Shane Buechele passed for 296 yards and two touchdowns and Texas got coach Charlie Strong a desperately-needed win, snapping a three-game losing streak with a win over Iowa State 27-6 Saturday night.
Buechele threw scoring strikes of 37 yards to Jerrod Heard and 75 yards to Devin Duvernay in the third quarter as the Longhorns’ high-powered offense overcame a sluggish start.
Texas (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) hadn’t played at home in a month and the losing streak fueled intense speculation that Strong’s job is on the line in his third season. He has two seasons left on a five-year contract that pays him more than $5 million per season. The win also snapped a 14-game losing streak when Texas trailed at halftime.
“Coach Strong would tell you right now don’t go play for him, but we do,” Heard said.
Texas played its best defensive game of the season. Strong took over defensive play-calling two weeks ago and the Longhorns responded with eight sacks against Iowa State, containing a Cyclones offense that was averaging 39 points over the previous three games.
“The difference was we believed in ourselves and made plays. Had fun,” defensive end Breckyn Hager said.
D’Onta Foreman rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown for Texas, his seventh game in a row with at least 100 yards.
Joel Lanning passed for 140 yards for Iowa State (1-6, 0-4).
Iowa State: The Cyclones’ collapse came early this week. Iowa State lost upset bids with fourth-quarter meltdowns the previous two weeks, but were undone this week by the Longhorns big-strike touchdowns in the third.
“They wore us out,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “We did a really good job against the run in the first half. Their adjustment was to go to the passing game.”
Texas: A big sigh of relief for Strong. The defense showed its biggest improvement since Strong took over the play calling with a devastating pass rush, and the offense woke up in the second half. It’s arguably Strong’s biggest win because he simply couldn’t afford to lose.
“Our defense, they finally stepped up,” Strong said. “The whole team. I said, ‘Challenge yourself. If you think you are a good football team, go perform.’ ”
ISU—FG Netten 39, 3:59
ISU—FG Netten 25, :35
TEX—FG Domingue 21, :15
TEX—Heard 37 pass from Buechele (Domingue kick), 12:53
TEX—De.Duvernay 75 pass from Buechele (Domingue kick), 7:13
TEX—D.Foreman 18 run (Domingue kick), :53
TEX—FG Domingue 29, 4:54
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Iowa St., M.Warren 18-60, Montgomery 5-22, Lanning 14-12, Park 5-(minus 5). Texas, D.Foreman 30-136, Porter 7-37, Buechele 5-33, Swoopes 4-5, (Team) 1-(minus 2).
PASSING—Iowa St., Park 7-13-0-42, Lanning 13-22-0-149. Texas, Buechele 26-38-1-296.
RECEIVING—Iowa St., Al.Lazard 7-65, D.Jones 5-87, Montgomery 3-18, Daley 2-3, Murdock 1-14, Butler 1-3, M.Warren 1-1. Texas, Leonard 5-47, De.Duvernay 4-96, Joe 3-25, A.Foreman 3-23, Oliver 3-21, Heard 2-45, C.Johnson 2-21, Warrick 2-7, Porter 1-8, D.Foreman 1-3.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Iowa St., Netten 50.