Sunday, November 11, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Texas 33, Iowa State 7
By Carter Strickland
With a balanced offense and a defense that appears to now at least in position to make plays, Texas has become closer to the team coach Mack Brown thought it would have back in September.
"It is the team we wanted to get to," he said.
1. David Ash: The sophomore quarterback continued his hot streak and continued to prove he could throw the ball downfield. Ash started the game 13 of 14, including a 61-yard touchdown pass to Mike Davis. Ash finished with a career-high 364 yards. It was the third time this season he has thrown for 300 or more yards. Ash started the game hitting his first 11 passes and finished with just six incompletions. His previous low had been four at Ole Miss.
2. Texas offense: For the first time since 2005, Texas eclipsed the 600-yard mark in a conference game. They had 606 against Oklahoma State back in the national title season. The Longhorns had 609 against Iowa State. What bodes well for Texas is that the yardage came for a variety of different sources. Ash continued to prove that Kansas was just a hiccup as he threw for 364. That he threw to multiple receivers -- Davis and Jaxon Shipley both went for more than 100 yards -- and employed the tight ends -- Greg Daniels started the game with a 47-yard reception and Barrett Matthews had a touchdown reception showed Texas is able to spread the ball around to different weapons. The ground game showed new life between the tackles as well with Joe Bergeron averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
3. Jaxon Shipley: The sophomore wide receiver has been in the shadows since his three-touchdown performance at Oklahoma State. But he proved his value with several big possession catches against Iowa State to keep drives alive. With Shipley able to work the middle and edges of the field, it allowed Mike Davis to get one-on-one coverage down the field. Iowa State didn't have a cornerback who could hang with Davis down the field. Texas Christian doesn't either.
1. Anthony Fera: The kicker was brought in to solve the Texas kicking problems after the departure of Justin Tucker. He has only clouded the situation. Fera missed an extra point, his second PAT missed, and had a field goal blocked. The field goal's trajectory appeared to be low. Texas coaches pulled him from the game and put in Nick Jordan. The true freshman had been shaky at the start of the season missing, 3-of-7 attempts. But Jordan hit field goals of 37 and 25 against Iowa State. Now Texas is faced with questioning who it wants to use as a kicker and that could prove to be a problem down the stretch.
2. Kick coverage: The kick coverage team used to call itself the "Wild Bunch." Chances are the coaches are not too wild about the job it has done in the past couple of game. The unit, which features many true freshmen and no starters, allowed returns of 41 and 33 yards on deep kicks. It also allowed a 20-yard return on a squib kick. When Nick Rose is not putting the ball into the end zone -- he did that 5 of 6 times at Texas Tech -- the Longhorns' defense is finding itself defending a shortened field.
3. Slow starts: Texas had issues on defense early. The Longhorns allowed 102 yards in the first quarter before figuring out the Iowa State offense. This has become a pattern for Texas against what are perceived as weaker teams. Texas allowed Kansas 14 points in the first half before shutting the Jayhawks down for three points and 75 yards in the second half. Texas' defense did come back against the Cyclones as well, limiting ISU to 175 yards in the final three quarters. The only ISU touchdown came when the defense relaxed just prior to the half.