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NCAAF · 20 days ago

Texas Longhorns: Top 3 Takeaways From Week 12

TJ Inman

TJ Inman

Texas Longhorns: Top 3 Takeaways From Week 12

The Texas Longhorns clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game with a 26-16 win over Iowa State in Ames.

What did we learn about Texas on Saturday?

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Texas’ Run Defense Was Outstanding

The Iowa State Cyclones wanted to run the ball against Texas. They entered with a clear gameplan and a few running backs that were riding hot streaks, but they ran into a brick wall as the Longhorns’ defensive front showcased why they are the best line in the conference by a significant margin. Iowa State was held to only nine yards rushing on 21 attempts, a stunningly ineffective .4 yards per rush. Abu Sama had 11 yards on seven carries, Eli Sanders was held to ten yards on six attempts, and Cartevious Norton had only two yards on the ground. Byron Murphy, Barryn Sorrell, David Gbenda, and the rest of the Texas defense deserve much credit for earning Texas its tenth win.

Offense Was Encouraging

The Texas Longhorns faced a solid Iowa State defense, but the most interesting part of this game was how the Longhorns would perform without star running back Jonathon Brooks. Brooks ran for 1,139 yards before tearing his ACL last week and leaving the starting running back duties to CJ Baxter. Quarterback Quinn Ewers was also trying to get back into rhythm after missing a few games with a shoulder injury. The performance of the offense was mostly encouraging. Ewers was 23 for 33 for 281 yards with a pair of touchdowns, and Baxter ran for 5.9 yards per carry and 117 yards. The offensive line surrendered four sacks, and Ewers had to face some consistent pressure from the Cyclones front, but overall, Saturday was a positive outing for the Texas offense. The biggest concern exiting the game is another offensive injury as wide receiver Xavier Worthy, Ewers’ favorite target, left the game with a leg injury that prevented him from returning.

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Steve Sarkisian Clears Hurdle

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian has won ten regular-season games for the first time in his nine seasons as a head coach. He reached ten wins in a season at USC but needed the bowl game to get to that mark. Sarkisian is in his third season in Austin, and the milestone win came in a stadium where Texas had lost three of its last four games. Texas made several mistakes in the first half (a red zone fumble by Worthy and two different touchdowns called back with penalties) and led only 6-3. Iowa State offensive lineman Jarrod Hufford provoked the Longhorns earlier in the week, calling Texas “just humans that have a high ego that needs to be checked” and saying, “I don’t think they really know what’s going to be coming for them.” Texas did not just talk back; they responded with three sacks and a dominant performance against the running game, controlling Hufford and the Cyclones’ offensive line. Sarkisian has built a formidable team at Texas and deserves much credit for his progress in year three in Austin. 

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