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Longhorns Seek Revenge Against Iowa State

Sports

Texas versus Iowa State | Image by Hook'em Headlines

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With No.22 Texas coming off a dominating win over rival Oklahoma, they must put it behind them as the Iowa State Cyclones roll into Austin on Saturday morning for the Longhorns’ next conference game.

Texas is currently on a three-game losing streak to Iowa State, with the Longhorns last beating the Cyclones in a home game in 2018. But the Longhorns are determined to end the streak and exact revenge in a similar fashion to how they snapped a four-game losing streak to the Sooners last week.

Last year Texas’ game against Iowa State was one of the season’s lowest-scoring efforts, showing how far gone the team was by that point. The Longhorns entered that game with a 4-4 record and on a brutal three-game losing streak after a promising start to the season.

Texas held a 7-3 halftime lead, but Iowa State blew the game open in the second half to win 30-7, extending a Longhorns losing streak that would ultimately reach six games for the season. After the loss to the Cyclones, a video of Texas defensive line coach Bo Davis ripping into players with an expletive-laden rant about their poor performance went viral.

Nearly a year after Davis’ now-legendary rant, the Longhorns appear to be a more skilled and more focused team.

Texas tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders put things in perspective after the 49-0 win over Oklahoma, where he caught two touchdown passes.

“It was a big win for us,” the Denton Ryan graduate told reporters following the Red River Showdown, “but we’re still on a revenge tour.”

So far, Texas (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) has already avenged 2021 losses against West Virginia and Oklahoma. Next up, however, is Iowa State (3-3, 0-3).

The Longhorns are focused on making sure 2021 does not repeat itself.

“The outside world makes it sound like that it was a hard year last year on them. It was a pretty hard year on us, you know,” Texas second-year head coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday at his weekly press conference. “A lot of guys on our team, there’s a lot of bad taste in the mouth from the way some of those games went last year and the opportunities that ultimately fell on us that we…that we let go of.

“Our players are really buying into the idea that let’s go play the way we’re capable of playing, and let’s go finish the way we’re capable of finishing.”

While Iowa State has lost all three of its first conference games, they have each been close. Iowa State lost to then-No.20 Kansas State this past Saturday 10-9. Two weeks ago, Kansas scraped by the Cyclones, 14-11, due to a missed kick. Iowa State’s losing streak began in September after a 31-24 loss to Baylor at home.

The last time the Cyclones lost by more than two touchdowns was 30 games ago in its 2020 season opener against Louisiana when they lost 31-14.

If the Cyclones hope to keep it close and hang with Texas this weekend, it will take some points, which have been tough to come by for the team this year. Statistically, Iowa State has the worst offense in the Big 12, scoring a conference-low of 23.2 points per game, while Texas scores an average of 38.8 points per game.

The Cyclones will have to get the ball into the hands of their most reliable offensive player: senior wideout Xavier Hutchinson. Hutchinson has recorded 57 receptions for 604 yards and five touchdowns on the year and is coming off back-to-back 100-yard performances against Kansas and Kansas State.

While the offense has struggled, the Cyclones have the best defense in the conference. The Cyclones hold their opponents to an average of 13.7 points per game, the lowest average points allowed in the Big 12.

The Texas defense is not too shabby either, holding its opponents to an average of 17.8 points per game.

The Longhorns will look to feature standout running back Bijan Robinson to put points on a stout Cyclone defense. Robinson has been one of the top performers in the FBS this season, ranking second in total touchdowns (11), third in rushing touchdowns (10), and ninth in rushing yards (645).

Robinson has bought into the revenge tour for the Longhorns, explaining how last year’s debilitating loss to the Cyclones has him motivated for this Saturday’s meeting.

“We know the scores from last year,” said Robinson, who had two fumbles against Iowa State last season before being hurt in the second half. “We lost to this team. They handled us pretty well. We’re never going to forget that.”

The Longhorns and Cyclones will kick off at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ABC.

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