The Texas Longhorns will look to move another step closer to the Big 12 Conference regular season title when it visits Iowa State on Saturday. The Longhorns lead the Big 12 football standings with a 6-1 record. Four teams are tied at 5-2, so a Texas win clinches at least a share of the title. One of those teams sitting at 5-2 is Iowa State. For the Cyclones, it’s simple. Pull the upset and move into a first-place tie. But it’s not going to be easy. The Texas vs Iowa State preview shows the Longhorns favored by 7.5 points on the road and the total on the game is 47.5.
Location: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
Texas Still Winning….Barely
The No. 7 Longhorns have won four straight games to move to 9-1. But it hasn’t been as easy as the wins were coming early in the season. Of those four games, Texas won by a touchdown once and by three points on two occasions, including last week’s win over TCU. The Longhorns are 1-2-1 against the spread during their winning streak.
Texas is scoring 33.8 points per game against NCAAF teams allowing 25.7 points, so its offense isn’t quite as high-powered as believed. The Longhorns are averaging 183.7 rushing yards per game and gaining 4.8 yards per carry. Texas is better through the air, where it gains 275.8 yards and 8.6 yards per pass attempt. The Longhorns gain 459.5 total yards against teams allowing 386.2 yards.
Defensively, Texas allows 18.4 points to teams averaging 29.8 points, so the stop unit is top-notch. The Longhorns allow 3.0 yards per rush and 6.9 yards per pass attempt. Texas is +5 in turnovers, so the defense can take the ball away. The Longhorns force teams to travel 18.3 yards for every point, so the defense can tighten up when it’s called for.
Cyclones Take Advantage of Opportunities
Iowa State isn’t a great football team. But the Cyclones make the most of their opportunities, scoring 25.7 points against teams allowing 24.5 points. The rushing game is a little bit below average, gaining 4.1 yards against teams allowing 4.3 yards. The Cyclones are a little better against the pass, gaining 7.4 yards per pass attempt against teams allowing 7.1 yards. Still, Iowa State gains 348.2 total yards per game against teams allowing 359 yards. So Iowa State is basically your average offensive team.
The defense has been pretty solid for the Cyclones, allowing 19.9 points per game to teams scoring 25 points. Iowa State allows 3.8 yards per carry to teams averaging 4.2 yards. So the Cyclones can stop the run pretty well. The pass defense is pretty decent, holding teams to 53.6% completions and giving up 204.3 yards.
The Cyclones have been helped by a +9 in turnovers. Iowa State is 6-4 straight-up and 6-4 against the spread. But the Cyclones are 4-6 in totals, although they’ve gone over in two of their last three games.
What to Expect
The Longhorns are the better team based on the statistics. Texas is roughly 11 points better on a neutral field, so the point spread might be a shade low. But it’s a pretty good number. The Longhorns have played the tougher NCAA football schedule 2023, as it’s No. 8 in the Sagarin college football rankings. Iowa State has played the No. 32 schedule.
Texas is going to come out and test the Iowa State rushing defense. The Cyclones are going to have to respect the pass, which might make the Texas ground game work a little better. If the Longhorns are having success on the ground, they’ll do well to keep pounding the ball at the Cyclones and look to wear them down. Iowa State is a little better against the pass and Texas should use that to its advantage.
The Cyclones mix the pass and the run pretty well but would be better off looking to throw the ball. It’s hard to run against Texas and Iowa State isn’t the greatest running team around.
Who to Bet On?
The Texas vs Iowa State preview sees a little bit of value on the Longhorns laying the 7.5 points. It would be a little better if the line was 7, but Texas is worth a play laying less than double digits.
The Texas vs Iowa State preview notes this is the lowest total Texas has played to all season. The Longhorns have played four games with totals between 48 and 49.5 and have gone 1-3 in those games.
As the best of the late college football games, this contest will be heavily bet. Some bettors will probably parlay the game with their NCAAF picks today. But this is one of those games where you don’t want to overthink things and just ride with the Longhorns.