Texas can finally put away an opponent with a big early lead
Sark’s team has once again struggled to put teams away in Big 12 play this season. I already mentioned the stat that Texas has seen a 20+ point third-quarter lead dwindle to one score in three of the last four games.
Texas blowing double-digit leads is a trend that the fans on the Forty Acres have become accustomed to since Sark’s first year as the head coach. But this issue appeared to be put to bed when Texas didn’t blow as many leads last season as they had the year prior.
The good news is Texas was able to hang onto its leads in the last few games to remain alive in the race for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game and the College Football Playoff.
It’s always better to have close and ugly wins than losses in conference play.
If the Longhorns jump out to another big lead against the Cyclones this weekend, Texas fans will surely be on edge for what’s to come in the second half. That will especially be the case with redshirt sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks set to miss the rest of the season due to an ACL tear.
Texas might have a better fate against Iowa State if they do jump out to a big lead this weekend due to the very nature of how the Cyclones offense operates. Iowa State’s offense is a slower and more methodical system that emphasizes balance and time of possession. The Cyclones have nearly a clean 50-50 split regarding the frequency of passing and rushing plays on offense.
The Cyclones also rank in the top half of the Big 12 in average time of possession, at a little over 32 minutes.
Iowa State wins the time of possession battle largely thanks to its methodical offense that doesn’t run at a fast tempo. According to College Football Data, Iowa State ranks last in the Big 12, averaging just over 1.99 plays per minute.
If Texas gets a solid early lead against Iowa State, it will put the Cyclones off schedule by forcing them to play faster than they’re used to.
Iowa State is not a team used to playing from behind this season. When Iowa State is down big in games this year, they have often resulted in blowouts (i.e., the losses to Iowa and Oklahoma earlier this season). Iowa State has not fallen behind by more than one score in any of its six wins this fall.
I also don’t imagine that Campbell and the Cyclones would be comfortable with putting the game on the arm of a freshman quarterback, Becht.