Horns look for a win over Iowa State

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Keenan Robinson and Kenny Vaccaro bring down a Rice ballcarrier in Texas’ season opener. Robinson and Vaccaro are two of the defense’s most experienced players and will try to help Texas take down an Iowa State team that beat the Longhorns 28-21 last season.

Photo Credit: Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff

It’s time for Texas to get back to business.

The Longhorns took advantage of their bye week, getting a few days off to recover and prepare for the start of Big 12 Conference play, which begins on Saturday at Iowa State.

Most players spent time with their families during the bye, with senior linebacker Emmanuel Acho flying to Philadelphia to attend a wedding. Acho, though, watched game film of Iowa State (3-0) during his flights.

He understands what’s at stake for the Longhorns (3-0) this time around after losing to the Cyclones, 28-21, a season ago in Austin. Texas got caught looking past Iowa State then, but the Longhorns say they’ve learned from it.

“Some of the problems we had last year was overlooking opponents and after a year like last you know not to take anybody for granted,” Acho said. “We know we can’t make that mistake again.”

The loss certainly caught the Longhorns off guard. After all, they were coming off an upset over Nebraska on the road. But just when it looked like Texas might turn things around, the Cyclones had other ideas.

And it didn’t help that the Longhorns came out with little energy to start the game.

“It was kind of a daze, you really didn’t know what was going on and then at the end of the game you looked up and it was 28-21,” Acho said.

For fellow senior linebacker Keenan Robinson, the game is a homecoming of sorts. His mother attended Iowa State, and he was born two hours away from the campus.

Robinson, though, expects a different intensity from his team this time, one that was clearly lacking against the Cyclones in 2010, when the Longhorns found themselves in a 28-6 hole early in the fourth quarter.

“Last year it seemed like everyone was playing lackadaisical,” Robinson said. “We weren’t focused. We didn’t compete on every aspect of the game. We weren’t hitting on all cylinders at all. So this Saturday, we need to make sure that every aspect of the game is on point so that we don’t have any regrets when the game is over.”

The Longhorns have come a long way since last season’s loss to Iowa State. The coaching staff has been overhauled, as well as the schemes and the players executing them.

Still, head coach Mack Brown doesn’t hesitate to call that game the worst performance he’s seen during his 13 seasons at Texas.

“I think it was the lowest point,” Brown said. “I couldn’t believe that we would not play with more emotion or passion than we did against Iowa State. I thought the score was not as bad as the game.”

Yes, Texas is off to its fifth consecutive 3-0 start, but senior safety Blake Gideon knows that doesn’t guarantee further success. Texas began the 2010 season with an unblemished record after three games ­­— then lost seven of its final nine.

“Those three games can’t help us any more,” Gideon said. “It’s our job to prepare with everything we have for Iowa State this week, and that’s all that matters until next week.”

While Texas did not play its best ball against the Cyclones last time out, the Longhorns still own a 7-1 record against them. Texas has also fared well following a bye week under Brown, posting a 16-4 record in those games.

The Longhorns avenged their 2010 loss to UCLA with a 49-20 win over the Bruins at the Rose Bowl in their last game. On Saturday, they will attempt to do the same against Iowa State.

Printed on September 27, 2011 as: Texas getting ready for Iowa State