Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

ALL-ANGLES PREVIEW OF TEXAS-ISU!

Texas' 24-0 shutout loss at Iowa State last season was perhaps the low point of the Charlie Strong era. How will Saturday night's game between the Longhorns and Cyclones in Austin turn out? HD Contributor Allen Perkins has your All-Angles Preview:

 

Iowa State (1-5, 0-3) at Texas (2-3, 0-2) 

 

Beyond the Gridiron

* Texas and Iowa (State) compete on the football field and in…agriculture! 

Both states rank in the top 3 for value of its yearly farm output. 

 

* Did you know? ... John Wayne was born in Iowa.

 

* IOWA STATE FAIR vs STATE FAIR OF TEXAS

The Iowa State Fair is a huge production - has food on a stick, midway rides, crazy contests, livestock and a sky glider. 

Texas, of course, counters with the State Fair of Texas, which features the Texas-OU game the second Saturday in October every year, along with Big Tex, fried food/food on a stick, livestock, the midway and more variety as it relates to the live music experience.

 

* GREAT RIVER ROAD vs LADY BIRD LAKE

The Great River Road runs from the US-Canada border in Minnesota, through 10 states to the Gulf Coast and right through Iowa. It will take you along the Mississippi River, to spot eagles from bluff-top views, bed and breakfast inns along the water, antique shops and all kinds of water-related activities. ... Sections of the Great River Road have been designated as National Scenic Byways in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, part of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. ... http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/byways/2279/directions

 

The Colorado River winds down through Texas and right through Austin, creating picturesque Lady Bird Lake and the immensely popular Hike and Bike Trail along side. The greatest capital city and Live Music Capital Of The World glow in the background at night.

 

* FALL COLOR vs BARTON SPRINGS

The train ride through Iowa’s scenic vistas while observing the fall colors seems enticing. However, the 68 degree water bubbling up from Barton Springs is a welcome escape from the Texas heat. Underwater caves, views of the city and plenty of room to splash (or tan) make this a bucket list item.  

VERDICT – Texas  ... John Wayne or not, you can't beat Barton Springs, Austin's live music/night life and the State Fair of Texas! 

 

A FEW FACTS TO KNOW 

Series: UT Leads 11-2 

UT features one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the country, averaging 254 YPG through the air and 245 YPG on the ground.

UT has totaled 99 plays of 10 yards or more through five games, led by D’Onta Foreman’s who has 15 10+ yard plays.

ISU has scored over 30 points in three straight games for the first time since 2013.

ISU is averaging 39 points in that span.

The Cyclones are one of four teams nationally that are still perfect in red zone offense. ISU is 18-for-18 with 14 TDs and 4 FGs in the red zone this year. ISU hasn't won a Big 12 road game since November 30, 2013 (WVU).

 

In the trenches - UT OL vs. ISU DL/LBs-Advantage: UT

As has been the case all year, D’Onta Foreman took the game over against OU. This was more about D. Foreman than the OL because Foreman was taking on contact after 2 yards, it’s not as if there were gaping holes. Foreman did most of his damage in the 4th quarter after UT hit the deep ball a few times and the OU safeties backed off. UT gains 245 YPG (18th) on the ground. Chris Warren III is still out. Feed D’Onta Foreman (149 YPG and 6.8 YPC) as much as possible. Lil’ Jordan Humphrey will also get a look at RB for UT. 

 

ISU ranks 115th in the FBS with 236 YPG allowed against the run. 15 rushing TD’s surrendered and 5.18 YPC allowed. Demond Tucker is a good player along the ISU DL. The ISU DL is pretty solid in short yardage situations. ISU gets 1.83 sacks per game

 

In the trenches - UT DL/LBs vs. ISU OL - Advantage: Slightly UT

ISU operates out of the shotgun and never goes under center (there’s rare exceptions if it’s a short yardage situation). ISU’s rushing attack ranks 97th in the country, amassing 145 YPG. Mike Warren is a decent back. 

 

I was shocked to discover UT ranks 23rd in sacks and gets 3 a game. However, UT got 5 against UTEP and 3 against ND so that skewed it a little.

UT is ranked 81st against the run, allowing 179 YPG. To this point, UT allows 4.7 YPC and 12 rushing TDs. The UT secondary is horrible. The DL and LBs haven been the groups to show more potential thus far. The DL was atrocious against OU in every way. The DL did however get some pressure on Mason Rudolph from OKST, they just missed a lot of sacks. 

