AMES, Ia. — The Longhorns took their battle in Ames personal last Saturday, after a Cyclone player called them out on social media earlier in the week.
Texas was able to defeat Iowa State 26-16, which snapped a two-game losing streak at Jack Trice Stadium, and silenced the rowdy crowd of 61,500. Quarterback Quinn Ewers loved every minute of it, as the No. 7 Longhorns were impressive in all three phases of the game, and dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
The contest was close through the first half though. Texas was held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season, but led by three at halftime. Coach Steve Sarkisian made the necessary adjustments in the third quarter, and that’s when the Longhorns started to pull away. At that point Ewers realized the Cyclones poked at the Bear, and they had to make them eat their words for that disrespectful tweet.
“It was pretty weird honestly for us to see that, but we were going to sit back and let our pads do the talking,” Ewers said. “We definitely brought some light to their darkness.”
Once the smoke cleared, Texas led Iowa State in plays, total offense, first downs and time of possession. Ewers put together a solid performance too. The gunslinger completed 23 of his 33 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown toss was to wideout Jordan Whittington midway through the third quarter. Ewers connected with tight end Gunnar Helm for a 31-yard score in the fourth quarter, which gave Texas a 14-point lead.
It was clear Ewers and his teammates smelled blood in the water. The Cyclone fans egged Ewers on with their horns down hand gestures while he was behind center. Which is why the Longhorns refused to take their foot off the brakes. Kicker Bert Auburn put the cherry on top with his third field goal of the game, which sealed the double-digit victory as Ewers and the rest of the team celebrated.
“Coming into it we said we want to take the breath out of the stadium, and we want everybody to hear us in the locker room afterwards,” he said. “Now everybody is quiet, so nothing is better, especially getting these double-digit wins.”
Texas (10-1) still sits atop the Big 12 standings, but Ewers understands there’s more work to be done. Sarkisian has everything trending up in year three, and Ewers feels the best is yet to come for the program.
“I think the way we have turned this culture around, and this program around football-wise, it’s pretty cool to see,” the 20-year old said. “Just the way all of us have really brought in to what our coaches are saying, how to win games, and just doing everything they tell us to do, it ends up working, so that’s going to make us respect our coaches even more.”
Texas will wrap up its’ farewell Big 12 tour with a battle on Friday against Texas Tech. It’s going to be Senior Day in Austin, and everyone is going to be emotional. The Longhorns will have another intense week of practice leading up to the matchup, and no margin for error. Oregon is still ahead of Texas in the Playoff rankings, and Alabama is right behind.
There’s no denying the urgency is there for Ewers and his teammates, but they’re remaining hungry and humble. For now the Longhorns are going to ride their big wave of momentum, and navigate through the rest of the Big 12 slate.
“We’re going to continue to work each week, and focus one day at a time, and win each and everyday, just like we’ve done since week one.”