AUSTIN, Texas — After Oklahoma State defeated West Virginia moments before kickoff at DKR, that result opened up Texas' opportunity to control its own destiny for a berth in the Big 12 title game. If the Longhorns win out, they'll qualify for the conference championship game and potentially set up a rematch with the Oklahoma Sooners.
Iowa State stood in the way first, but the Longhorns handled the test and convincingly defeated the Cyclones 24-10, taking one step closer to a conference title.
In what had the potential to be a long night for the Texas defense, that unit opened with a stop on the game’s opening drive, placing the ball in the hands of sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger. With that, the Longhorns went to work, knowing that a Big 12 title berth was on the line. The Longhorns drove 45 yards to the end zone to take a quick 7-0 lead over the Iowa State Cyclones.
Iowa State responded with a field goal before both teams traded punts.
In the second quarter, Texas grabbed its second touchdown -- as Keaontay Ingram caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Ehlinger. It was Ingram’s fifth touch on that drive, putting Texas up 14-3.
Chris Brown followed up with a huge interception keeping the momentum in Texas’ favor. However, the Longhorns couldn’t get any points out of it despite getting into the red zone.
Closing out a dominant first half of defensive play, Texas took a 17-3 lead into the locker room on the heels of a 22-yard field goal by Cameron Dicker. But shortly before that field goal, Sam Ehlinger took a hard hit on his right shoulder. Initially, he didn’t return from halftime with his team.
At that point, junior quarterback Shane Buechele took over the offense.
While Texas was without a star player in Ehlinger, Iowa State gained one. Running back David Montgomery sat out the first half serving a suspension. On the Cyclones’ opening possession in the second half, Montgomery had seven carries on a 63-yard drive that would result in a missed field goal attempt. Texas maintained the 17-3 advantage.
Buechele remained in the game for a second straight possession -- and with the help of junior wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey -- the Longhorns kept increasing the lead. Buechele connected with Humphrey, who slipped a tackle and dove into the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown and a 21-point lead.
With that catch, Humphrey became the ninth 1,000-yard receiver at Texas.
Late in the fourth quarter, Iowa State knocked on the door with first and goal from inside the ten. Montgomery would score on second-and-goal for a four-yard touchdown to chip away at the deficit.
To make things even more interesting, Texas fumbled the ball on the ensuing drive and Iowa State recovered it with 1:19 to play. But once again, the Texas defense stepped up, forcing a fumble and getting the ball back. That fumble recovery sealed it for the Longhorns.
Texas claimed a 24-10 win over the Cyclones to grab it’s eighth win this season. It’s the first eight-win season at Texas in five years.