Wheeler had a good game against OU, and Malik Jefferson was very involved in the first quarter - but then disappeared. 

UT lacks playmakers on defense. There also appears to be a lack of leadership on the defense. UT played its best half (against elite competition) of the season against OU in the first half, holding them to 14 points.

UT forced four turnovers vs OU.  Texas used multiple fronts and tried to confuse Mayfield by not tipping off who was blitzing.

The Horns also used some zone blitzes and dropped DLs into coverage at times, which will certainly confuse QBs.

Plain and simply, UT is not getting to the QB enough and has to figure out a way to get into the backfield.

Think about how hard it is for most teams to recover from a second- or third-and-long. UT is giving up big plays when playing it “safe.” Might as well get more aggressive and see if the positives (sack or errant throw/turnover) outweigh the negatives (even more big plays given up? Is that possible?). 

 

On an island - UT QB/WRs vs. ISU DBs - Advantage: UT

Along with most UT fans, I think Shane Buechele is a great QB.

I believe he will continue to grow and improve as he appears to have a great attitude towards everything that comes with being the Texas QB. Shane Buechele has thrown for 1,204 yards this year, completing 97 of 155 pass attempts (63 percent). He has 11 TDs and 4 INTs.  His current efficiency rating is 146.1, which is 46th best in the nation. UT currently ranks 46th, accumulating 254 passing YPG. Buechele needs to improve on his throws across the field (from the left hash to the opposite sideline for example) on screens and hitch routes. Buechele will need to work on his arm strength in the offseason. He needs to anticipate when the receivers will come out of their break as the ball gets there late sometimes. He threw many beautiful deep balls against OU. The OL has to protect him better. The pass protection is average this year. Buechele got sacked 4 times against OU and was pressured or sacked more than ten times due to coverage sacks or poor OL play. 

 

The WRs need to work on their route running and Sterlin Gilbert needs to continue to expand the route tree. UT only scored three points off of four turnovers against OU. Even though UT’s offense has been largely successful this season, there are still improvements that can be made according to Sterlin Gilbert. Gilbert said the “lack of throws over the middle of the field is part of the scheme that hasn’t really come out yet this season.” He said, “It is in part done on purpose and in part just by playing what defenses are giving.” The good news is that some WR had their best game of the season against OU as Collin Johnson, Devin Duvernay and Dorian Leonard made impressive plays. This is not the best UT receiving corps ever, but it is the deepest. 

 

ISU allows 218.0 YPG through the air, ranking 53th in the country. But because teams have been able to run it against the Cyclones, not many are trying to throw it.

Baylor only had 176 yards passing in a 45-42, come-from-behind victory at Iowa State. But BU ran for 469 yards at 7.6 YPC, so why pass? TCU had 229 yards rushing and 252 yards passing in a 41-20 win over ISU. 

 

On an island - UT DBs vs. ISU QB/WRs - Advantage: ISU 

ISU has used two QBs this season, Jacob Park and Joel Lanning. In my mind Joel Lanning is the winner of the competition. Here are Lanning’s stats vs. BU (Lanning got all of the snaps). 17-23, 261 yards, 2 TDs, 0 interceptions, 89 rating. Lanning had 57 rushing yards against Baylor as well. 

Here are the season stats for both QBs:

NAME

CMP

ATT

YDS

CMP%

 

TD

INT

RAT

Joel Lanning

79

132

1056

59.8

 

9

3

145.0

Jacob Park

34

61

427

55.7

 

4

2

129.6

 

The Baylor game was Lanning’s best. Lanning is fairly athletic, has some agility and a pretty big arm. He’s becoming more accurate as the season goes on (especially against Baylor). He can scramble too. Lanning is a former high school wrestler and it shows in his running style (Tim Tebow lite). He can break tackles and is tough. Lanning is guilty of getting sacked when trying to make a big play. ISU chooses to not move his launching point much by design.

 

ISU’s passing game is ranked 50th, accumulating 250 YPG. ISU’s team QB efficiency rating is 140, ranking 51st. Lanning should be the focus of UT’s defense. ISU usually depends on the pass to move the ball as their ground game isn’t productive enough to consistently get first downs. 

