Texas-Iowa State: first-half thoughts

Texas wide receiver Brennan Eagles got the Longhorns to the Iowa State doorstep on their first drive with a 59-yard catch to the Cyclones' 4-yard line, but UT had to settle for a field goal (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

The Texas defense has looked good for the most part and has done an outstanding job keeping Iowa State running back Breece Hall in check.

Keeping Iowa State to 10 points — though it caught a break when the Cyclones missed a 41-yard field goal at horn — in a half has to be considered a win, but the Texas offense has to be better in the second half.

It’s probably going to take at least 30 points to win this game, so the Texas offense has to do more. You can’t ask your defense to be much better than it was the first half.

It was impressive work to keep Iowa State to a field goal after the Cyclones drove inside the Longhorns 5 early in the second quarter. It’s series like those that can ultimately win games.

Conversely, Texas missed a chance to go up, 7-0, after a brilliant 59-yard catch by Brennan Eagles on the game’s opening drive set it up at the Iowa State 4. After failing to get in the end zone, the Longhorns settled for a field goal.

In huge games like this, teams really need to take advantage of that opportunity. We’ll see if that comes back to haunt Texas at the end of the game.

Tarik Black’s fumble deep in Iowa State territory in the first quarter also may prove costly. It’s hard to fault Black, as he was hit right on the ball after his first step landing — bit of bad luck there.

However, Texas caught a break when Iowa State had an illegal formation on a Cameron Dicker field-goal attempt, allowing him to nail a 42-yard attempt after hitting the upright on his first try from five yards farther out.

Great play call by Mike Yurcich on quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s touchdown run around the left side. It totally caught Iowa State off guard and Ehlinger is a better runner than most defenses give him credit for.

Texas saw something on film in Iowa State’s secondary as it has taken several shots down field with varying degrees of success.

There was blown coverage on Iowa State’s 35-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. A cornerback blitz left one of the safeties having to pick up the tight end, leaving Sean Shaw wide open down the sideline.

After 20 yards of defensive penalties, that was a pretty poor performance from the Texas defense on that drive, but otherwise the Texas defense has looked great.  

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