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College Football: Cyclones square off with Horns in Thursday night showdown

Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan

Texas at Iowa State  7:00 PM CT  ESPN 

The Cyclones take the field at Jack Trice Stadium on Thursday night following a bye week. Iowa State, which hasn’t started a season 3-1 since 2012, will face off against a familiar face in first-year Texas head coach Tom Herman. Herman was the offensive coordinator in Ames from 2009-2011 and helped lead the Cyclones to two bowl games.

Texas (1-2, 0-0 Big 12) heads to Ames following a bye week as well. The Longhorns were less than a minute away from knocking off then-No. 4 USC, but eventually fell in double overtime at the Los Angeles Coliseum 27-24. Quarterback Shane Buechele should be available after missing the last two games with a bruise on his throwing shoulder, but he may be in a battle for his job with freshman Sam Ehlinger. There is no word on who’ll be staring on Thursday night. Whether it’s Buechele or Ehlinger, they’ll hope to find success against an Iowa State secondary that’s giving up 295 passing yards per game (119th in nation).

On the other side, Iowa State (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) is looking to start its Big 12 campaign out on the right foot with arguably one of its most talented teams in quite some time. Quarterback Jacob Park has looked solid thus far, as he’s completed 66.7 percent of his passes and thrown for 935 yards with eight touchdowns. With weapons in both the pass and run game, the Cyclones are nearly perfect in the red zone (13-of-14) this season. Sophomore running back David Montgomery is averaging over 100-yards rushing per game, while sophomore Hakeem Butler has racked up 234 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Iowa State’s offense facing off against an experienced Texas defense, which looked tough against USC two weeks ago, will be the matchup to watch in this game.

The Longhorn defense has held opponents to 13.5 points per game the past two games and have recorded one pick six per game this season, meaning Iowa State’s offense is going to have to be on alert regarding the turnover battle. The Cyclones have not faired well when losing the turnover battle under Matt Campbell by going 0-8. In what should be a good atmosphere at Jack Trice Stadium on Thursday night, expect a close contest with Iowa State finally getting that first signature win under Campbell. It would be the Cyclones second straight home win against Texas, who they shutout 24-0 in 2015.

Prediction: Iowa State 31, Texas 27

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