FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Trice Stadium (56,800) -- Ames, Iowa. Television: ESPN. Home Record: UT 2-1, ISU 0-2. Away Record: UT 0-1, ISU 1-0. Neutral Record: UT 0-0, ISU 0-0. Conference Record: UT 1-0, ISU 0-0. Series Record: UT leads, 9-1.
GAME NOTES: The Texas Longhorns will pay a visit to Jack Trice Stadium Thursday night to take on the Iowa State Cyclones in Big 12 Conference play.
Texas will have had nearly two full weeks to prepare for this contest. The Longhorns rebounded from a rare two-game slide by knocking off Kansas State two weekends ago, 31-21. That victory was their first over the Wildcats since 2003.
This will be the Big 12 opener for Iowa State, and the team has lost 10 straight league openers dating back to 2003. After dropping back-to-back home games to Northern Iowa (28-20) and Iowa (27-21) to start the season, the Cyclones got into the win column with a 38-21 triumph at Tulsa this past Thursday.
Texas has won nine of 10 meetings in the all-time series with Iowa State.
The Longhorns turned to the ground game to upend K-State in their last outing. Johnathan Gray shouldered the workload with a career-high 141 yards to go along with two touchdowns on 28 carries. Gray has increased his yardage total in each game this season and is averaging a healthy 5.3 yards per carry. But while the ground game has started to hit its stride, questions abound in the passing game. David Ash started the last game and went 14-of-25 for 166 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but he had a recurrence of concussion symptoms at intermission and did not play in the second half. Case McCoy, who played the previous week against Ole Miss, came on in relief and completed 5- of-9 passes for 59 yards.
The Longhorns defense had its struggles with K-State's Tyler Lockett, who broke the school record with 237 receiving yards. Despite allowing Lockett to roam free for much of the day, the Longhorns were strong against the run (3.0 ypc) and also notched four sacks. Additionally, the unit did manage to force three turnovers. The first of those takeaways came on a fumble recovery early in the third quarter and led the way to Gray's second TD of the day, which pushed UT's lead to 24-7. Steve Edmond led the way with a game-high 11 tackles and a sack. All in all, it was an encouraging performance for a defense that still ranks 109th nationally in total yards allowed (466.0 ypg).
Iowa State got a big day from running back Aaron Wimberly against Tulsa, as he was named the conference's Co-Offensive Player of the Week. Wimberly ran for a career-high 137 yards on 19 carries, becoming the team's first 100-yard rusher since last year's season-opener against Tulsa. He was complemented by Jeff Woody, who scored three times on six carries. His three TDs were the most by an ISU player since Ryan Kock had three against Missouri in 2005. Down 14-7 late in the second quarter, the Cyclones took control with a string of 24 unanswered points.
Defensively, Iowa State capitalized on three fumble recoveries, including two by Nick Kron. It marked the second time this season that an Iowa State player recovered two fumbles in the same game (Deon Broomfield vs. Northern Iowa). In addition to those takeaways, the Cyclones really bottled up the Tulsa running game to the tune of 86 net yards as a team. The Cyclones were disruptive at the point of attack, notching eight tackles for loss. Brandon Jensen and Willie Scott each had 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Senior linebacker Jeremiah George led the way with 12 tackles. On the season, he ranks second on the team with 27 stops, while Jacques Washington has collected a team-best 31 tackles.
Iowa State has recovered six fumbles in three games and has yet to lose a fumble. However, winning the turnover battle only goes so far, as the Cyclones have been on the wrong end of a couple of tight games. Likewise, Texas had been reeling until finally showing some life against Kansas State its last time out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 31, Iowa State 18
Ames, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - Case McCoy surged into the end zone for a go- ahead 1-yard touchdown with 51 seconds left in the game to lift the Texas Longhorns to a 31-30 victory over the Iowa State Cyclones on Thursday at Jack Trice Stadium.
ISU kicker Cole Netten nailed a 29-yard field goal with 3:40 left to give the Cyclones a six-point cushion, but McCoy orchestrated a 10-play, 75-yard march to set up the go-ahead score.
The Cyclones were whistled for three penalties on the trek, including a pass interference call in the end zone on 3rd-and-7 that gave Texas a 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line.
After Johnathan Gray was stuffed on back-to-back runs, McCoy kept it himself and surged up the middle for a 1-yard score before Anthony Fera's extra point provided Texas with a one-point cushion with 51 seconds left.
Iowa State nearly answered, as Sam B. Richardson guided the Cyclones into Texas territory, but with time winding down, Richardson's pass was batted at the line and landed in the arms of defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat to seal the outcome.
McCoy completed 26-of-45 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown, while Gray racked up 89 yards and a score on 16 carries for the Longhorns (3-2, 2-0 Big 12), who have won 10 of their 11 all-time meetings with the Cyclones.
Richardson threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-26 passing, with Aaron Wimberly adding 117 rushing yards and a score on 29 carries for Iowa State (1-3, 0-1), which has lost 11 straight league openers dating back to 2003.
Iowa State seemed poised to carry a 13-10 edge into halftime after Netten knocked down a 41-yard field goal with 33 seconds left, but McCoy quickly moved the Longhorns into ISU territory before heaving a last-second prayer into the end zone that John Harris hauled in among a swarm of Cyclone defenders for a 44-yard score to send Texas into the break with a 17-13 lead.
The Cyclones' second possession of the second half started from their own 2- yard line, but on the third play of the touch, Richardson fired a strike over the middle to Quenton Bundrage, who sped past the safety and outran the defense for a 97-yard touchdown to make it 20-17 midway through the third.
Joe Bergeron capped Texas' ensuing drive with a 6-yard TD run to put the Longhorns back in front, but the Texas running back fumbled at his own 37 early in the fourth, setting up a Wimberly 20-yard touchdown run to give the Cyclones a 27-24 lead with 11:37 left in the fourth.
Early on, Gray ripped off a 45-yard TD run on Texas' first touch before Fera added a 29-yard field goal later in the first to provide the Longhorns with a 10-0 lead.
Netten connected on a 37-yard field goal on the second play of the second quarter before Richardson capped ISU's next drive with an 11-yard scoring strike to Wimberly to even the score.