Four questions facing Texas in Saturday night’s game against Iowa State:
1. Are two quarterbacks better than one?
Texas has had its issues defending the pass, which has benefited Cal’s Davis Webb (396 yards), Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph (392) and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (390) — all Longhorns losses. Iowa State’s Joel Lanning has thrown for 1,056 yards and nine touchdowns, but those stats have been stunted by fellow Cyclones quarterback Jacob Park’s double-digit throws in four games. Iowa State entered this week with the nation’s 50th-rated passing attack, but Texas held Notre Dame’s two quarterbacks to 238 yards in the opener.
2. Will John Burt make an impact?
Burt opened his sophomore season with six receptions, 111 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame. But since then, dropped passes and a hand injury have slowed him down — something that few defensive backs have been able to do. Burt has caught 16 passes for a team-high 197 receiving yards, but has had four straight quiet games (2 catches for 28 yards against UTEP, 4-36 at Cal, 2-16 at Oklahoma State and 2-6 against Oklahoma). Iowa State is tied for 53rd nationally against the pass and has allowed only two 100-yard receivers all season. Can Burt re-emerge against the Cyclones?
3. Will Tyrone Swoopes throw out of the 18-Wheeler?
Texas has had success with its 18-Wheeler package against Notre Dame and Oklahoma State, but Tyrone Swoopes and that package’s run-first approach was shut down by Oklahoma last week in Dallas. Swoopes ran it four times against the Sooners, but he picked up only 7 yards and no first downs. Charlie Strong conceded this week that Texas may need to diversify the 18-Wheeler and have Swoopes throw it; will the Longhorns use an arm that passed for 321 yards against Iowa State back in 2014?
4. Will Texas get back into the win column at home?
The Longhorns opened the season with back-to-back wins within the comfy confines of Royal-Memorial Stadium, which helped Texas depart for its 35-day road trip to California and Oklahoma and then back through Dallas as the 11th-ranked team in the country. But Texas lost all three of those games at Cal and Oklahoma State and against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl. The Longhorns need a season-saving win on Saturday. The Longhorns are 8-6 at DKR under Strong, and their last three losses in Austin have been by a total of seven points. Iowa State, meanwhile, has lost 13 straight road games.