Texas Football: 4 reasons why Longhorns can dominate Iowa State

Quinn Ewers, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Quinn Ewers, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /
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The second straight road test for No. 7 Texas football is on Nov. 18 on the road in Ames against the Iowa State Cyclones and head coach Matt Campbell. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian can essentially seal his team’s spot in the Big 12 Championship Game while getting their first win on the road in Ames since 2017 with a victory this weekend.

In the final road game of the season for the Longhorns, Texas will be tested against one of the hotter teams in the Big 12 recently. Iowa State enters Week 12 with a record of 6-4 (5-2 Big 12) with wins in four of its last five games.

And while the Longhorns have found a lot of success in the win column in the last five weeks, most of the wins haven’t come easy to them. Texas has won four in a row entering Week 12, with a record of 9-1 (6-1 Big 12) on the season, but three of those came by one score.

Why No. 7 Texas football can dominate Iowa State in Week 12

During this four-game winning streak, those three one-score wins for the Longhorns saw Sark’s squad let go 20+ point second-half leads to just one score by the fourth quarter. Texas escaped the Houston Cougars, Kansas State Wildcats, and TCU Horned Frogs, all by one score margins.

Texas has no shortage of motivation entering Week 12. This team’s goals are still in front of them this fall, including a spot in the conference title game and the College Football Playoff.

Here are four reasons why the Longhorns can dominate Iowa State on the road in Week 12.

Iowa State’s pass rush won’t generate substantial pressure on Quinn Ewers

This season, a weak point for the Iowa State defense is the inability to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Iowa State ranks in the bottom three in the Big 12 in conference play in sack percentage (6.6) and sacks per game (1.4).

And most of Iowa State’s pass-rushing success in Big 12 play has come against suspect offensive lines. Against the four best offensive lines the Cyclones have faced in Big 12 play (regarding pass pro), Iowa State has averaged fewer than one sack per game and just over five quarterback pressures.

Defensive coordinator Jon Heacock and the Cyclones just don’t have some of the effective pass rushers they had up front last season. Iowa State lost All-Big 12 edge rusher Will McDonald IV to the NFL Draft during the offseason, and fellow edge rusher MJ Anderson also departed for the NFL. McDonald and Anderson were Iowa State’s two best pass rushers last season, and it wasn’t really close.

Iowa State actually doesn’t have a single edge rusher or defensive lineman who grades out among the top half of players in the Big 12 in the pass rush this season.

Given how well Texas’ offensive line has held up in pass protection in the last couple of games, redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers should have time in the pocket to slice and dice this Iowa State defense. Texas hasn’t allowed a single sack in the last two weeks.

It’s noteworthy that Ewers ranks among the five highest-graded passers in the Big 12 this season when he’s kept clean in the pocket. Iowa State will either have to let Ewers sit back in the pocket and pick apart their defense or send extra guys in blitz packages and open up the secondary to getting beat by standout receivers Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy.