Opponents to Watch: Iowa State

Christina Huang, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the November 5 Double Coverage flipbook.

Like the Longhorns, Iowa State is also coming off a disappointing loss in Week 9, but that doesn’t mean the Cyclones aren’t ready to go to war Saturday. Texas needs to be on the lookout for four Iowa State Cyclones that pose a threat to a Texas win.

Brock Purdy

Although “Brocktober” came to an end with an Iowa State loss, senior quarterback Brock Purdy has had an impressive month of play regardless. Purdy ended October with a 76.6% completion rate and zero interceptions. The Gilbert, Arizona, product’s most impressive performance last month came on Oct. 23 when Purdy and the Cyclones gave Oklahoma State its first loss of the season. Purdy is 14–1 as the Cyclones’ starting quarterback in Big 12 games at home, meaning the numbers are not on Texas’ side, to say the least. Even though “Brocktober” is over, Texas must find a way to shut down Purdy in order to put an end to a three-game losing streak.

Breece Hall

Junior running back Breece Hall continues to be a threat on the field. Hall led the nation in rushing yards during the 2020 FBS season and has continued his dominant running performances this year. He currently leads the Big 12 in rushing yards (123.1) and rushing touchdowns (12). Hall also has five 100-yard rushing games this season with a career high 197 yards against Kansas State. Despite the Cyclones’ loss to West Virginia, Hall was off to a rapid start in the first quarter and could rattle the Texas defense Saturday if he carries a similar energy from his 197-yard performance. Hall is another factor in Iowa State’s aggressive offense, and opposing defenses must shut down the Cyclones’ running game as soon as possible. The Texas defense has struggled greatly this season, and Hall will be yet another tough challenge for the Longhorns to contain Saturday.

Charlie Kolar

Tight end Charlie Kolar makes his starting quarterback’s life just a little bit easier. Kolar is arguably Iowa State’s most decorated tight end in school history, holding the school’s records for most career receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches by a tight end. Kolar was recently named as one of eight semifinalists for the John Mackey Award, an annual honor given to the nation’s best collegiate tight end. The key to reducing Kolar’s impact in Saturday’s game is to prevent him from connecting with Purdy. However, the senior tight end can be difficult to stop due to his large size and swift movement. Kolar is another major piece in the Cyclones’ offense that the Texas defense must be able to contain if the Longhorns want to prevent themselves from being beaten in the air.

Xavier Hutchinson

Purdy has found a consistent connection in wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson. A transfer from Blinn College, Hutchinson was named 2020’s Big 12 Newcomer of the Year with 771 yards on the season. Hutchinson currently has the most receptions in the Big 12 with 52 for 590 yards and five touchdowns. The senior has also shown an ability to keep a leveled head in frustrating situations. Last week, Big 12 referees called on Hutchinson for supposedly taunting an Oklahoma State safety on a Cyclone touchdown. While the penalty was frustrating for the Cyclones, Hutchinson caught a touchdown pass just two plays later. His abilities to be a reliable target for Purdy and maintain mental collectedness could be a threat to a Texas team riddled by mental blocks.