The Texas Longhorns take the field against Notre Dame at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sunday September 4, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

Texas vs. Iowa State: Four questions facing the Horns

Posted October 14th, 2016

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Four questions facing Texas in Saturday night’s game against Iowa State:

 

AMES, IA - OCTOBER 1: Quarterback Joel Lanning #7 of the Iowa State Cyclones is tackled by offensive lineman Kyle Fuller #55 of the Baylor Bears as he scrambled for yards in the first half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
AMES, IA – OCTOBER 1: Quarterback Joel Lanning #7 of the Iowa State Cyclones is tackled by offensive lineman Kyle Fuller #55 of the Baylor Bears as he scrambled for yards in the first half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

1. Are two quarterbacks better than one?

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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.

 

Texas receiver John Burt dives for a long pass but misses in the second quarter against OU at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Saturday October 8, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Texas receiver John Burt dives for a long pass but misses in the second quarter against OU at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Saturday October 8, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

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?

 

Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes(18) warms up before a NCAA football game at Darrell K. Royal?Texas Memorial Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)
Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes(18) warms up before a NCAA football game at Darrell K. Royal?Texas Memorial Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)

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?

 

The Texas Longhorns take the field against Notre Dame at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sunday September 4, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The Texas Longhorns take the field against Notre Dame at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sunday September 4, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

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.

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