Throw the Football
It’s been stated time and time again that the Longhorns find success when they run the football more, but that will not be the key to this game with Iowa State. Texas will run the ball like it usually does but the Longhorns should focus on successfully and efficiently throwing the ball in this matchup. The Cyclones defense is ranked No. 66 in the nation and has a plethora of capable tacklers but not a whole lot of shutdown corners. Iowa State has surrendered just 677 yards through the air this season but Texas has weapons that those other opponents do not. With one interception thus far as a team, Iowa State doesn’t present much of a threat to pick off Case McCoy, who will need to find confidence early to be effective in this game. If Iowa State crowds the line to stop the run, which they will likely do, Texas should take advantage of mismatches on the outside for big yards through the air.
Blitz... a lot
Texas is coming off of a big win in its Big 12 opener against Kansas State and should carry that success into this tilt. The Longhorns forced the Wildcats into three turnovers (all fumbles) and a steady dose of pressure could produce the same result against the Cyclones. Quarterback Sam Richardson is the one that Texas needs to worry most about, so pressuring him as often as possible should be an obvious key to victory. Iowa State has only turned the ball over three times in three games this season but with a running game that has been pedestrian at best, the passing game becomes that much more imperative. Texas needs to load the box and swarm the backfield of the Cyclones to induce mistakes that Iowa State doesn’t have the weapons to counteract.
It might sound counterproductive but the Longhorns need to maintain a mean streak to continue winning football games. Physical play is what led to forcing three Wildcats fumbles and that same attitude needs to be carried over to Thursday and beyond. Texas is usually exploited because it doesn’t play hard every play, and lets opponents run right over its players. Even if the Longhorns pick up a few unnecessary penalties in this game, getting mean and physical with Iowa State will set the tone and prove that Texas is ready to contend.