From May 22nd to June 2nd, Hook ‘Em Headlines will rank the biggest games of the 2013 football season. Today, we break down No. 10 on our list — a Thursday nighter on the road against the Iowa State Cyclones.
When: Thursday, October 3rd
Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
What: Outside of their uniforms eerily resembling those of USC — and thus, giving Longhorn fans another excuse to let their minds drift back to happier times — Iowa State is, on paper, about as nondescript an opponent as there is in the Big 12. But Texas’ recent matchups with the Cyclones have proven surprisingly significant. Just a week after their 2010 Sayonara Sendoff to Nebraska in Lincoln, the Horns officially entered the express lane to 5-7 by laying an egg at home against ISU, leading Mack Brown to create “Throw Your Assistants And Entire Team Under The Bus Day”. The 2011 edition, on the other hand, was a coming-out party of sorts for freshman David Ash, who connected on two 40+ yard touchdown throws en route to a 37-14 Longhorn blowout. And last year, just days after Darrell Royal’s passing, Texas honored their legendary coach with a throwback pass out of the Wishbone that produced one of the only Greg Daniels sightings since his highlight reel was shown on Signing Day 2010.
For the 2013 contest, the Horns will play a midseason, (semi) midweek game for the first time in…well…I’m not really sure, because I can’t figure out the best way to Google it. Let’s just assume it’s been a while. Coming off a 6-7 2012 campaign, the Cyclones return just nine starters total (tied for 117th in the country) and will be replacing a senior quarterback. But while you’d expect Texas to be favored heavily on experience alone, Thursday games tend to carry a center-stage cache to them, and going on the road in conference, at night (the first night of the college weekend), on national TV, against a well-coached team is no gimme — especially when you consider who’s looming next on the schedule:
There’s no debating that the season revolves around the Horns’ annual showdown with the Sooners. Everything that comes before is preparation for it; everything that comes after is defined by it. Last year, Texas broke one of Mack’s oldest maxims — don’t let one team beat you twice — when they allowed a heartbreaking, there-for-the-taking loss to West Virginia carry over into an unconscionable beatdown the next week in Dallas (that’s the only remotely rational explanation I can come up with for that inexcusable display). This year, though, the hope is that the Horns can use this potential “trap” game in Ames (a week after Kansas State; a week before OU) as a springboard, and roll into the Cotton Bowl nine days later (and don’t underestimate the value of those two extra days) with confidence and momentum.
You can contact Brent Stoller at [email protected]