After falling by their own errors in their previous three losses, the Longhorns showed Saturday that perhaps they finally learned how to win a close game.
Texas outlasted Iowa State 48-45 in a last-minute thriller at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium for its third Big 12 win of the season.
“More than anything, I think it’s an overall attitude,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “Just this overall attitude is going to be great [for us].”
Following a career-game against Oklahoma, sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes claimed his first come-from-behind victory as a Texas starter. Swoopes led his team on two late scoring drives that made up part of Texas' 17 points scored in the fourth quarter
“You can [tell] he’s grown up and he has to step up and make plays, and he’s going to do that,” senior wide receiver John Harris said.
Swoopes finished the game with 416 yards of total offense, including a career-best 95 yards on the ground. On the game-winning drive, he delivered a pass to senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley for 39 yards followed by 29 yards to Harris.
Junior placekicker Nick Rose, who had missed three field goals already this season, hit the game-winning field goal from 21 yards out, the first game-winning kick of his career.
The Longhorns had gone ahead 45-38 on a four-yard plunge by senior running back Malcolm Brown with 1:19 to play in the game. However, the Cyclones answered with a 75-yard scoring drive, aided by a 15-yard Texas facemask penalty to move the ball to midfield.
Texas’ offense carried the game, as the defense allowed a season-high 524 yards to an Iowa State offense ranked 113th in total offense per game.
“Tonight they weren’t on and we were,” Swoopes said. “The roles were kind of reversed, but that’s kind of what we got to do. When one team is not playing well, one team has got to pick it up and play. So that’s all we did.”
Although the Longhorns’ defense failed to produce the same strength it has seen in the past few weeks, former walk-on Dylan Haines tallied his first career touchdown on a pick-six. The Longhorns took the lead back on the 74-yard interception return touchdown by Haines.
“It was just man-to-man coverage,” Haines said of the play. “My dude motioned, and I carried him and I kind of anticipated the route. So I jumped in front of him and made a play.”
Texas allowed three first half touchdowns, including a five-yard run by Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson to tie the game up at 28-28 in the waning seconds before the break. The defense had allowed zero first half touchdowns in the team’s first six contests.