Are you a fan of ragged, crappy football? Poor officiating on the field and equally bad calls from the booth of ESPN? Awful quarterback play and bad hair from at least one of said quarterbacks?
Ames-like things happening?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the preceding questions, then the Texas Longhorns against the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames on Thursday was a fantastic game for you to watch in the 17-7 victory for the ‘Horns.
ESPN play caller Steve Levy sarcastically called it a “workmanlike performance” in the immediate aftermath.
For any normal football-watching human, it was distressingly awful, especially for downtrodden ‘Horns fans desperately wishing for an end to the seemingly endless quarterback controversy.
Texas averaged 2.8 yards per carry on the ground and sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele returned from a bruised throwing shoulder to average 6.6 yards per attempt in throwing a touchdown and an interception.
There was no demonstrable ability to throw the ball down the field and Buechele once again got banged up, taking big hits to the head and right shoulder in the game. But the moxie! The derpitude!
Case McCoy lives, y’all.
Fortunately, the Longhorns defense looked completely different than it did in the opener against the Terrapins, with defensive coordinator Todd Orlando dialing up effective pressures early. As a result, Iowa State quarterback Jacob Park, owner of perhaps the worst hair in college football, was confused by the coverages and his footwork thrown off from constantly having defenders in his face.
I mean, what is happening here?
business in the front, unmitigated horror in the back pic.twitter.com/0HmtFv7JPc— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) September 9, 2017
Regardless of the explanation from whatever barber allowed Park to commit that monstrous act upon his head, the fact that the ‘Clones quarterback threw two interceptions in the first half was hardly surprising watching it unfold.
He threw another one in the second half.
The Texas secondary spent most of that time in the right spot as rising juniors DeShon Elliott and Kris Boyd both secured interceptions and Park went 13-of-26 passing and averaged only four yards per attempt. Elliott secured another in the second half to boost his total to four on the season and four in the last two games.
Iowa State running back David Montgomery, arguably the second best player for the home team offensively, was successful in averaging 5.2 yards per carry in the first half, but only received six. In that regard, Orlando was likely happy with the play calling by the Cyclones, which afford his defense a chance to tee off on the shaky quarterback.
In the second half, things didn’t improve for the Cyclones, as the Longhorns gave up only 256 yards total and seven points against a short field following a shank by punter Michael Dickson. The Australian was otherwise excellent on the evening, as was the Texas defense.
Todd Orlando has this unit playing excellent football. So at least Texas has something going for it.
After all, Iowa State entered the game averaging 460 yards and 41.3 points per game, the latter of which ranked tied for No. 16 nationally.
Offensively, Texas got some good play early from freshman right tackle Derek Kerstetter, who surprisingly got the start over sophomore Denzel Okafor in losing his redshirt. Moving freshman tight end Cade Brewer into the backfield as an H-back also appeared to benefit the blocking.
Early on, a silly Iowa State personal foul penalty after seemingly forcing Texas off the field gave the ‘Horns new life and led to a strong drive from the blockers and junior running back Chris Warren III. Despite suffering from an eye laceration, Warren rumbled 11 yards for the opening touchdown.
And with that, head coach Tom Herman’s team broke a streak of more than 1,400 days without a touchdown in Ames.
Warren was noticeably absent for much of the half in favor of sophomore Kyle Porter, who started and was as ineffective as he’s been for the first 14 quarters of the season. Porter notched 16 yards on eight carries, with a long of three yards.
The older player did make a big mistake in attempting a pitch to senior wide receiver Armanti Foreman on a reverse in the first half, but that decision was as much on offensive coordinator Tim Beck as it was on Warren.
Texas had been running the ball relatively effectively early and none of them were on outside zone plays like Beck showed with the attempted reverse.
Iowa State recovered to end the threat.
In returning from injury, Buechele was solid for Texas, at least in the first half, hitting on 10-of-13 passes for 108 yards and a pretty touchdown throw to freshman running back Toneil Carter. On that play, Beck deserves credit, as he got the speedy running back matched up against former Iowa State quarterback Joel Lanning, who is now playing linebacker:
Carter absolutely torched former QB Joel Lanning on this play. He's been heavily involved tonight. pic.twitter.com/6dZZcX2mm6— Ezra Siegel (@SiegelEzra) September 29, 2017
The throw from Buechele was equally impressive, as he stood tall under pressure to deliver a point-perfect pass. Though perhaps he never even saw the blitzer.
Buechele also provided some help in the running game in the firstl half as the Longhorns went 7-of-11 on third down, gaining 22 yards on six carries, including one for 11 yards. He finished with the longest run of the game and nearly led the team in carries and yards gained.
In the second half, especially the third quarter, the offense was a mess, with the running game and passing games stalling.
Herman and much-criticized offensive coordinator Tim Beck avoided an outright quarterback controversy by keeping freshman Sam Ehlinger off the field following his near victory on the road against USC. Still, that won’t stop the questions after Buechele was largely ineffective in the second half.
In positive news, the ‘Horns actually won heading into a brutal three-game stretch against the Wildcats, Sooners, and Cowboys.
And kicker Josh Rowland hit a key 49-yard field goal that literally no one expected except perhaps his mother.
So, there’s that.
Celebrate the derpitude.
There’s still nothing else for Texas football at this point besides the growth of the defense.