Frisbie -- Let's recall recent history: during the past three games, Texas has lost once and, on two other occasions, the bad guys were throwing the ball into the end zone during the final minute for the win. Is it too much to expect a breather this Saturday against No. 17 Iowa State? (Afraid so. In fact, the only weak sister left on Texas' conference schedule is Nebrask…uh…Baylor).
Don't let the horrific showing against Oklahoma fool you. QB Seneca Wallace was the leading Heisman candidate going into Norman last week and may still be, according to head coach Mack Brown, who recalls that Ricky Williams was on-again, off-again as the pacesetter in the 1998 race. Wallace has lead this team to history-making (by ISU standards) wins over No. 13 Iowa and Nebraska, he out dueled Texas Tech QB Kliff Kingsbury in downing the Red Rivers 31-17, and nearly manufactured the school's greatest comeback in history when he was stopped inside the 1-yard line to preserve a 38-31 nail biter.
With his sheer athleticism and escape-ability, Wallace will be the hardest QB for Texas to get its mitts on all year. But it's the deep ball threat that worries defensive coordinator Carl Reese.
"He throws the deep ball and that's the thing that worries us as coaches," said Reese. "If you do something pretty good in coverage, he'll take off and throw. Quarterback coaches want you to square your shoulders but he can throw the ball from any position. He can throw it off the run, too."
The Cyclones' ability to convert 50 percent of its third downs is impressive; their ability to come back from big halftime deficits is scary.
The key: contain Wallace and Texas wins. It's as simple and as difficult as that.
Once again, we hang our hats on the Longhorn defense to win this one. Unless this is the week the running game gets rolling what should be a soggy Royal Memorial Stadium turf and FL B.J. Johnson comes up just as big as he did against Kansas State, I don't see Greg Davis' bunch getting into a track meet with the Cyclones.
Wallace has not faced all year the kind of secondary Texas brings to the table. DE Cory Redding is playing his most determined ball of the year and DE Kalen Thornton will start for the first time all season.
I expect the Texas offense to rush for at least 125 yards, make just enough third downs to keep the defense off the field, and take advantage of the turnovers and subsequent field position the defense will give it. And maybe, just maybe, the offense is angry enough about hearing how inept it is to silence its critics. Texas 27, Iowa State 13.
Ross -- Last week, I predicted a Texas loss in Manhattan. Most signs pointed not only to a defeat, but a big defeat. In this instance, I love being proven wrong. Instead of defeat, the Horns left Kansas with a gut-check win over a ranked opponent in what some are (rightly) calling Mack Brown's biggest win to date as UT's head coach. A loss could have sent this season into a spiral of defeats. Texas, though, will head into its closing stretch with almost all of its season goals still achievable (some, of course, more so than others, but strange things can happen in college football; see last year for the most recent example).
The next step towards OU game redemption comes Saturday at DKR vs. a dangerous but smarting Iowa State club. The Cyclones, coming off a pasting at the hands of an awesome-looking Oklahoma squad, are looking for their own bit of redemption with their own season-saving road win.
Seneca Wallace went from Heisman front runner to, well, Heisman co-front runner (if you believe some of the handicapping going on across the internet) after a dreadful performance vs. the Sooner defense. Although the Texas D doesn't quite measure up to the OU defense (ignore the statistical rankings; the Sooners have the better D), Wallace should be in for another painful day at the office given the play of Cory Redding and Kalen Thornton last weekend vs. similar-in-style QB Ell Roberson of K-State. I expect the 'Clones to try to exploit the UT D's soft middle, which means one of ISU's junior tailbacks (or even true freshman Stevie Hicks) will get more opportunities than usual up the middle. That strategy alone will not beat Texas. The Cyclones will have to pass to win this game, and, with Wallace interception prone and the Texas secondary full of ball hawks, that match-up most decidedly favors the Horns.
The Longhorn D will win this one for Texas.
The question is, will the once-proud UT offense make an appearance? Iowa State is a good defensive team, but not near the OU or Kansas State level. If the Horns struggle again this week -- and that's a distinct possibility with the banged up O-line and the "questionable" status of UT's most effective lead blocker Matt Trissel -- this will be a close game. If the offense plays to its potential, it will not be close. I'm voting on the former. Texas 23, Iowa State 13.