Gridiron Girl Game Preview: Iowa State

Greetings, Longhorn fans! This week brings me to you in a bittersweet mood. I am still saddened over the loss of Darrell Royal. He is an icon for the University. He presided over one of the most successful periods of the football program, and he was instrumental in the hiring of Mack Brown. His influence is felt all through the college football world, and he will be missed. Let’s remember Coach Royal this weekend as the ’Horns take the field in the stadium, very appropriately memorializing him.

Now, football! Up next for the ’Horns: the Iowa State Cyclones. Texas is coming off a pretty heady win over Texas Tech. The team played a surprisingly complete game, showing marked improvement on both sides of the ball.

It was a welcome surprise to me, and the game caused me to almost have a stress aneurysm—but in a good way! Iowa State is coming off yet another loss, this time to Oklahoma. However, it’s worth noting that ISU did not lose to Oklahoma in quite the Biblical proportions that Texas did. So, there’s that to worry about.

Let’s have a couple of fun facts about Iowa State: Its team name, the “Cyclones,” dates back to 1895. It should come as no surprise that Iowa has lots of violent weather. Since they are basically a tabletop where food things grow, the storms can just rampage on through whenever they feel like it. Actually, I’m just throwing shade. According to Wikipedia, Iowa has some rolling hills and loess deposits. And that’s a word you can go look up and give yourself another brain wrinkle—then use to impress people at cocktail parties.

Moving on! In 1895, Iowa had an above-average number of cyclones, which is the old-timey name for tornadoes. In September of that year, ISU traveled to Chicago to play a highly touted Northwestern team and beat them 36-0. The Chicago Tribune ran a headline that read, “Struck by a Cyclone: It Comes from Iowa and Devastates Evanston Town.” And thus, a team mascot was born.

Time for statistics. ISU comes to this game with a 5-4 overall record. Texas sits at 7-2. Last time ISU came to town, they ruined Texas’ day and sent the team into a skid, which we only really just recovered from. ISU is averaging 24.4 points per game to Texas’ 40.3. Here’s one thing to consider: ISU has allowed an average of 21.4 points, and Texas has allowed 31.6. ISU wins that one.

Texas is ranked 107th in rush defense. Guess what ISU did well last week? That’s right, they rushed the ball against Oklahoma. So much of the Texas team’s success on Saturday will again depend on the inconsistent defense. I’m hoping Coach Brown continues to be at the wheel with the defense. By that, I mean I hope he’s threatening to put them on the wheel if they don’t start tackling properly.

In most stats, Texas is the clear favorite, even though the team barely breaks the 30th percentile in most categories, except for points scored. In that category, Texas ranks 12th while ISU is way down at 90th.

Just like last week, so much depends on which Texas team shows up. Two things we have going for us: Coach Brown and David Ash. Coach Brown knows how to motivate and inspire young players. And we’ve seen David Ash’s cool and calm leadership during just about every game so far this season.

With that stellar win under their belts, I hope the team can stay focused on continued improvement and adding another one to the “W” column. I can’t shake that funk from the Kansas game, though. That game is the spectre hiding in the closet waiting to jump out at you when you stumble to the bathroom at 2 a.m. If Texas plays like they did against Kansas, it could be a long Saturday.

ISU will come to town gunning for an upset, hoping to salvage some of its mediocre season. The ISU quarterback is named—and I am not making this up—STEELE JANTZ. How awesome is that? His name is literally steel. He has a respectable 63-percent pass completion rate. Their rushing leader, Shontrelle Johnson, has 89 carries for 371 yards. Leading receiver Chris Young has 30 receptions for 326 yards. This team will come into Austin hoping for another season-spoiling win over the ’Horns. Let’s disappoint them, Texas!

For those of you lucky folks who get the Longhorn Network, kickoff is 11 a.m. CST. I don’t even want to talk about those of you going to the game and seeing the ’Horns with your live eyeballs. The grief is too overwhelming.

The bookmakers have Texas as a 10.5-point favorite with an over/under of 57. Bet wisely, children.

Win one for Uncle Darrell, boys! Hook ’em!

Rebecca May is a Texas ex-pat living in Oregon while rooting for the Longhorns. An attorney by day, she blogs about college football by night. This story was first published by GridironGirl on http://gridirongirl.org.

Photo courtesy UT Athletics.

 

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