Mack Brown has called the Texas Longhorns’ loss to Iowa State last season the low point in his lowest season in charge of the University of Texas football team. The loss in Austin was Texas’ third of the season, but it began a stretch where the Longhorns lost five of their last six (the one win was against Florida Atlantic).
The 2011 season has already diverged from last year’s disaster with a 49-20 trouncing of UCLA two weeks ago, but this Texas team wanted to show how different it is from last autumn’s unit by handling an unbeaten Iowa State team in Ames.
They accomplished that early Saturday, forcing three quick turnovers and racing to a 34-0 halftime lead. James White fumbled on the Cyclones’ second drive, Alex Okafor recovered, and the Longhorns converted with three points. A fumble on the ensuing kickoff handed Texas their second start in Iowa State territory, and they took full advantage this time with a 16-yard scoring run by Fozzy Whittaker out of what Texas is now calling their Fozzy-cat formation. Iowa State’s next possession ended with a Blake Gideon interception that he returned 43 yards to ISU’s 17. Texas had to settle for a field goal again, but the lead stood at 13-0 thanks to the turnovers.
Iowa State’s next drive was nearly as frustrating, as they drove for 14 plays down to the Texas 11 but saw Zach Guyer miss a 29-yard field goal. Texas stalled out in their own territory, but a personal foul on Iowa State sustained the drive and David Ash hit a wide open Mike Davis for a 48-yard TD to stretch the lead to 20-0.
An exchange of punts gave Iowa State the ball at their 25, but after a three-and-out, Mykkele Thompson blocked Kirby Van Der Kamp’s punt. Fellow freshman Josh Turner ran it back 34 yards for Texas’ third TD. Texas’ final possession was another quick strike, as they moved to midfield on four plays, then Ash connected with Jaxon Shipley for 48 yards and his second TD.
The second half was a different story. Texas went with numerous backups and seemed to lose some focus, while Iowa State fought for 60 minutes. The Cyclones outscored Texas 14-3 in the half, for a final score of 37-14.
Ash made the big throws for Texas, who rotated QBs once again. Case McCoy did receive the majority of the snaps, and Brown had to be happy with a 24-pass, 40-run balance, though the the commitment to the run game didn’t pay off with easier sledding late. Malcolm Brown led the team in carries once again, with 15 for 63 yards. Shipley had a big receiving game, notching 141 yards on six catches.
Brown’s Longhorns now prepare for their Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl in one week. Both teams are unbeaten once again, but Texas will be a sizable underdog, as Bob Stoops has a veteran QB in Landry Jones and a roster stacked with talent. The Sooners showed their displeasure with AP voters dropping them behind LSU to the second spot with a 62-6 thumping of Ball State.