The Longhorns are playing their best ball at the right time.
Texas turned in its most complete performance of the season on Saturday and easily handled Iowa State, 37-14, to remain unbeaten heading into the biggest game of the year against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl.
The Longhorns (4-0) benefitted from three Cyclones turnovers in the first half as they jumped out to a 34-0 lead. It was quite a role reversal from a season ago, when Iowa State won the turnover battle and the game.
“Everybody knows the effect that getting turnovers or having turnovers can cause on a season — the outcome of a ballgame,” said senior safety Blake Gideon, who had his first interception of the season. “That was definitely one of the main emphasis throughout spring ball and camp and these early weeks of the season. It’s good to see all the hard work has come to fruition.”
Freshman quarterback David Ash showed he’s more than a running threat, completing seven of 12 pass attempts for 145 yards and the first two touchdown passes of his career.
Texas, though, did not finish the game strong as it was outscored 14-0 after halftime. That will need to improve if the Longhorns want to beat the Sooners next Saturday in Dallas.
“In the second half, we have to dominate better than that,” said senior tailback Fozzy Whittaker. “We still have a lot of potential left in us.”
Still, the Longhorns have improved with each week and appear poised to give the Sooners all they can handle. Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin didn’t hold back any of his trick plays against the Cyclones and is doing all he can to give Oklahoma plenty to prepare for.
In the second quarter, Harsin dialed up one of his signature gadget plays. Whittaker took the snap before handing the ball off to wide receiver Jaxon Shipley who in turn flipped it to Ash before streaking down the sideline and hauling in a 40-yard touchdown.
“We haven’t saved a whole lot,” Harsin said. “We called that play because we needed it. There’s no holding back.”
Yes, it’s full speed ahead for the Longhorns as they continue their four-game stretch against teams that beat them in 2010. The revenge tour has gone as planned, so far, with the Longhorns blowing out UCLA 49-20 on Sept. 17 before handing Iowa State (3-1) its first loss of
“This game was big on our checklist,” said sophomore quarterback Case McCoy. “We don’t speak of revenge, but we all had a nasty taste in our mouth after this game last year.”
Texas, though, isn’t flying under the radar any more.
“I’m not sure a lot of people would’ve thought five weeks ago we would’ve been 4-0 right now,” said head coach Mack Brown. “Guys are playing with a lot of confidence. We know a lot more about us now than we did when we started the season.”
The Longhorns will find out a lot more about their team next weekend in Dallas against the top-ranked Sooners.
Printed on Monday, October 3, 2011 as: Longhorns crush Cyclones, remain unbeaten