Keeping up with the Longhorns: Here’s what you need to know about Texas football before Saturday’s game against Iowa State

Nathan Han, Sports reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the November 5 flipbook. 

Even after three straight losses and a middling 4–4 record, there’s no shortage of news when it comes to Texas football. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. 

So without further ado, here’s five things to know headed into Saturday’s game in Ames, Iowa, against the Cyclones.

Joshua Moore’s future

Junior wide receiver Joshua Moore had a heated argument with head coach Steve Sarkisian after Wednesday’s practice, according to reports from Orangebloods and 247Sports.

Sarkisian addressed the situation in a Thursday teleconference. The head coach said Moore is available for Saturday’s game against Iowa State, despite reports that said his status would be questionable but did not clarify any further. 

“I think sometimes people get this misconception that because I’m a player’s coach that we don’t coach hard,” Sarkisian said. “We have a very demanding staff. We coach hard. We believe in discipline. We believe in doing things the right way. And when things aren’t going that way, we coach our guys.”

The junior pass catcher struggled against Baylor. Three mistakes, including a dropped touchdown pass, fumble and a pass going through his fingers for an interception, proved to be the difference in the loss.

Getting Bijan going

Another key contributor to the Texas offense, Bijan Robinson was shut down in the loss to Baylor, only totaling 43 yards on 17 carries. 

The Bears made it their gameplan to shut down the talented sophomore running back, stacking the box and daring the Longhorns to throw. Oklahoma State also focused on stopping Robinson in the Cowboys’ win over Texas.

“With all that being said, we still got to find a way to get Bijan the ball, get him the ball in space and create space for him in the run game,” Sarkisian said. 

Monkey-ing around

On Monday, allegations surfaced that a monkey belonging to the girlfriend of Texas’ special teams coordinator Jeff Banks hurt a child on Halloween.

The bizarre situation immediately went viral on social media, but Sarkisian pointedly declined to comment on the monkey business when asked whether the allegations were a distraction.

“No, not a distraction at all,” Sarkisian said. “That’s a personal matter. And I don’t discuss our coaches’ personal matters.”

Everybody takes their Ls

Freshman wide receiver Xavier Worthy isn’t much of a loser. The California product only lost one game in high school.

But despite Worthy’s best efforts, including a 63-yard touchdown, Texas has lost three straight.

“It’s kind of big on me,” Worthy said Tuesday. “But this is a learning experience. Everybody’s got to take their Ls. … So I’ll just build off of it for next year.”

With seven touchdowns in 33 catches and 657 yards, he’s still on pace to break several records as a true freshman, only 153 receiving yards and two touchdowns away from topping Roy Williams’ records as a freshman.

Iowa State Presents Challenge for Pass Protection

Missed holding calls aside, the Texas offensive line improved in pass protection against Baylor. But the Longhorns will face yet another strong defensive line against the Cyclones.

“(Iowa State)’s got a couple of really good pass rushers,” Sarkisian said. “When you get behind the chains and you play third-and-long football, … they create the one-on-one matchups for their pass rushers to go attack the quarterback.”

The play of the two Texas tackles, junior left tackle Christian Jones and Derek Kerstetter, super senior right tackle, could be the deciding factor Saturday if the Cyclones follow the blueprint against Texas and focus on stopping the run over the pass.