Which is more embarrassing: Getting blown out at mighty TCU, 50-7? Or getting shut out by lowly Iowa State, 24-0?
Let’s go with getting shut out by Iowa State.
Texas, which looked to be on the rise after an impressive win over 10th-ranked Oklahoma and a sloppy win over Kansas State, may have seen its chances at a bowl game fade into the Iowa horizon. The Cyclones — with a head coach fighting for his job, putting a quarterback out there for his first start, and unveiling a new play-caller after having fired their offensive coordinator on Monday — dominated the Longhorns in all phases of the game.
Essentially, Texas’ offense was one big sleepy hollow.
“We’ve gotta get our players going,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “What they have to understand, the leadership has to take over. … I would’ve thought we were taking steps forward, and this is just a step backward.”
Mike Warren posted his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the year. New quarterback Joel Lanning made plays with his arm and legs. Jerrod Heard started the game, but didn’t finish it. Texas had more drives than first downs. The shutout came to an unranked team for the first time since 1961.
Iowa State beat Texas for only the second time ever, linking these Longhorns to the 2010 Longhorns. And getting linked to the 2010 Longhorns is never a good thing.
Speaking of 2010, that 28-21 loss to the Cyclones started a real downhill slide for Texas. The Horns limped to the end of the season, losing five of their last six.
Mistakes, offensive misfires, injuries, missed tackles, bad decisions, a lack of a passing game, turnovers — Texas had it all. Who found this most interesting: (a) David Beaty, (b) Bob Stoops, (c) Mack Brown, or (d) Shane Buechele?
The loss drops Texas to 3-5 overall, 2-3 in the Big 12. Iowa State improves to 3-5, 2-3.
Here’s how Texas’ 12 drives went:
Punt. Punt. Punt. Interception. Punt. Halftime. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. End of game.
Here’s the reality for the Longhorns: To become bowl eligible, Texas must win three of its final four games — at home vs. Kansas, at West Virginia, at home vs. Texas Tech, at Baylor. See those three wins, anyone?
Texas and Iowa State traded punts on their first drives, but the Cyclones went up 7-0 on their second chance on Mike Warren’s 3-yard run. It was a slow start for the Longhorns, offensively and defensively — Jerrod Heard, through his first two drives, had minus-3 yards passing and was sacked twice. Iowa State led after the first quarter, 7-0.
Tyrone Swoopes came in for an 18 Wheeler play in the second quarter, converted it, but Heard threw an interception to end that series. It was Texas’ first turnover since the TCU game. The Cyclones added a field goal right at the end of the first half, thanks in part to a 5-yard pass from Lanning to Allen Lazard on a fourth-and-3 from Texas’ 37 with 1:50 to go. Iowa State kicked a field goal with 5 seconds left.
The Cyclones led at halftime, 10-0. Two alarming stats to consider — under Charlie Strong, Texas was 0-10 when opponents score first and 0-8 when trailing at halftime.
Heard, at halftime: 2 of 5, 15 yards and an interception. And he had 9 rushing yards. Iowa State had 228 total yards; Texas had 98. And the Cyclones were 8 of 14 converting third down opportunities.
In short, for the first half, Texas’ offense was one big, sleepy hollow.
Things didn’t get much better in the third quarter. The Cyclones’ offensive line controlled things up front. Davante Davis got flagged for a pass interference at UT’s 23. That led to Lanning’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Dondre Daley. The Cyclones led after three, 17-0.
Iowa State added a short touchdown run in the fourth. Texas tried to avoid the shutout, but Swoopes’ two passes into the end zone were misses.
Thanks to 11 sacks over the past two weeks, Texas had vaulted up the national rankings in sacks, first up 41 spots after the Oklahoma win (six sacks), then 26 more spots after Kansas State (five sacks). That’s an improvement from 101st to 34th. Against Iowa State, Bryce Cottrell and Hassan Ridgeway got to Lanning.
Injuries: Malik Jefferson missed the first defensive series with an upset stomach, but was on the field for the second. Duke Thomas got shaken up early in the first quarter after making a hard tackle. Possible concussion, but he apparently passed the test; he returned for the third series. Hassan Ridgeway was shaken up on the third series. H-back Alex De La Torre got helped off the field early in the second quarter, and ended up going to the locker room. Jefferson was attended to again midway through the third, with cramps.
For Iowa State, right guard Daniel Burton (knee) left the game on a cart on the Cyclones’ second series. Mike Warren was briefly injured toward the end of the first half, but was back for the second. Defensive end Pierre Aka went down early in the third, with a right leg injury.
The last five Texas-Iowa State results:
2015 (Ames): Iowa State, 24-0
2014 (DKR): Texas, 48-45
2013 (Ames): Texas, 31-30
2012 (DKR): Texas, 33-7
2011 (Ames): Texas, 37-14
On deck for Texas: Kansas, next Saturday, 7 p.m. It’ll be on the Longhorn Network.
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