College Football Big 12 Picks: Texas Longhorns at Iowa State Cyclones

Texas Longhorns at Iowa State Cyclones
Jack Trice Stadium – Ames, Iowa

Thursday, October 3, 2013, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Opening Line: Texas -7 1/2
Current Line: Texas -7 (-105)
Opening Total: 56 1/2
Current Total; 55
Opening Money Line: Texas -310 / Iowa State +255
Current Money Line: Texas -275 / Iowa State +225

Texas is 2-2 this season and faces a must win at Iowa State Thursday night.

Texas is 2-2 this season and faces a must win at Iowa State Thursday night.

The 2-2 Texas Longhorns travel to Ames, Iowa Thursday night to take on the 1-2 Iowa State Cyclones in Big 12 action. It is the first time Texas has played on a non-Thanksgiving Thursday since 1993. Texas leads the series 9-1 against Iowa State including a 33-7 rout last year in Austin. The only win for Iowa State in the series came in 2010.

Texas is coached by Mack Brown, who is under fire for the Longhorns mediocre start so far after very high expectations in the pre-season. Even legendary former Texas running back Earl Campbell has called for Brown to be fired along with other high profile alumni and boosters. Texas has home wins over New Mexico State 56-7 and two weeks ago against Kansas State 31-21. The Longhorns have blowout losses at BYU 40-21 and at home to Ole Miss 44-23. The Longhorns are 2-2 ATS and the total is 3-1 this season. Against Kansas State Texas was a 6 point favorite and the total was 61.

Texas jumped out to a 17-0 lead and Kansas State would never get closer than 10 points for the rest of the game. The Longhorns stopped the bleeding with their win in the conference opener for both schools. Texas had 452 total yards including 227 rushing yards. Kansas State had 390 total yards. The Wildcats were unable to overcome 3 turnovers.

Texas is outscoring teams 33-28 this season The Longhorns are averaging 483 yards per game on offense, including 210.5 rushing yards. On defense Texas is allowing 466.5 yards per game including 260.8 rushing yards. Texas is #111 in total offense and #119 against the run out of 125 teams. The Longhorns are +5 in turnovers with 9 takeaways. Texas is 27/71 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 32/71. The Longhorns are   9 for 10 scoring in the red zone with 6 touchdowns and opponents are 15/17 with 11 touchdowns. Texas has forced and allowed 6 sacks. The Longhorns are averaging 51 penalty yards per game. Longhorn opponents are averaging 58 penalty yards per game. Texas has 2 pick sixes this season and has allowed 2 pick sixes and a punt return for a touchdown.

Quarterback David Ash has completed 60.9% of his passes for 760 yards with 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 31 carries, 152 yards and a touchdown. He left the BYU game in the fourth quarter with head and shoulder injuries. Ashe missed the Ole Miss game but returned against Kansas State. He left at halftime after aggravating the concussion, and is listed as doubtful against Iowa State.   Back-up Case McCoy will likely get the start if Ashe can’t go. McCoy has completed 63.2% of his passes for 330 yards with a touchdown. Longhorn fans have been clamoring for Texas to start talented freshman Tyrone Swoopes in place of the inconsistent McCoy.

Running back Johnathan Gray has 66 carries, 350 yards and 3 touchdowns, and also has 8 catches. Joe Bergeron has 20 carries, 106 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Overstreet has 10 carries, 89 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Running back Daje Johnson who is not only a great back, but is a  great receiver as well is probable with an ankle injury after missing the last two games. Receiver Jaxon Shipley has 24 catches for 259 yards. Receiver Mike Davis has 20 catches, 223 yards and 4 scores. He is questionable with an ankle injury but missed the K-State game.  Two linebackers and two offensive linemen are listed as questionable for the Longhorns as well.

Iowa State is coached by Paul Rhoads. The Cyclones won their first game of the season last Thursday night with a 38-21 won at Tulsa. Iowa State opened the season with home losses to in-state rivals Northern Iowa 28-20 and Iowa State 27-21. The Cyclones are 1-2 ATS and the total is also 1-2 this season. Iowa State was a 3 point underdog at Tulsa and the total was 53.5.

The game was tied at 14 at halftime, but Iowa State scored 17 unanswered points to take control of the game. Tulsa pulled to within 10 points with 8 minutes left in the game 31-21 but would get no closer. The Cyclones added a late touchdown to complete the 17 point upset. Iowa State had 434 total yards including 179 rushing yards. Tulsa had 374 total yards. The Cyclones had one turnover and the Golden hurricane had four.

Iowa St is outscoring teams 26-25 this season. The Cyclones are averaging 387.7 yards per game including 252.3 passing and 135.3 rushing yards. On defense, Iowa State is allowing 403 yards per game including 225.7 passing and 177.3 rushing yards. The Cyclones are +4 in turnovers with 7 takeaways. Iowa State is averaging 31 penalty yards per game. The Cyclones are 25/56 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are  23/47. ISU hrced 4 sacks and allowed 11 this season. The Cyclones are 9/9 scoring in the red zone with 7 touchdowns, and opponents are 7/9 scoring in the red zone with 5 touchdowns.

Iowa State quarterback Sam B. Richardson has completed 62.5% of his passes with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions along with 43 carries for 111 yards. Running back Aaron Wimberly has 29 carries for 185 yards, along with 4 catches for 36 yards. James White and Shontrelle Johnson will also get some carries. Fullback Jeff Woody has only 9 carries for 15 yards but he has all three rushing touchdowns for the cyclones this season. Receiver Quenton Bundrage has 13 catches for 186 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tad Ecby has 14 catches for 152 yards. Tight end Pierce Richardson is questionable with an ankle injury but hasn’t played this season.

Texas is 5-1 ATS against teams with losing home records, and on grass, 5-2 after gaining more than 450 total yards, 5-11 after a cover, 2-5 against teams with losing records, 1-4 in Thursday games, and 0-4 in October. The road team is 6-1 ATS in this series recently.

Iowa State is 4-1-1 ATS in October, 5-2 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 17-8 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 1-4 overall, at home and on grass, 0-4-1 after a straight up win, and 0-3-1 after a cover. The under is 5-2 in the last 7 in this series.

Regardless of what they did against a rebuilding Tulsa team last week, Iowa State is not very good. They struggle to score and to rush the football. Texas has to win this game or the pressure on Brown will get even worse. The Longhorns have their annual showdown with Oklahoma coming up next week and can’t afford to overlook this team. Ames can be a tough place to play, and the Cyclones usually pull off at least one big upset at home. I don’t see it happening here, but Iowa State hand around for awhile before Texas pulls away late.

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