No. 7 Texas travels to Iowa State hoping to keep its Big 12 Championship Game –and even College Football Playoff — hopes alive in Week 12. The Longhorns survived a late scare from TCU in a 29-26 victory a week ago, though quarterback Quinn Ewers was strong in his return from injury with 317 yards passing and a touchdown on 33 pass attempts.
Since starting the year 2-3, Iowa State has found its rhythm. The Cyclones have won four of their last five games, including a 45-13 victory over BYU last week. Quarterback Rocco Becht and running back Abu Sama III each posted two touchdowns as the Cyclones racked up 443 yards of total offense.
Iowa State has played Texas exceptionally well over the last several years. The Cyclones won three straight games from 2019-21, including a 30-7 decimation during the last matchup in Ames, Iowa, against a Steve Sarkisian team. Texas finally broke the streak last year with a 24-21 win, but it took All-American receiver Xavier Hutchinson dropping a wide open, and potentially game-winning, pass to survive. The final games in Ames could be a battle.
Texas vs. Iowa State: Need to know
Big 12 title game implications: Iowa State got off to a slow start with two losses in nonconference play, but the Cyclones are nipping at the Longhorns’ heels. Texas sits in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with a 6-1 conference mark, but Iowa State is one of four teams tied at 5-2. An ISU win could dramatically shake up the Big 12 title race and put the Longhorns’ title hopes in jeopardy heading into the final week of the regular season. None of that is to speak to Texas’ College Football Playoff dreams, which would be dashed with a loss. This is a must-win game for the Longhorns.
Major loss: Texas running back Jonathan Brooks was ruled out for the season after suffering a torn ACL against TCU. The loss is a devastating one as Brooks ranks No. 7 nationally with 1,139 yards rushing on just 187 rush attempts. With Brooks sidelined, the Longhorns will now rely on inconsistent freshman CJ Baxter, who has averaged fewer than 3.5 yards per carry in three of his last five games. Brooks averaged 158 all-purpose yards per game in Big 12 play and broke off multiple runs of more than 30 yards to set up scoring plays. On days when Texas’ passing game can’t connect, Baxter and third-string Jaydon Blue will have to prove that they can carry the load or the Longhorns could quickly find themselves in trouble.
Defensive power: Texas has been one of the most improved defensive programs in the nation in 2023 and has been especially dangerous against the run. Behind superstar interior defensive linemen T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II, the Longhorns are No. 7 nationally allowing just 3.01 yards per carry and 90.1 yards rushing per game. The ranking is 25 spots ahead of any other Big 12 team in what has become a run-happy conference. Iowa State’s Sama broke out against BYU with 110 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries, but Texas provides a much more imposing challenge.
How to watch Texas vs. Iowa State live
Date: Saturday, Nov. 18 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Jack Trice Stadium — Ames, Iowa
TV: FOX | Live stream: Fubo (Try for free)
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Texas vs. Iowa State prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
The loss of Jonathan Brooks comes at a tricky time as Texas prepares to play one of the Big 12’s most physical defenses. The Longhorns failed to clear 30 points for the first time this season against TCU and Iowa State is a more difficult challenge. Luckily, Texas’ defense has carried it for stretches this year and should be able to do so against an inconsistent ISU offense. Expect the game to be lower-scoring than expected and well in doubt heading into the fourth quarter. Pick: Iowa State +7.5
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