Texas at Iowa State

This year, Texas returns for its Big 12 opener with new coach Tom Herman.

IOWA STATE (2-1, 0-0): The Cyclones are a 44-41 overtime loss to Iowa away from a 3-0 start, opening the season with a 42-24 home victory over Northern Iowa and winning at Akron 41-14 on September 16.

Iowa State travels to face Oklahoma on October 7.

But to shock you have to surprise. The main takeaway is that the Longhorns' formula going forward is to win with defense.

Outside of two 15-yard penalties, the defense maintained its poise throughout the game. Plus, the last three foes have been held below the offensive numbers they were averaging coming into the game.

The Longhorns grabbed a 17-7 road win in Ames thanks to another brilliant defensive performance and just enough offense in the first half of the game. Junior quarterback Jacob Park ranks 14th in the NCAA in passing (311.7 yards) and has four 300-yard passing games in six career starts. But, the defense only allowed a TD after a shanked punt from Michael Dickson, who otherwise was terrific punting.

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Iowa State has used various forms of Cyclone marks occasionally in its history.

Texas appeared to fumble away a kickoff deep in its own territory, but the runner was ruled down on replay. The play calling also was odd.

Chris Warren III added a rushing touchdown for the Longhorns (2-2, 1-0), who improved to 13-2 against the Cyclones (2-2, 0-1). The game will be televised on ESPN.

Iowa State closed to within seven after Park found Matt Eaton for a touchdown in the third quarter.

And in Lubbock Saturday night ... The Frogs controlled the action with their running game and a defense that forced four turnovers.

Stevens was listed as probable on the injury report Thursday and coach Dave Doeren said after practice that "Mike's playing". "I thought that they had better plans, and their players executed their plans better than we did".

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That makes Texas a rather unique entity heading into the meat of Big 12 play.

Herman pointed out in his postgame chat with Anderson that Texas has had to deal with the loss of "three of our best run-blockers". The Red Raiders closed out non-conference play with a 27-24 not-as-close-as-the-score-indicates victory at Houston.

The usual suspects have been rounded up.

Texas travels to Ames, Iowa on Thursday for a weekday game against Iowa State. The Baily summersault being the first of many. Each of the last two seasons, the sieve that the Red Raiders called a defense had the top blown off for 44 plays of 30 or more yards.

Outside of those, the defense stayed composed and flew to the ball. "That's the key to our conference".

Time for some crystal ball speculating. If nothing else, the Big 12 has the potential for high entertainment value.

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