, limiting Purdy to a poor 10-of-23 passing for 130 yards and one interception.
Ultimately, Texas needs to win the Big 12 in 2020. This team’s confidence, judging by the tumultuous offseason and their track record under Tom Herman in the last few seasons, probably needs some early wins against LSU and Oklahoma. The goals of the season though shouldn’t necessarily be impacted by either of those outcomes.
Texas’ offense produced more drives resulting in zero or fewer yards than drives ending in touchdowns in a 23-21 loss to Iowa State that eliminated the Longhorns from Big 12 Championship contention.
That game absolutely looked like two heavily flawed teams with conference title hopes leaving everything they had on the field in pursuit of a big win. Evidently Iowa State's bad luck streak was no match for Texas' horrendous initial game plan and then end of game management.