 

UT’s DBs are regressing from last year if anything. UT’s tackling was better against OU. I only counted one missed tackle in the 1st half. UT has a tough time against the pass, opponents gain 297.8 YPG, ranking 120th in the nation. Opposing QBs have registered an efficiency rating of 180.0 (ranked 127th) against UT. As a frame of reference, Jake Browning of Washington comes in at 205, Patrick Mahomes II currently sits at 182 and Baker Mayfield scores a 174

 

Special teams-Advantage: Slightly ISU (due to returns/FG accuracy)

As always, Michael Dixon was solid last week. He has punted 26 times this year. He has a long of 64! 12 punts of 50 yards or more. 12 punts inside the 20. He’s averaging 48 YP punt. Two touchbacks. UT’s net punting resides at 44.42, ranked 4th.

UT gives up 8.79 on punt returns which ranks 53rd. On KORs, UT gains 19.29 YPR, ranking 89thTrent Domingue is 7/10 on FGs (70%). Domingue made both FGs against OU. He has a long of 43 this year. The issues along the PAT/FG line seemed to be fixed upon Kent Perkins return. Domingue missed two against Cal that were long but makeable (49 yards and 53 yards respectively). He then missed one (46 yards) at OSU after having 3 PAT’s blocked earlier in the game. 

 

In the return game for ISU,  Trever Ryen has an average of 16.3 per punt return and a long of 55 yards (punt return). His average leads the Big 12. 

ISU P Colin Downing is solid (41 yards per punt) and K Cole Netten is 5 of 5 on FGs this season with a long of 49 yards.

 

Penalties and Time of Possession

UT has been flagged an average of 7 times a game for 63.6 yards, which puts UT at 89th in the country. UT holds the ball for an average of 27:37 per game (95th in FBS).  ISU's average TOP is 29:22 (71st). On average, ISU is penalized 7.5 times for 59 yards per game.

 

ISU Offense vs. UT Defense Red Zone/3rd down/total defense/offense

Teams are going to able to move the ball between the 20s. The key is to get a couple turnovers or hold teams to FG’s. ISU has gained 394.8 YPG (83rd) in total offense. The ISU offense scores 26.7 PPG, tied for 83rd. ISU converts 3rd downs 42% of the time. ISU is perfect regarding their trips to the red zone (18 of 18). They’ve registered 4 FG’s and 14 TD’s on 18 trips. ISU’s turnover margin is -0.67, ranking 107th.

Texas is giving up 39.6 points per game (118th nationally and on pace to obliterate the previous school record of 33.3 ppg in 1997) and is giving up 477 yards per game (115th nationally).

UT is 92nd in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 42.7 percent.

The Horns' red zone defense is a major problem. Not only are opponents scoring on 88.9 percent of their trips inside UT's 20 (16 of 18), they are scoring TDs most of the time (12, 66.7 percent). Only TCU (14), Texas Tech (16) and Iowa State (20) have given up more TDs in the red zone. 

Texas is minus-2 in turnovers this season and ranked 94th in turnover margin. With the four turnovers forced against OU (2 fumble recoveries, 2 INTs), Texas has now forced five turnovers for the season (while the Horns have turned it over 7 times). 

 

ISU defense vs. UT Offense Red Zone/3rd down/total defense/offense

UT is averaging 41 points (17th in FBS) and  499 yards per game (20th in FBS). UT converts 3rd downs at 39%, ranking 69th. UT has a success rate of 0.840 in the red zone (tied for 66th). Texas has scored on 21 of 25 red zone trips (16 TDs, 5 FGs).

 

ISU gives up an average of 33.5 points (101st) and 453.5 YPG (105th). ISU gives up first downs 41% of the time on third down.

Opponents are scoring on 89.7 percent of trips inside ISU's 20 (26 of 29). The Cyclones have given up 20 red zone TDs  - most in the Big 12.

Iowa State is minus-4 in turnovers this season and ranks 107th nationally in turnover margin. 

 

ISU Playmakers

QB Joel Lanning, WR Allen Lazard (possession WR), WR Deshaunte Jones (trick plays/former QB) RB Chris Warren (130 yards against Baylor), (DB’s aren’t amazing but decent) DB D'Andre Payne, DB Jomal Wiltz, WR Trever Ryen (punt returns).

 

ISU play calling and gadget plays

QB draws, zone read, attack all levels/areas of the field when passing. WR reverse, WR reverse pass, they do NOT throw WR/RB screens. Fake QB runs followed by a pass.

 

Prediction - UT wins 45 - 34

*****

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