AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas hasn’t forced a lot of turnovers this season, but they were able to at a critical time to beat Iowa State 24-21 at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
On a run by Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers, Texas defenders Anthony Cook and Jaylan Ford converged, and it was Cook’s hit that jarred the ball out just before Dekkers was down. Ford alertly dove on the loose ball with 2:06 left in the ballgame, squashing the drive for the Cyclones and allowing the Longhorns to run out the clock.
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It was Texas’ first forced fumble of the season, and they needed it.
“That’s the fight in us,” Ford said. “At first, I was just thinking to make the tackle, but Cook made a big play and my instincts just took over and I jumped on it.”
Coming into the game, Iowa State’s defense was top-10 in the country in terms of scoring defense, and while they played well, the Longhorns came through with timely plays. Texas took the lead with 4:43 left on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Worthy from Quinn Ewers out of a timeout on 4th-and-goal.
Worthy left his defender in the dust on a pivot route right at the goal line, and he hauled in the scoring pass with no one around him.
“Iowa State was really good at disguising their coverage, so it was kind of tricky to figure out and we started getting comfortable,” Worthy said. “Last year, we would have went in the tank, but this year I feel like we knew we would come back and do what we do.”
Worthy finished with eight catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns. He caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to tie the game. Jordan Whittington caught the other touchdown through the air to give the Longhorns a 14-7 lead just before halftime.
The Cyclones had a golden opportunity after converting a 4th down with around three minutes left in the game. Dekkers lobbed a ball to a wide-open Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State’s best receiver, and Hutchinson laid out in an attempt to catch it. It looked like he hauled in the pass, but when he hit the ground, the ball squirted out and ended up being an incompletion.
About 35 seconds later, the Longhorns forced the game-changing fumble. Iowa State had two timeouts left and Texas needed to get a first down to ice the game. On 3rd-and-1 with 1:49 left, Johnson muscled his way to a 3-yard gain after being hit behind the line to gain. Iowa State couldn’t stop the clock after that, and the Longhorns went into their victory formation.
“This was a gritty, good team win,” Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We certainly didn’t play our best, but we played hard and tough and found a way to win.”
Ewers ended 17 of 26 passing for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Bijan Robinson rushed for 135 yards on 28 carries and Johnson ran for 71 yards on 11 carries. He’s the first 100-yard rusher Iowa State has allowed this season.
Ford had a tremendous game defensively with the fumble recovery, and an interception in the end zone to stop a Cyclones drive in the first half, to go with a team-high eight tackles.
Dekkers had a nice game for the Cyclones. He threw for 329 yards on 25 of 36 passing with two touchdowns and an interception. Hutchinson had 10 catches for 154 yards and Jaylin Noel caught both TD passes to end with 94 yards on six catches.
Texas held Iowa State to 74 rushing yards and had 191 yards on the ground of their own.
Texas (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) goes to Stillwater to take on No. 8 Oklahoma State at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 22. Iowa State (3-4, 0-4 Big 12) has a bye next week and plays Oklahoma on Oct. 29.
FINAL: Longhorns 24, Cyclones 21. A late turnover lifts the Horns past the Cyclones
1:49 4Q: Roschon Johnson powers his way to a 1st down on 3rd-and-1. Iowa State doesn’t have any time outs, so this one is just about over.
2:06 4Q: Iowa State tries a QB run with Dekkers and he gets hammered by 2 Texas defenders … AND THE BALL IS OUT … Jaylan Ford jumps on it. Texas ball on their own 28. Anthony Cook forced the fumble.
2:53 4Q: Iowa State converts a 4th-and-2 with a 15-yard pass to Hutchinson, but then on 1st down, he dives for a pass wide open down the field and drops it. Wow.
4:43 4Q: Touchdown Texas. Xavier Worthy loses his defender on a crisp pivot route and Ewers hits him for a 3-yard score. PAT good. 11 plays, 75 yards, 6:15. Longhorns 24, Cyclones 21
4:47 4Q: Texas offensive line gets no push at all on 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Robinson loses two yards and now it’s 4th-and-goal from the 3. Texas calls a timeout, presumably to come up with a 4th down play
10:58 4Q: Touchdown Iowa State – Dekkers scrambles up the middle as the defense parts and scores from 11 yards out. PAT good. Cyclones 21, Longhorns 17
11:59 3Q: Iowa State converts on 3rd-and-13 with a 21-yard pass to Hutchinson down to the Texas 13. That makes Iowa State 7-for-12 on 3rd down.
End 3Q: Longhorns 17, Cyclones 14. Iowa State’s big play gets them within a field goal. Cyclones have it 1st and 10 on their own 47.
