Longhorns don’t buckle, win tight 24-21 game against Iowa State

Hunter Dworaczyk, Senior Sports Reporter

For the first time this season, No. 22 Texas came up on the right side of a tight ballgame.

Down 21-17 with less than five minutes in the game, the Longhorns faced a fourth-and-goal at the 3-yard line. Sophomore wide receiver Xavier Worthy fooled the cornerback covering him by faking an inside route and going outside, giving redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers an open receiver for what wound up as the game-winning score.

Worthy said he knew he was going to be open since he works on that move, which he called a b-step, often in practice.

“I try my hardest every day to be that one person (Ewers) can guarantee to throw the ball to (and) make every catch,” Worthy said.

Junior linebacker Jaylan Ford’s fumble recovery on the following Iowa State drive sealed it for Texas.

While Texas’ narrow 24-21 win might not impress many outside observers with the Longhorns favored to win by 15.5 points before the game, the victory pushes Texas’ record to 5-2 and, perhaps more importantly, gives the Longhorns a 3-1 record in Big 12 conference play. 

Although Texas ultimately ended the game with a win in the victory column, not much went right on the day for the Longhorns. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said the fact that the Longhorns managed to pull out a win despite not playing their best game is a sign of a good football team.

“We need to play better moving forward … but that doesn’t discount the grit, perseverance and the ability to overcome the adversity,” Sarkisian said. “I knew it was going to be a hard week for us. (Iowa State’s) a good football team, but we can play better.”

Texas’ offense was stagnant to begin the game, finishing the first quarter with just 27 total yards. After penalties and a few negative plays, Texas’ offensive attack looked like it lacked the energy it showed in last week’s 49-0 Red River Showdown victory over Oklahoma.

If not for an interception from Ford in the endzone, the Longhorns likely would have been down multiple scores in the second quarter.

Ultimately, Texas’ offense made just enough plays to defeat the Cyclones. Although Ewers struggled to connect with his wideouts other than Worthy, his 172 passing yards paired with over 200 combined rushing yards from junior Bijan Robinson and senior Roschon Johnson was just enough to edge the Cyclones.

“Coming off of a week like we had last week, (with) everybody telling us how good we are and whatnot, it’s sometimes hard to kind of regroup,” Ewers said. “We faced adversity and I’m glad with the way our team responded.”

In its win, Texas showed an ability to close out a tight ballgame, something the Longhorns have struggled with in recent years. While the Longhorns have given glimpses of looking like a tough football team in their wins this season, the team had not yet won a single possession game until Saturday.

Robinson said he does not think Texas would have pulled out this type of game last season.

“Last year, we would have buckled,” Robinson said. “(This year) we just understood that if we just fight through this whole game, we’re going to come out with a win.”