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Texas Longhorns vs. Iowa State Cyclones Point Spread - Pick

Texas Longhorns (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8PM EST
Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: TEX +6.5/ISU -6.5
Over/Under Total: 63.5

The Texas Longhorns come to Ames on Thursday for a week 5 matchup with the Iowa State Cyclones in Big 12 Conference action. Each team was off last week and enters this game with a 12-day rest from their last game. Texas came a sliver from upending USC on the road in their last game and perhaps boosted their stock in the loss, though they enter this game at just 1-2. The Cyclones are 2-1 and coming off a 41-14 win over Akron in their last game. Last season, the Longhorns beat the Cyclones at home, 27-6. Some things remain the same from that day, but a lot has changed, as well. Who can leave Jack Trice Stadium on Thursday with the cover?

The Longhorns hung in there well with one of the top teams in the nation in their last game. After a deflating opening-game loss to Maryland, Texas was able to apply a beating to overmatched San Jose St. Not many fancied their chances at the Coliseum, but with 45 seconds left, freshman Sam Ehlinger hit Armati Foreman for the go-ahead score. USC took it to overtime and eventually won, but there were some good signs.

For most of the game, the Texas defense was holding the powerful Trojans offense in-check. At times, the Texas D-line was able to manhandle the beefy Southern Cal O-line. Up-front, Poona Ford and Charles Omenihu made a lot of progress. In the middle, Jeffrey McCulloch, Anthony Wheeler, and Malik Jefferson were making plays left and right. The real star of the defense against the Trojans was DB Brandon Jones, who had a lot of tackles and two picks, one of which he ran back for a TD and another that was crucial. Brandon Jones and Holton Hill also helped keep Sam Darnold from having a huge game. Granted, they weren't all that clutch in allowing a 45-second scoring drive with no timeouts, but they showed a lot of upside, albeit in a losing cause.

QB Sam Ehlinger looked to have the Texas offense in slightly better shape. At the very least, he was able to deliver in a pinch. Filling in for Shane Buechele (still questionable), he was in command and showed great poise for a youngster. The touchdown drive should have been enough at the end of the game. Big-body receiver Collin Johnson was huge on the day with 191 yards. Armanti Foreman (questionable) made a few gigantic clutch catches on that final drive in regulation. They still look to make more happen on the ground with Chris Warren, III. and Reggie Hemphill-Mapps.

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Iowa State has been fairly interesting through two games. An easy win over Northern Iowa opened the season, before losing to a good Iowa team in overtime, 44-41. They trailed by double-digits in the second half, before mounting a comeback against the Hawkeyes, but they came up just short in overtime. The win over Akron gives them a little momentum heading into this game. They have scored 124 points in 3 games. Combined with how they were so competitive at the end of last season, they look to have some decent potential in head coach Matt Campbell's second season.

One thing adding to the Cyclones' promise is the early-season form of their quarterback Jacob Park, the lanky, long-haired, and bearded junior. The former 5-star recruit is completing two-thirds of his passes and already has 935 yards and 8 TD passes. So far, Park's favorite targets have been Hakeem Butler and Allen Lazard, both of whom have three TD catches. Trever Ryen and Marchie Murdock have also been making contributions. When they open it up, they use the whole field and can be quite productive. Park can really air it out. David Montgomery has been getting a bulk of the carries, with productive Mike Warren behind him. An offensive line with some experience and the return of a key piece from injury will also help.

The Cyclones defense is looking for better play this season, especially up-front, where they got some help from the junior college ranks. JaQuan Bailey is a good pass-rusher up front, along with JD Waggoner. In the middle, they have some players, including Willie Harvey and converted quarterback Joel Lanning. Both had 1.5 sacks in their last game. Reggie Wilkerson, De'Monte Ruth, Brian Peavy, and DeAndre Payne (questionable) are among the stars of a potentially good secondary that hasn't performed all that well yet.

Even last season when Iowa St. were still searching for answers in a 3-win season, they proved they can be pretty capable when playing in Ames. At home, they lost to teams like Baylor by 3, Kansas State by 5, and Oklahoma by 10, covering the spread in all those second-half games. They also covered this season in the loss to Iowa. So, they can be grittier than one would think at home. Texas, however, showed their defense has a pretty high ceiling and that they can the job done in tough road conditions. I see Iowa State's aerial attack having some success against Texas en route to a cover.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Iowa State Cyclones plus 6.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Longhorns vs. Cyclones game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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