Stakes high for Iowa State against Longhorns
Cyclones would be in decent shape for Big 12 title game with win in Austin
How’s that for overheated hype? So let’s tone it down and simply say the Cyclones’ game at Texas Saturday is their most-meaningful game in our lifetimes to this point?
Still dialed too high? Well, tell me the last time Iowa State (5-2 in the Big 12) won six conference games in a season. (Never.) Tell me the last time ISU reached the Big 12’s title game. (Never.)
Beat Texas in Austin, and the Cyclones will have a chance — a chance — to play in the Big 12 championship game in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 1. If, that is, they go on to beat Kansas State in Ames the following Saturday.
That we’re this deep into a block of text in November detailing what ISU needs to do to play in its conference’s title game tells you how things have changed near the banks of the sweetly flowing South Skunk River in Story County.
Iowa State has a 5-game winning streak, folks. That’s five Big 12 teams knocked down in succession, and by an average of 13.8 points. Included was a 30-14 win over West Virginia.
Unless it loses Saturday afternoon at Oklahoma State, that West Virginia team will suddenly become ISU’s Public Enemy No. 1 should the Cyclones happen to beat the Longhorns Saturday. The situation:
The top two teams in the Big 12’s regular-season advance to the league’s championship contest. Oklahoma and West Virginia are tied for first at 6-1. Iowa State and Texas are 5-2. After playing at Oklahoma State (tough), the Mountaineers host Oklahoma on Black Friday (tougher). The Sooners won’t lack motivation, since they’re trying to return to the College Football Playoff.
If ISU and West Virginia tie for second at 7-2 and Oklahoma is 8-1, the Cyclones go to Greater Dallas to play the Sooners for the league crown because they beat West Virginia. If the Mountaineers go 8-1 and Oklahoma is 7-2 with ISU, the Sooners have the tiebreaker by virtue of their 37-27 win at Ames back on Sept. 15.
First things first. Can Iowa State win at Texas?
Sure, as long as the Cyclones’ defense is its normally imposing self instead of the one that allowed 505 yards in ISU’s 28-14 win over surly Baylor Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.
Texas has a problem. It’s called defense. It has allowed 1,675 yards and 111 points over its last three games, a 38-35 loss at Oklahoma State, a 42-41 home defeat to West Virginia, and a 41-34 win at Texas Tech.
The Longhorns may be running on the fumes of fumes after that stretch. West Virginia scored a touchdown with 33 seconds left and then hit on a two-point conversion to beat the Horns. Texas blew all of a 34-17 lead in the fourth quarter at Texas Tech, then scored with 22 seconds left for the win.
Nonetheless, this thing in Austin Saturday will be hard for the Cyclones. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is first-rate. His offense got the ball at the Texas 25 Saturday with 1:45 left after Texas Tech tied the game. Ehlinger made plays with his feet and arm, topped by the game-winning, 29-yard TD throw to Lil’Jordan Humphrey.
Ehlinger has 16 touchdown passes and hasn’t thrown an interception since the season’s first game.
But Iowa State is pretty good, too. It leads the Big 12 in scoring defense, rushing defense, passing efficiency defense and total defense. Oh, and red zone defense. Ten times this season, opponents have gotten inside the ISU 20 only to get blanked.
The Cyclones’ quarterback, freshman Brock Purdy, has yet to experience losing as a starter and has 12 TD passes to just two picks.
Nemanja Vidic lays out Manchester United ambitions after Man City game
Manchester United were defeated by neighbours Man City on Sunday, leading former defender Nemanja Vidic to make a surprising claim
Nemanja Vidic says Manchester United are not performing at a level that the club has come to expect, and laid out his future ambitions to become manager at Old Trafford.
Former United defender Vidic was speaking after the 3-1 derby defeat to Manchester City on Sunday, and was discussing the management of Jose Mourinho.
Only this week, Vidic had defended the Portuguese manager, saying he had been more positive in recent games with his team selections.
But following defeat at the Etihad, Vidic admitted United were not reaching the standard set by Sir Alex Ferguson.
He told BeIN Sports: "If you’re speaking about the Sir Alex Ferguson era and comparing now the last three, four years, definitely Manchester United is not on the level fans [are] expecting.
Then, Vidic admitted he would like Mourinho's job in the future.
"To be honest, in the future, I would like to be the manager," he said.
Vidic won five Premier League titles, one Champions League and three League Cups during his time at United, and is highly regarded by fans. He also won the Premier League Player of the Season award twice - in 2008/09 and 2010/11.
Vidic has previously said: "As a player, as someone who played for the club, you want to see them much closer (to the title).
"Manchester United in their history always played attacking, attractive football. I think in the last few games what I like about Manchester United is they've started to be more positive with (Jose) Mourinho's team selection."