*Jim Nantz’s voice, “Hello Friends.” I’m filling in for Aiden this week and though nobody can replace Aiden, I’ll do my best for you guys.
Texas is coming into this game as a -15.5 favorite with the over/under set at 48.5. The temperature is set in the 80s while being cloudy. That’s football weather in Texas, so let’s get this thing going!
The Cyclones began the game with the ball on the 25-yard line. A penalty, sack and check-down pass resulted in a three-and-out to start the game. Before I could even finish writing the previous sentence, a problem with special teams already occurred. A blocked punt by the Longhorns now sets them up inside the Cyclone 30-yard line. An impressive hold by the Iowa State defense forces Texas to a field goal attempt after beginning the drive with a great field position. And the kick is….Wide Left Wide Left!!!!!! A huge break for the Cyclones and they get the ball back on their own 21 yard-line.
Iowa State gained a couple more yards than their first drive but couldn’t convert a third and short with Silas, giving them a fourth and two opportunity. Campbell elected to try to draw the defense offsides and then punted the ball away. This punt wasn’t blocked, so the Cyclones are already playing better. Don’t let them get hot! The second drive for Texas will be further known as the MJ Anderson drive. A tackle for loss, forced a holding penalty and another tackle for Anderson made the Longhorns punt. Jon Heacock is currently putting Quinn Ewers and the Texas offense in a torture chamber.
Death, Taxes and Xavier Hutchinson making difficult catches. After forcing Texas to punt the last series, Iowa State suddenly turned the offensive switch on and moved the ball down the field. Hunter Dekkers completes a huge third and eight to Dimitri Stanley to move the drive along. A couple of plays later, it’s another huge third down with the goal line in reach. Dekkers drops back and finds Jaylin Noel wide open in the endzone, touchdown Cyclones! Iowa State leads 7-0 with 57 seconds left at the end of the first quarter.
Texas looked to answer the Cyclones’ touchdown and was faced with a fourth and short at mid-field. They go for it, Ewers had plenty of time and threw a deep ball downfield to an open receiver Casey Cain and Ewes wasn’t able to connect. That’s a turnover for the Cyclone defense! Dekkers starts their drive with completed passes to Noel and DeShawn Hanika to move the ball inside Texas’ 40 yard-line. Later Dekkers throws a screen pass to Hutchinson to move inside the 15 and sets up a 1st and 10. On third and sixth, Dekkers throws into traffic and has the ball intercepted. The pass was intended for Hanika.
The following drive for Texas starts at the 20 and they eventually make their way to the 50 yard-line, thanks to complete passes to Xaiver Worthy and Ja’Tavion Sanders. Later, Ewers takes a deep shot and Anthony Johnson drops a clear pick and Texas gets a break. Next, Bijan Robinson gets multiple carries and Texas finds itself in the red zone. On the very next play, Ewers finds Worthy in the end zone for a Longhorn touchdown. With 5:38 left to play in the first half, it’s tied 7-7.
Iowa State starts with the ball after Noel takes the kickoff to the 15 yard-line. The first two plays of the drive end with Noel drops. Hutchinson, who’s been seen limping during some of the game, makes a big catch on 3rd and 10 and continues the drive for the Cyclones. Nothing comes from it though as Iowa State is unable to get another first down on the drive. A solid punt from Tyler Perkins forces the Longhorns to start their drive on their own 20. The first play for Texas has Robinson breaking free and running to the Texas 45 yard-line. Robinson gets the ball on the next five plays, four from the run and one from a pass and gets two more first downs. This drive becomes the Bijan Robinson drive as Ewers finds Robinson inside the 10 yard-line, with an impressive catch coming from Robinson. Next, Ewers has Jordan Whittington open on a slant route, and just like that it’s 14-7 Longhorns. An awful end to an at once promising half.
It’s 14-7 Texas at the half.
