Texas will have had 12 days to move on from a bitter 27-24 double-overtime loss at No. 5 USC when the Longhorns open Big 12 Conference play Thursday night at Iowa State. And although many viewed the close road loss to the Trojans as a moral victory for first-year coach Tom Herman’s rebuilding squad, Herman was having none of it.
”Everybody wants to tell us how well we played and how much better we looked, how different we looked, and that’s true,“ Herman told Hookemplus.com. ”We’re going to build on a lot of those things. But we’re in a zero-sum business. You either did it or you didn‘t. They don’t put the L next to that game with a little asterisk that says, “Yeah, but ...” The Longhorns, who opened the season with a 51-41 home loss to Maryland and followed that up with a 56-0 home victory over woeful San Jose State before falling to the Trojans, defeated Iowa State 27-6 last season in Austin and are 5-1 all-time in Ames. “When you look at big-picture goals ... we want to compete for the Big 12 Championship in the month of November,” Herman said.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Texas -6.5
ABOUT TEXAS (1-2, 0-0 Big 12): Sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele, who passed for 375 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another TD against Maryland, is expected to return to the starting lineup after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury. The bad news is he won’t have All-American left tackle Connor Williams (sprained MCL and PCL) around to block for him on an already thin offensive line that managed to pave the way for only 68 yards rushing on 35 attempts versus USC. Junior defensive back DeShon Elliott, who had two interceptions and seven tackles against USC, leads a stout Longhorn defense that has allowed 113 yards rushing over its last two games, including 71 on 37 carries by the Trojans.
IOWA STATE (2-1, 0-0): The Cyclones are a 44-41 overtime loss to Iowa away from a 3-0 start, opening the season with a 42-24 home victory over Northern Iowa and winning at Akron 41-14 on Sept. 16. Junior quarterback Jacob Park ranks 14th in the NCAA in passing (311.7 yards) and has four 300-yard passing games in six career starts. A big reason for that is senior wide receiver Allen Lazard, a preseason All-American who has 19 receptions for 178 yards and three touchdowns and is the active NCAA career leader in consecutive games with a reception (38).
1. Herman was Iowa State’s offensive coordinator from 2009-11 and helped guide the Cyclones to a pair of bowl games.
2. Texas is 16-5 all-time in Big 12 openers while Iowa State is 5-16.
3. Iowa State leads the Big 12 and ranks sixth nationally with 26 tackles for loss, an average of 8.7 per game.
PREDICTION: Texas 31, Iowa State 24