No. 7 Texas seeks stronger finish at Iowa State
No. 7 Texas will look to remain atop the Big 12 Conference standings and build on a four-game winning streak when it travels to play talented and dangerous Iowa State on Saturday night in Ames, Iowa.
This will be the Longhorns' final road game as a member of the Big 12 as Texas (and Oklahoma) move to the Southeastern Conference in 2024. Prior to the season, the Longhorns' stated goal was to win the league title on their way out, and a win over the Cyclones would get them closer to achieving that goal.
The Longhorns (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) are alone atop the league standings with two regular-season games to play. Texas' 9-1 start is the best for the program since 2009 and the Longhorns stayed at No. 7 in the CFP rankings for the third straight week.
Texas is back on the road after surviving 29-26 at TCU on Nov. 11. The Longhorns rolled to a 26-6 halftime lead but had to produce a goal-line stand and then convert a final third-and-12 situation to run out the clock.
Quinn Ewers passed for 317 yards and a score and Jonathon Brooks tallied 178 yards from scrimmage (104 on the ground) and two scores before being forced from the game with a right knee injury early in the fourth quarter. The school announced Sunday that Brooks is for the season with an ACL injury.
In the past two games, Texas has been outscored 36-6 in the fourth quarter as Kansas State scored 16 in the final 15 minutes to force overtime and TCU put up 20 points in failing just short.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian called the performance "out of character."
"We have to do a better job of keeping our mental intensity, our focus, and continuing to play the brand and style of football that got us that lead," Sarkisian said. "For a team that has been so good in the fourth quarter all year, I would say it is out of character and unacceptable."
Iowa State heads home after a dominating 45-13 win at BYU on Nov. 11. Rocco Becht passed for 203 yards with two touchdowns to Jaylin Noel (98 yards receiving), and Abu Sama III rushed for 110 yards and two scores as the Cyclones became bowl eligible. Iowa State led 31-7 at halftime, amassed 443 yards of total offense and didn't turn the ball over.
After a difficult 2-3 start that included a loss to Ohio, Iowa State is 4-1 with a close loss to Kansas as the only blemish. The Cyclones (6-4, 5-2) find themselves in a four-way tie for second place in the league and can take a big step toward playing in the Big 12 championship game with a victory over Texas.
"What a great challenge for our young team to step into an arena with this kind of football team," Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. "We'll have to have a great team game plan in order to win the football game. Our focus has been that we want to play meaningful football in November."
Iowa State has won three of the past four games with the Longhorns, who have not won in Ames since 2017.
--Field Level Media
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