With only a third of the Division I college football season remaining, the Iowa State Cyclones managed to score 24 points and shut out the Texas Longhorns in a game that the Horns really needed to win.
Coming off of big wins against Oklahoma and Kansas State, the Longhorns were just 3-4 overall (2-2 against Big 12 opponents), while the Cyclones were 2-5 overall (1-3 in the Big 12). As teams begin to vie for the spots in this year’s Championship Bowl Series, Texas needed to score big, keeping up the momentum they’ve had since starting the season out with just a single win and four losses.
If Iowa State wants any chance at a game after the regular season, they needed to do something against Texas yesterday to end their three-game losing streak.
As reported by Tireball Sports, the Vegas odds had the Longhorns favored by 6.5 points over the Cyclones. The over/under was 51.5 total points scored.
Vegas was wrong. The final Iowa State Cyclones/Texas Longhorns score was 24-0.
After three straight losses, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads — currently in his sixth year — desperately needed to turn things around. So on Monday, as noted by ESPN, Iowa State replaced their offensive coordinator, and the Cyclones started Joel Lanning at quarterback for the first time. The Iowa-born Cyclone completed 19 of 37 passes on Saturday for 188 yards. Although the Longhorns sacked him six times, Lanning threw for one touchdown and tossed no interceptions. He rushed for 64 yards and finished with a Passer Rating of 103.0.
But perhaps a bigger factor in the Texas Longhorns’ loss was the ground game of Cyclone running back Mike Warren. He racked up 157 rushing yards against Texas and ran in a touchdown. As Fox Sports noted, the Cyclone freshman has rushed for at least 125 yards in five of his last six games. Taking a lot of pressure off first-time starter Joel Lanning, his 32 runs were more than he’s had in any other game this year. Oddly enough, the games in which he recorded his second, third, and fourth most carries were also against teams from Texas. He had 28 carries against Baylor, 23 against Texas Tech, and 22 against Texas Christian.
On the other side of the ball, Iowa State had little trouble with the struggling Texas offense. It’s pretty rare that the Texas Longhorns score nothing at all. In fact, since 2004, this is just the second time Texas has been shut out. The stats for the Texas offense on Saturday looked pretty bleak, as compiled by Hook’ Em. The Longhorns converted just two of thirteen third down opportunities, leading to a total of seven three-and-outs.
The combination of Texas quarterbacks Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes passed for just 85 yards after throwing a total of twelve completions on 22 passes. The longest pass of the game for the Longhorns was caught by Andrew Beck for 22 yards — but it came in the last drive of the game.
It was too little, too late. For the first three quarters, Texas barely even got onto the Cyclones’ side of the field. And that play from Iowa State’s 47-yard-line — a pass from Heard — ended in an interception. The final play of the game, as the Longhorns had the ball on Iowa State’s five yard line, Texas receiver Marcus Johnson — who recorded zero offensive yards — dropped the ball in the endzone to seal the shut out.
Both teams — and both coaches — have a lot to prove over the next few weeks. In what is the second year of Texas head coach Charlie Strong’s rebuilding phase, it is now a very real possibility that the Longhorns will finish with a sub-.500 record and no bowl game.
For Rhoads, the personnel changes and upset victory over Texas may be just what he needs to keep his job. In the middle of his sixth season as Iowa State head coach, Rhoads is just 29-45. With the exception of Chuck Banker coaching two games (1-1) in 1986, the last time a Cyclones coach had a cumulative record above.500 was Earl Bruce from 1973-1978 (36-32). The last winning season for the Iowa State Cyclones was in 2009, Rhoads’ first year as head coach, when they finished 7-6.
Texas and Iowa State now have matching conference records (2-3) and overall records (3-5), taking up the 4th and 5th place spots in the Big 12 Conference.
Next week, the Iowa State Cyclones look to build on this win as they face Big 12 Conference opponents Oklahoma (7-1). The Texas Longhorns try to bounce back as they face last place Kansas, who has yet to win a game this year.
[Image credit David Purdy / Getty Images]