Close Call: 5 Observations from No. 22 Texas’ 24-21 win over Iowa State

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Eric Gay/AP/Shutterstock (13467635f) Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy (8) celebrates his touchdown catch against Iowa State during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Austin, Texas Iowa St Texas Football, Austin, United States – 15 Oct 2022

Close Call: 5 Observations from No. 22 Texas’ 24-21 win over Iowa State

Texas overcame a sloppy start and the heroics of Iowa State receiver Xavier Hutchinson to defeat the Cyclones 24-21.  Despite not playing their best the Longhorns were able to find enough plays to get a win and keep positive momentum alive.

  1. The first quarter was vintage Iowa State. Texas began the game playing fantastic defense and blocking a punt, but the Longhorns opening series in opponent’s territory was sloppy and led to a missed field goal.  The Cyclones took full advantage of the dodged bullet and settled into the game, eventually putting together a scoring drive as the opening quarter ended. This kind of start is how Matt Campbell and staff have built Iowa State into a perennial bowl bound program.  The three safety defense frustrates opponents and a steady offense grinds away at the opposition.  Texas will look back at the start of the game and see missed opportunities, but for Iowa State fans will see the Cyclone way personified.
  1.  The Longhorn defense was able to make timely stops early in the game, including a red zone interception by Jaylan Ford, but as the game wore on Iowa State showed an ability to convert crucial situations that kept the Cyclones in the game.  Wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson found space all afternoon keeping drives alive and converting third down situations. With the Longhorn offense unable to land a knockout blow the Texas defense struggled to maintain their level of performance as their play count rose.  The Texas defense was able to force a crucial fumble on a run by Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers, but the third down defense will be an area to shore up in the future.
  1. This was the first game in Quinn Ewers young career that the quarterback did not appear to have his A game.  Ewers was not as accurate with his passes as he had been in previous starts and he appeared to be somewhat flustered by the inability of his receivers to complete big plays. Ewers and the Texas passing game were hampered by several key drops. Freshman receiver Casey Cain was unable to haul in a Ewers pass on a crossing route late in the third quarter that would have been a huge gain and would have set Texas up deep in Cyclone territory with a chance to secure some breathing room on the scoreboard.  Games like this are an important part of Ewer’s development, the ability to overcome adversity and make plays when you aren’t your best are a necessary ingredient for a championship quarterback.
  1. Bijan Robinsin recorded his 14th career and fifth consecutive 100 yard rushing game.  Though the going was tough early, Texas stuck with the running game and as the matchup continued Robinson found more and more running room.  On a day when Ewers was not as accurate as he has been previously the potent Longhorn ground game was able to keep the offense afloat.  As the game tightened late Texas leaned on the running game to respond to scoring drives by the Cyclones.  The offensive line that many considered a liability as the season began, once again turned in a solid performance allowing Robinson and Roschon Johnson to run effectively. After conceding a touchdown that gave Iowa State a 21-17 lead Texas answered with a scoring drive of 11 plays that covered 74 yards the majority of which came on the ground.
  1. On a day that Texas did not play their best they were able to secure a conference win and exorcize the memory of one of last year’s painful losses..  All championship teams have to have the ability to win games that aren’t pretty on days they don’t play particularly well.  Every championship season consists of at least one game the champs were lucky to win.  Unlike in games past, today Texas found the grit to finish and put away a tough opponent.  Style points don’t count and though today might have been ugly, it shows the progress of the program and it keeps championship hopes alive.

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