Texas Football: 3 takeaways from Longhorns’ gritty win vs. Iowa State

CJ Baxter Jr., Texas football
CJ Baxter Jr., Texas football /
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For pretty much the entire game, No. 7 Texas football and the Iowa State Cyclones were neck and neck at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Nov. 18. Texas needed a win over Iowa State to stay atop the Big 12 standings and keep control of its destiny heading into the regular season finale for a spot in the conference title game.

A win over Iowa State also meant head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns would stay in the conversation for a spot in the College Football Playoff. But Texas wouldn’t be able to clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game since the Kansas State Wildcats, Oklahoma State Cowboys, and Oklahoma Sooners each won their games on Nov. 18.

No. 7 Texas football gets a big double-digit win on the road in Ames vs. Iowa State

Texas needed at least two of those teams to lose (depending on the tiebreaker situation) to clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game this weekend.

But the important part of this game was Texas leaving Ames with a victory. And Texas was getting some momentum started at different points in the first half. Texas, unfortunately, had two touchdowns called back by penalties in the first half, including a long punt return for a touchdown by wide receiver Xavier Worthy that was called back by a block in the back foul.

A couple of big stops by the defense and two key scoring drives from the Longhorns got Texas ahead by a good enough margin in the second half on the Cyclones. Texas also got a critical extra-point attempt blocked by defensive lineman T’Vondre Sweat that was returned for two points by Austin Jordan.

Texas held Iowa State off at the end with a big defensive stop on fourth down. A few first downs on offense the following drive locked up the 26-16 win for the Longhorns over the Cyclones on the road on Nov. 18.

The Longhorns move to 10-1 (7-1 Big 12) this season after the win over Iowa State. It is the first time the Longhorns have reached double-digit wins during the regular season since 2009.

Here are three takeaways from the Longhorns win over Iowa State on the road in Week 12.

Texas fights through injuries to get the win

Texas lost some key players due to injury in this game against Iowa State. Sweat, Worthy, sophomore interior offensive lineman DJ Campbell, and junior tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders were four players who suffered injuries at various points in the win over Iowa State.

Sweat got banged up on a run play in the first half. But he would return just a few minutes after, which was big for Texas.

Worthy, however, did not return to the game after suffering an injury in the second half. He was seen in street clothes on the sidelines in the fourth quarter after he was taken back to the locker room for further evaluation.

Sanders also returned to the game for the Longhorns after suffering what looked to be an ankle injury in the first half. He’s dealt with an ankle issue since early in conference play this season.

Lastly, Campbell did not return to the game after suffering a lower-body injury in the first half. Sophomore interior offensive lineman Cole Hutson took the reps at guard with Campbell out vs. Iowa State for the rest of the game.

It’s also noteworthy that true freshman running back CJ Baxter Jr. had to step up this game with the backfield now essentially his for the rest of the season due to injury.

This was a big deal for the Longhorns to flex their depth after losing all the key players in this game against Iowa State.