Reese Strickland/USA Today

Iowa State Defense Preserves Historic Texas Shutout

Iowa State defeated Texas for the second time in program history Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium, walking away with a 24-0 win thanks to a hard-nosed rushing attack and a 'relentless' defense.

AMES, IOWA — The bells chimed on the Jack Trice Stadium PA system as the defense set itself inside its own five-yard-line, finding its keys and preparing for one desperation play into the end zone.

Five seconds. Five yards. One shot. 

Iowa State had played 59 minutes, 55 seconds of scoreless football, and so this one play and these five seconds, in reality, would mean nothing. The Cyclones were going to beat Texas for the second time in school history no matter the outcome.

Yet as the fans rose and the defense set, the pressure sank in.

“They didn’t want to have zero points,” linebacker Levi Peters would say afterward, “and we wanted them to have zero.”

“The game was over. It had been decided,” coach Paul Rhoads said. “But the coaches and the players had such a pressure on their shoulders to deliver that shutout.”

Keep this zero on the scoreboard, were the words shared in the huddle during the timeout as Iowa State headed back to the field for one last play. This was the chance.

So as Texas backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes set up five yards behind center, Iowa State defensive coordinator Wally Burnham stood crouched on the damp turf, entrenched, on the field, at the 28-yard line. He turned his body as Swoopes took the snap, hopped into the air as the pass sailed into the corner through the cold night air and threw both hands up as he watched safety Qujuan Floyd knock the ball away. 

Iowa State 24, Texas 0.

“That’s important to our defense. That kind of shows who we are,” Peters said after Iowa State’s first shutout since 2013 and the third in the Rhoads Era. “That’s so important to us. That’s a defense’s dream to get a shutout against a good team like that.” 

In the end, Iowa State held Texas to 204 yards — 77 on the final drive — on 54 plays. Iowa State’s stout defense forced seven three-and-outs and allowed Texas to cross midfield only three times in the Longhorns’ first shutout to an unranked team since 1961.

The Cyclones controlled the time of possession by nearly 15 minutes and ran the ball as many times (54) as Texas ran plays. A change at both offensive coordinator and quarterback didn’t hamper an Iowa State offense that opted for hard-nosed football.

“We just came closer as a team, especially offensively,” said receiver Allen Lazard, who caught six passes for a game-high 66 yards. “We just all bought in together and we just understand what happened and stuck together and had a good game.”

Quarterback Joel Lanning went 4-of-6 to lead Iowa State’s first touchdown drive and finished 19-of-37 with 188 yards and a touchdown through the air while adding another 64 yards on the ground. Running back Mike Warren, meanwhile, moved within 46 yards of 1,000 by rushing for 157 yards on 32 carries.

In the end, the often talked about changes on offense became secondary to the defense.

Following three-consecutive weeks of facing the nation’s No. 1-, 2- and 3-rated offenses, this Iowa State defense stepped up. Following one week in which it allowed nearly 800 yards and 66 points in an “embarrassing” defeat, this Iowa State defense held. 

Keep this zero on the scoreboard, Peters heard as he headed to the field.

Five seconds. Five yards. One shot. 

Then Burnham hopped, the ball hit the damp grass and the scoreboard still read zero. 

“That’s a big statement those last five seconds,” Lazard said. “The defense did a phenomenal job. That just shows you the relentless effort that the defense gave.”

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