Playing the game too close
The second-half woes have nearly cost Sarkisian and the Longhorns in three of the last four games they’ve won in Big 12 play. Texas saw 20+ point third-quarter leads dissolve to one-score games by the fourth quarter in three of its last four contests.
Last weekend, the Longhorns barely hung on to beat TCU in Fort Worth after nearly blowing a 26-6 second-half lead in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
If Texas jumps out to a significant first-half lead against Iowa State on the road this weekend, the Longhorns faithful will be on edge once again entering the second half.
But it won’t be as easy to jump out to a big lead against Iowa State this weekend as it was in the last four contests for the Longhorns. Since Texas is without Brooks in the backfield as they’re facing a good Iowa State defense under the lights in primetime in Ames, it will be more difficult for the Longhorns to get up by multiple scores in the first half.
Keeping this game tight is exactly what Iowa State wants. The Cyclone offense is designed to bleed the clock and keep opposing offenses on the sidelines. Iowa State runs the fewest plays per minute (1.99) of any Big 12 team this season, so they could keep Texas’ offense on the sidelines early and often in the second half if the defense isn’t prepared this weekend.
On the contrary, if Texas does jump out to an early lead against the Cyclones, it might be too much for Campbell’s squad to come back from. Iowa State hasn’t won a single game this season when it was down by more than one score.
Jumping out to an early lead will be critical for Sark and the Longhorns to come away from Ames with a comfortable win this weekend. But I’ll believe it when I see Texas being able to keep its foot on the gas and put an opponent away in the second half.