To start the second half, Texas takes the kick back to the Cyclones’ 30, until a holding call brings the ball back to their own 20. A huge break for Iowa State. That mistake didn’t seem to mess with Texas’ current momentum as Ewers fins Worthy on a deep pass near mid-field. Robinson continued his impressive running game into the second half, leading the Longhorns inside the 30-yard line. Texas was unable to get anything else as they settled for a 31-yard field goal. 17-7 Texas with 10:07 left in the third quarter.
On a must-score drive for Iowa State, Noel drops two passes, but Hutchinson saves the day with a third-down catch. He follows that with a clutch catch downfield and Iowa State is now moving the ball. Silas then runs for a first down and Iowa State is inside Texas’ 30-yard-line. A sack puts Iowa State behind the chains and suddenly their drive is stopped and now looking at a 46-yard field goal attempt. Jace Gilbert’s kick is up and never stood a chance. Wide left and a brutal way to end a series. The Iowa State defense picks up their offense with a huge stop, forcing a three-and-out. A bad punt puts the Cyclones on their own 38 with 5:04 left in the third quarter.
On the second play from the drive, Dekkers passes on an RPO play and finds Noel for a 54-yard touchdown. A huge score for this offense and for Noel after a couple of drops. All of a sudden it’s 17-14 with plenty of ballgame left to be played.
The following drive for Texas starts with nothing new, a Bijan Robinson run for positive yards. Ewers later targets Cain for a wide-open pass, but he was unable to hail it in. If it was caught, Texas would have been inside the 25 of Iowa State. Two more incompletions come from Ewers and it’s a punt for the Longhorns. Iowa State takes over with 1:37 in the third quarter. On the first third down of the series, Dekkers finds Stanley in the middle of the field for a huge first down. Get those fours up people! It’s 17-14 Texas, with the Cyclones at mid-field heading into the fourth quarter.
Quickly Iowa State finds themselves at a third and short, and Cartevious Norton picks up a huge first down. The following play, Dekkers fires downfield and just hits the hands of a Texas defensive back, another break for Iowa State. Then Dekkers finds Hutchinson for 21 yards and Iowa State sits inside Texas’ 20-yard line. After a short run and incompletion, it’s third and nine and the Cyclones need a big play. Ask and you shall receive, as Dekkers scrambles from the pocket and rushes into the endzone for a touchdown! The extra point is good and with 10:58 left in the game, it’s Iowa State 21-17.
Texas starts its drive and leans on the running game. Carries from Robinson and Roschon Johnson have Texas set up in Cyclone territory. Iowa State is able to stop Robinson from getting to the second level and force a third and sixth. On that third down, Ewers finds Robinson on a screen pass and has Texas inside the 10 yard-line. Two run plays later and Texas is facing a third and goal from the one-yard line. They give it to Robinson again, but this time Iowa State stops him. It’s fourth and goal from the three with 5:27 left. On fourth down, they don’t run the ball but throw it instead. Ewers looks left and finds Worthy for an easy touchdown, 24-21 Texas leads.
Iowa State gets the ball at the 25 and two short rushes and a short pass leads them to a quick fourth down. It’s Hutchinson time, as he makes a beautiful catch for 15 yards and the drive is still alive! The very next play Dekkers throws a deep ball downfield and Hutchinson is wide open! He gets his hands on it but loses it when he hits the ground and it’s incomplete. A brutal drop for the Cyclones. Campbell calls a timeout to regroup and on the next play, Dekkers finds Hutchinson in the middle of the field for 20 yards. The Cyclones hurry up the line and Dekkers runs the ball but gets hard and fumbles the ball. It’s reviewed and the call of the field stands. The call could have gone either way, and there was also a potential targeting on the play that wasn’t looked at. The targeting hit not even being looked at is questionable, to say the least. Two calls on one play go against Iowa State and Texas takes over.
Iowa State is able to force a third down, but Texas was able to rush for the first down and then run out the clock. Another game for the Cyclones when they cannot win a close one. A brutal beat for Iowa State fans. The final score from Austin is 24-21.