… If sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes plays as he did against Oklahoma — how he played in the fourth quarterback to be specific. Despite throwing a pick-six in the Red River Showdown, Swoopes played a tremendous game. He amassed 384 total yards against the Sooners – 334 passing yards and 50 rushing yards. Swoopes would have boosted his rushing numbers with a 73-yard run, but it was called back due to a holding penalty. He eventually found the end zone with two passing touchdowns — both to senior receiver John Harris — and one rushing touchdown. If Swoopes can repeat such a performance, the Longhorns will be able to beat the Cylcones with ease.
… If the running game continues to improve. With its makeshift offensive line, Texas struggled to run the ball earlier in the season, but the running game is slowly starting to make a bigger impact. Against Oklahoma, the Longhorns rushed for 148 yards – 78 yards from senior running back Malcolm Brown, 50 from Swoopes and 20 from junior running back Johnathan Gray. With the way offensive coordinator Shawn Watson wants to play, the success of the run game allows Texas to hold on to the ball and prevent high-flying offenses from gaining possession. Along with taking time off the clock, the run sets up the passing game. If the Longhorns can get the running game started they’ll take down the Cyclones.
… If the offensive line continues to progress. The Texas offensive line has had its fair share of issues this season, but it’s weathered the storm and looks to be playing better each week. If the offensive line opens up holes for the running backs and makes time for Swoopes to throw the ball, the Longhorns will beat Iowa State.
… If the defense plays four quarters. The Longhorns’ defense has dominated in the first half of games but has struggled in second halves. If Texas can get four quarters of great play from the defense, it will find itself with another notch in the win column after Saturday’s game.
… If the offense sputters. If Swoopes struggles Saturday and the running game doesn’t get going, it will be a long night against the Cyclones.
… If the special teams woes continue. Texas has struggled mightily with its special teams this year. Against Oklahoma, the Longhorns essentially gave up 10 points on special teams. If Texas doesn’t have a good game from its special teams unit this week, it might be on the wrong end of an upset.
… If the defense struggles in the second half. Texas needs its defense to play at a high level if it wants to win. But if the Longhorns continue to have defensive issues in the second half, they will fall to the Cyclones.