Breakdown: Texas

Each week, I give you my breakdown of the upcoming Iowa State game and how the Cyclones match up with their opponent. In addition, I offer my prediction of the outcome. Here are some of my thoughts about the game against Texas…

ISU run offense vs. Texas run defense: For Iowa State to make this a close game, the Cyclones will have to be able to run the ball consistently. This is an area where ISU has fallen short with regularity during this difficult stretch. If Michael Wagner can top 100 yards on the ground, the Cyclones have a chance.

It can be done against Texas. Renaldo Works of Oklahoma ran for 112 yards on 15 carries, for a 7.5-yard average against the Longhorns last Saturday. However, ISU doesn't have the Sooners' offensive line. Advantage: TEXAS.

ISU pass offense vs. Texas pass defense: With Cris Love as the signal-caller, the Cyclones have a senior QB who knows the ISU system inside and out (I hope). He may not scramble as effectively as Flynn, but his ability to stay in the pocket and find a secondary receiver might prove to be more valuable than the ability to run. Lane Danielsen might have his most productive day of the season.

Texas has three returning starters on its defensive line…and three more in its defensive backfield. The Sooners connected on 20 of 24 passes for 363 yards against the Longhorns. Advantage: PUSH.

Texas run offense vs. ISU run defense: If Jordan Carstens is able to return to action this Saturday, it will definitely help the Iowa State cause. Back-up QB Vince Young—a freshman—was the only Texas back to run with any effectiveness against Oklahoma, but that's not exactly a fair test. Tailback Cedric Benson has 358 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground this fall for the Longhorns. Advantage: TEXAS.

Texas pass offense vs. ISU pass defense: Iowa State's best bet defensively is to force the Longhorns into several third-and-longs and create a few turnovers. Whether Texas has Chance Mock, Vince Young or T.J. Ford as its quarterback on Saturday, the Cyclones must put the Longhorns into some difficult conversion situations. Last week, ISU allowed Texas Tech to convert on 14 of 18 third- and fourth-down conversions. You simply cannot win football games when you don't finish off the series defensively.

Roy Williams of Texas is one of the finest wide receivers in college football. Through six games, he has made 33 catches for 485 yards and five touchdowns. Advantage: TEXAS.

Special Teams: Selvin Young and Nathan Vasher are dangerous return men for Texas. Iowa State can't afford to give up big plays to either of these guys. Adam Benike has quietly put together a very good season…and he'll have some chances on Saturday to keep it going. Advantage: PUSH.

Coaching: Dan McCarney has done a tremendous job with the ISU program during the past decade. Mack Brown has a 53-17 record (76%) at Texas in his sixth season…and a 139-91 mark (60%) in his career. Advantage: TEXAS.

Intangibles: It's Homecoming at Iowa State, so the crowd should be fired up and ready to go from the start. If the Cyclones can score first and make a couple of defensive stops early, it could be a tremendous day in Ames.

The Longhorns must still be wondering how in the world they could be defeated 65-13 by another college team, but that's what Oklahoma did to them last Saturday. If Texas gets down early against ISU, it might just snowball into a lot of finger-pointing on the Longhorns' sideline. Advantage: IOWA STATE.

PREDICTION: After picking the Cyclones to defeat Texas Tech last week, I'm going to back off on the optimism just a little bit this week. However, I do think that ISU can make this a close game…decided in the fourth quarter.

The Iowa State defense will create three turnovers, which will lead directly into 13 points for the Cyclones. Love will have a solid game, while Wagner will gain 85 yards on the ground. The score will be knotted at 20-20 in the final quarter when Texas will make a 40-yard field goal to take a 23-20 lead. A late score will give the Longhorns a 10-point victory. FINAL: TEXAS 30, IOWA STATE 20.

(Marty Gallagher founded the popular web site IowaSportsOpinions.com. You can e-mail him at Marty@IowaSportsOpinions.com.)


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