1:45 3Q: That Texas drive went south very fast. Casey Cain dropped a pass that would have been a huge gain, and then Ewers fires it high on 3rd down. Cyclones take over on their own 27 after the punt.
4:27 3Q: Touchdown Iowa State – Cyclones get an explosive play and score on a 54-yard pass from Dekkers to Noel. PAT good. 2 plays, 62 yards, 0:37. Longhorns 17, Cyclones 14
7:07 3Q: Texas’ defense holds and Iowa State misses a 46-yard field goal attempt. Longhorns take over on their own 28
10:07 3Q: Field goal Texas– The drive stalls in the red zone, but Auburn nails a 31-yard field goal to get points on the first drive of the 2nd half. 13 plays, 75 yards, 4:43. Longhorns 17, Cyclones 7
14:50 3Q: A great kick return by Keilan Robinson to open the 2nd half gets wiped out by a holding penalty. Horns start the drive on their own 12.
Halftime: Longhorns 14, Cyclones 7. Iowa State’s defense definitely gave the Longhorns problems in the first half, but the late touchdown and the Horns getting the ball back to start the second half could be a big swing.
0:13 2Q: Touchdown Texas – Ewers finds Jordan Whittington for a 5-yard score. PAT good. 9 plays, 80 yards, 3:28. Longhorns 14, Cyclones 7
0:26 2Q: A laser from Ewers deep over the middle to Robinson. It’s a gain of 26 down to the ISU 5. Cyclones use their last timeout of the half.
3:31 2Q: Bijan Robinson breaks off his longest run of the game for 25 yards. He now has 52 rushing yards on 9 carries.
5:48 2Q: Touchdown Texas – Ewers places the pass perfectly to Xavier Worthy in the corner of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. PAT good. 9 plays, 80 yards, 3:20. Finally, a touchdown. Cyclones 7, Longhorns 7
8:17 2Q: Ewers fires a pass on 3rd-and-8 to JT Sanders for 13 yards, and then ISU gets hit with a roughing the passer penalty. Horns have it at midfield
9:08 2Q: On 3rd-and-6 from the 7-yard line, Dekkers throws an interception to Jaylan Ford in the end zone. Maybe that’s the play the Horns need to get things going. Texas takes over on the 20
11:27 2Q: Texas appeared to have stopped Iowa State on 3rd down, but D’Shawn Jamison was lined up in the neutral zone, officials say. Penalty yardage results in the 1st down for Iowa State on the Texas 18.
13:00 2Q: Texas DB Ryan Watts injured on the field. He took a big hit on his shoulder making that tackle. Medical staff out having a look at it
13:36 2Q: Ewers throws incomplete on 4th and 3 from the ISU 41, Longhorns turn it over. He had Casey Cain open, but threw it to the outside when Cain went to the inside.
End 1Q: Cyclones 7, Longhorns 0. Texas with the ball 2nd and 16 on their own 46 after a 6-yard loss on a pass to Bijan Robinson. Texas with 27 yards of offense in 1Q.
0:57 1Q: Touchdown Iowa State – Dekkers hits Jaylin Noel on a slant for a 5-yard TD. PAT good. 11 plays, 84 yards, 5:28. Cyclones 7, Longhorns 0
2:44 1Q: Horns jump offside on 3rd-and-1, Cyclones get a new set of downs on the Texas 5-yard line. This season, Texas has allowed a red zone score about 79% of the time, which is top-50 in the country
3:53 1Q: Cyclones convert a 3rd-and-9 with an 11-yard pass to Dimitri Stanley. That’s their 1st conversion on 3rd down today
6:25 1Q: The first two drives by Texas haven’t been good. Ewers completed a couple of passes, but then tried to throw a screen pass away and threw it backward. Needless to say, Texas had to punt again and Iowa State takes over on its own 16. Teams have combined for 25 total yards on first two drives.
9:41 1Q: Iowa State lines up to go for it, but perhaps was just trying to coax the Longhorns into an offsides penalty. Horns didn’t bite and Cyclones take a delay penalty, then punt. UT takes over on its own 41
11:35 1Q: And the Longhorns can’t do anything with the blocked punt. Bert Auburn misses from 39 yards and the big play on special teams is wasted. Ouch. Cyclones take over on their one 21. Brutal.
12:38 1Q: Texas’ Keilan Robinson blocks the Iowa State punt and the ball squirts around and finally someone falls on it. Longhorns take over on the ISU 21-yard line
15:00 1Q: Texas wins the coin toss and will defer its choice to the second half. Iowa State will receive the opening kick.