No. 7 Longhorns harbor College Football Playoff hopes heading into visit to Iowa State
Seventh-ranked Texas can continue its trek toward the Big 12 championship game and keep alive its College Football Playoff hopes when it visits Iowa State on Saturday night
No. 7 Texas (9-1, 6-1 Big 12, No. 7 CFP) at Iowa State (6-4, 5-2), Saturday, 8 p.m. EST (Fox)
Line: Texas by 7 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Texas leads 15-5.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Longhorns have the inside track to the Big 12 championship game and, as long as they keep winning, could land a spot in the College Football Playoff if things break right for them. There are still scenarios for the Cyclones to reach the conference title game, but they will have to upset Texas and Kansas State next week and get some help.
An Iowa State secondary that creates turnovers against a fast and good hands Texas receiving corps. Longhorn receivers Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders are matchup problems for any defense. Texas QB Quinn Ewers is still getting healthy after a shoulder sprain and any throws off the mark could be easy pickings for the Cyclones. Iowa State has 15 interceptions.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Texas: Freshman RB CJ Baxter was the highly-touted recruit who was the heir apparent to the departed All-American Bijan Robinson. Baxter won the starting job over Jonathon Brooks in training camp was the No. 1 tailback for the first two games. But rib and foot injuries sidelined him and Brooks burst on the scene nationally with 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns. But Brooks is now out of the season with a knee injury, opening the door for Baxter’s return as the go-to guy.
Iowa State: QB Rocco Becht will be facing his highest-ranked opponent and with his team's slim hopes for a Big 12 title game appearance hanging in the balance. He's mostly been a steady performer, having thrown a touchdown in nine of his 10 starts, but probably will need to play his best game if the Cyclones are going to have a chance.
FACTS & FIGURES
Texas has not allowed a sack in the last two games. ... Texas K Bert Auburn has made 11 consecutive field goals and is 20 of 25 on the season. ... Texas has held opponents under 100 yards rushing each of the last four games. Texas' 9-1 start is its best since 2009. ... Iowa State goes into the game in a four-way tie for second place in the Big 12. ... Cyclones are bowl eligible for the sixth time in eight years under Matt Campbell. ... ISU has won last two meetings in Ames.
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