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Longhorns vs. Iowa St. Cyclones Pick.
No. 17 Texas Longhorns (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) at Iowa State Cyclones (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS), Saturday October 1st, 2011. 7:00PM EST, College Football Week 5
Jack Trice Stadium Ames, IA
By Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper of Predictem.com
Point Spread: UT -10/ISU +10
Over/Under Total: OFF
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The Texas Longhorns take their no. 17 ranking to Ames, Iowa this Saturday to battle the Iowa State Cyclones in a battle of Big 12 unbeaten teams. The Cyclones have been a bit of a surprise this year with solid wins over both Iowa and Connecticut. Iowa State is 3-0 for the first time since the 2005 season and they will be ready for a chance to knock off the visiting Longhorns when the two teams collide inside Jack Trice stadium this Saturday.
Both teams had the previous week off with some extra time for preparation. The Longhorns are coming off a nice victory on the road over UCLA in their last outing 48-20. Historically, the Longhorns have had one of the top offenses in the Big 12 for the last several years. However, this season the Longhorns have gotten things done on the defensive side of the football. Texas currently owns the 10th best overall defense in the country allowing just 258 yards per game.
Additionally the Longhorns have given up just 154 yards per game through the air to give them the 9th best pass defense in the country as well. The Iowa State offense has not been overly impressive through the opening weeks of the season averaging just 380 yards per game (78th in NCAA). Therefore, it will be interesting to see if this Longhorns defense can come up with another impressive outing this Saturday as Texas looks remain unbeaten.
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On offense, sophomore QB Case McCoy appears to have taken over the starting job from Garrett Gilbert. McCoy was impressive in the win over UCLA completing 12 of 15 passing for 168 yards with 2 scores and 0 picks. Gilbert who was the previous starter simply has not shown that he can stay away from making mistakes throwing the football and McCoy is currently listed as the starter. In actuality the bulk of the Longhorns success on offense has come from the running game rather than the passing attack. Texas running back Malcolm Brown currently leads the team with 264 yards and 1 touchdown. The freshman tailback has been impressive early this season and he should only progress as the season continues.
The Iowa State offense that takes the field this Saturday is the same group that posted 44 points in the win over Iowa earlier this year. However outside of that win, the Cyclones offense has been mediocre at best. QB Steele Jantz continues to struggle throwing the football. Jantz has completed 57.5% passing for 666 yards with 6 scores and 6 picks on the season. Senior WR Darius Reynolds has really stepped up in the passing game catching 13 passes for 230 yards and 4 scores. Reynolds is a guy the Cyclones like to target close to the goal line. Still, the problem overall has been inconsistency with Jantz behind center. The 6 interceptions have come in just 3 games and those turnovers are bound to catch up with the offense if they continue.
In fact, the Cyclones currently rank dead last in turnover margin at -1.67 giveaways per game. That statistic is rather surprising for a team that is 3-0 because turnovers normally lead to losses. Instead, Iowa State will look to improve going forward. Remember this is the same Iowa State team that upset the Longhorns in Austin last season. This year Iowa State looks for a repeat performance in their own backyard.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Texas is undeniably the better team here, but Iowa State has had extra time to get a game plan ready to thwart the Longhorns. I think they make a few big plays to somehow make a cover here despite Texas controlling the majority of the game. Bet Iowa State at +10.
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