Texas Football Breakdown: Week 12 @ Iowa State

Quinn Ewers, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Quinn Ewers, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The 2023 college football season is fast approaching, and the hype for Texas football in Year Three of the Steve Sarkisian era is high. The Longhorns bring back 17 starters from a 2022 squad that won eight games and had flashes of greatness. Those flashes must become more consistent if the Horns want to leave their mark during their final season in the Big 12.

In July, Texas was selected atop the Big 12 Media Preseason Poll for the first time since 2009. The Horns received 41 of 63 first-place votes, ahead of Kansas State’s 14 and the four received by Oklahoma and Texas Tech. This solidified Texas as the program to beat in the Big 12 this fall.

The Longhorns first took the field for fall camp on Wednesday, Aug. 2. The hype for Texas football and the 2023 season has grown with every passing practice. It would be apropos to take a game-by-game look at the Longhorns’ 2023 opponents, diving into every aspect of what Texas will face this fall.

Take a look at the first ten Texas games I previewed earlier this month:

In Week 12, Texas travels to Ames, Iowa, to take on the Iowa State Cyclones. Texas escaped by the skin of their teeth last year against the Cyclones. The 24-21 win inside DKR was the closest margin of victory for the Horns all season. That said, the Cyclones had won the previous three meetings against Texas and always seem to bring their best football against the Longhorns. According to ESPN’s matchup predictor, the Horns have a 76.4 percent chance of entering Ames and taking down the Cyclones.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2023 Iowa State Cyclones and their matchup against Texas.

Breaking down how Texas football matches up against Iowa State.


Matt Campbell returns to Ames for his eighth year, looking to erase the stink from the 2022 season. The Cyclones won just four games last season, the worst mark since Campbell’s first season as head coach.

Six of Iowa State’s eight losses came by just one possession. Their stingy defense kept games competitive, but the offense could not cash in when it mattered. The offense must be much better in 2023 if the Cyclones want to compete with the top half of the Big 12.


Coach Campbell relieved offensive coordinator Tom Manning of his duties in December. Nathan Scheelhaase was promoted from in-house and was tasked with reviving the Cyclone offense.

Last season, the Iowa State offense ranked outside the top 100 in scoring, points, yards per play, and explosive pass percentage. The offense was completely stagnant, scoring under 15 points in seven games.

2022 starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers has been indefinitely suspended from the football program after being accused of betting on Cyclone games throughout his time in Ames. Freshmen Rocco Becht and JJ Kohl will split snaps to start the season. Whoever wins the job will go through a lot of growing pains during their first season as a starting Big 12 quarterback.

Junior Jaylin Noel will be the No. 1 option for whoever wins the starting quarterback job. Noel had 60 catches for 572 yards last season. He is incredibly shifty and can break down any defensive back in one-on-one coverage. Behind Noel is a question mark with mediocre production and younger players in the fold.

Running back is also a question mark as sophomores Cartevious Norton and Eli Sanders will likely split reps this season. The duo combined for 509 yards on 134 carries last season.

The unproven production on the Cyclone offense is certainly a question mark. That said, two positives can be taken. Iowa State takes on Texas in Week 12. At that point, their offense should have found some consistency and rhythm. Also, their offense cannot be worse than it was last year.


The 2022 Iowa State offense was elite against both the pass and the run. They ranked 10th nationally in passing yards against and 14th in rushing yards against. They were elite on third down, allowing offenses to convert at just a 29.3 percent clip (7th nationally).

The Cyclones defense returns just 51 percent of its production from the 2022 season. That said, you should never doubt long-time defensive coordinator Jon Heacock’s ability to put the correct pieces in his 3-3-5 defense.

The secondary will be the strength of this defense, with four starters returning. Upperclassmen T.J. Tampa and Myles Purchase are back as the starting corners. Sophomore Jeremiah Cooper returns as the field safety, and Beau Freyler is the fifth defensive back. This unit is athletic and experienced. They will be a problem that offenses must account for in 2023.

Isaiah Lee and J.R. Singleton return on the interior defensive line to lead a rushing defense that was eighth best in the country in explosive rushes against. Quarterback pressures will be harder to come by as 2021 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Will McDonald IV departed for the NFL. Joey Peterson and Tyler Onyedim will look to replace his production, though they have just four combined career sacks.


I do not have much confidence in the Iowa State offense this fall. The suspension of Hunter Dekkers capped what was already a low ceiling for this group. The defense will be stout again, and I would expect their luck in one-score game to improve. Playing in Ames is always tough, especially in November. This game comes in a bit of a trap spot for the Horns, but I am confident this veteran-laden Texas squad will not have a letdown. – Texas 27 Iowa State 13