Texas Longhorns (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8PM EST
Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TEX -6.5/ISU +6.5
Over/Under Total: 63.5
In Big 12 action, the Texas Longhorns come into Ames for a Thursday matchup against the Iowa State Cyclones. Both teams are entering this week five matchup on the heels of a 12-day break. The Longhorns are just 1-2, but they may have actually boosted their stock in their last game, a 27-24 double-overtime loss to top-five team USC. They look to even their mark against Iowa State this week. The Cyclones are 2-1 coming off a one-sided beating of Akron. Texas beat the Cyclones last season in Austin, 27-6, but the Cyclones look a little better this season and should be in this game, at least for the purposes of the point spread.
The Cyclones have a little more overall pep in Matt Campbells second season at the helm as head coach. They won only three games last season and look like they will top that in 2017 and maybe even become bowl-eligible. We started to see towards the end of last season that the Cyclones became very competitive, losing by surprisingly narrow margins at home to teams like Baylor, Kansas State, and even Oklahoma, covering the spread with ease. It seems that has transferred into this season with a 2-1 record and their only loss being an overtime 44-41 loss to a good Iowa team. They are able to enter this game on a winning note after beating Akron, 41-14.
Among the reasons for hope on the Cyclones sideline is their offense. They have posted 124 points in just three games. They seem to be responding to the leadership of QB Jacob Park, a former 5-star recruit who looks to have hit his stride with the Cyclones as a junior. In three games, he has thrown for 935 yards with eight touchdowns. Park has been hitting Hakeem Butler and Allen Lazard, while also connecting with Trever Ryen and Marchie Murdock. They can spread it around well and make full use of the field, which keeps opposing defenses on their toes. Helping open up the aerial attack is a ground-game that features capable David Montgomery and Mike Warren. The line is also better from last season, with added experience and better health.
The defenses performance against Iowa wasnt very good, but theyve been otherwise pretty solid. This game will serve as another good test, one where they hope to fare better. Members of the Cyclones secondary need to be a little better, with Reggie Wilkerson, DeMonte Ruth, DeAndre Payne (questionable), and Brian Peavy having not really hit their stride quite yet. They have gotten a nice boost in the middle with converted quarterback Joel Lanning, who is thriving at MLB. Willie Harvey is also a force and both young men had a sack and a half against Akron. JD Waggoner and JaQuan Bailey bring the noise up-front with the pass-rush. And overall, some good Juco recruiting has improved their roster on this side of the ball.
Its hard to praise Texas as they enter this game at 1-2. The loss to Maryland to open the season was a setback. They came back and throttled San Jose State, before giving Southern Cal all they can handle at the LA Coliseum. They almost won it. They took the lead with 45 seconds left, as USC had no more timeouts. A stripped ball cost them, as they were poised to score a TD in double-overtime. Freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger was clutch, as were some guys around him. It was a loss, but a loss upon which upon the Longhorns can build.
It is unclear where the Longhorns will go from here at quarterback, with Shane Buechele still listed as questionable. Ehlinger seemed to pump some life into the offense. Late in the game, he made some big connections to his receivers. Among them was Armanti Foreman (questionable), who made some huge catches late. Ehlinger also brought a lot out of big receiver Collin Johnson, who picked up 191 receiving yards on the day. Look for them to make better use of their running game in this contest, led by Chris Warren, III. and Reggie Hemphill-Mapps. Expect some more growing-pains for the Texasoffense, but for the most part, they hung in there the whole time and kept pace with a high-octane USC offense.
The Texas defense entered the USC game with a lot of questions, especially after a allowing a scoring frenzy from Maryland. Against the Trojans, they were able to keep a lid on the USC offense for big stretches of the game. They did allow that final drive after the offense went ahead with a clutch late TD. That was upsetting. But the good signs were plentiful, namely how the Texas D-line held its own and sometimes got the upper hand over the USC front. Guys like Poona Ford and Charles Omenihu are a handful. The second level is packed with difference-making talent, led by Anthony Wheeler, Malik Jefferson, and Jeffrey McCulloch. The secondary made a big imprint on the game, especially with Brandon Jones, who had two picks, one of which was a pick-six.
One could expect Texas to be bolstered by the close loss to one of the best teams in the nation. Overall, they have the superior firepower on both sides of the ball. But this isnt a very easy place to play and even bad Iowa State teams can be gritty in Ames. And this isnt as bad an Iowa State as last season and beyond. I see the Texas defense having a major say in this game, but with enough Iowa State aerial antics to keep it close and get the cover.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Iowa State Cyclones plus 6.5 points. - Not all sportsbooks are created equal! Many are fly by night, poorly run and your loot is actually at risk. End that problem today by signing up at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted sportsbooks! Online for over 15 years, your credit card will work and you’ll also receive a 50% bonus up to $250 FREE at Bovada Sportsbook!