When people talk about what's holding Iowa State back from making the jump to an eight-win (or higher) team, most single out the Cyclone offense. Iowa State averages just 24.4 points per game, and in conference play, the Cyclones are averaging a league-worst 326.3 yards per game.
Part of that is that the Cyclones have had instability at quarterback. Steele Jantz (6-3 225) has the job for now, and he has passed for 1,410 yards and 12 touchdown to nine interceptions. He's better with his arm than his current backup, Jared Barnett (6-1 198), and passed for 381 yards and five touchdowns in Iowa State's win over Baylor. While Jantz also has mobility, Barnett, a sophomore, is the better runner. If Jantz struggles against Texas, the Longhorns could see both quarterbacks.
Iowa State typically uses two running backs in Shontrelle Johnson (5-9 190) and James White (5-8 190) who have combined to rush for 704 yards and four touchdowns between them. White has been a bit more explosive, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. If the Cyclones need a bigger back, they can turn to Jeff Woody (6-1 239), though he only has 21 carries on the season.
The Cyclones have three receivers who have produced at about the same level. Josh Lenz (6-0 200) is a mainstay in the group and has 304 yards and four touchdowns, though he put up about half of that production (147 yards and three touchdowns) in one game, against TCU. Chris Young (5-11 197) leads the team in receiving yards with 326 on 30 catches and two touchdowns. Aaron Horne (5-8 178) paces Cyclones in receptions with 35, though he gets a lot of shorter passes. He has 320 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Ernst Brun (6-3 240) is a red zone threat with four touchdowns among his 18 catches.
The Cyclones try to establish things up front, but they're only averaging 3.9 yards per rush. This is a pretty experienced line as a whole. Right tackle Brayden Burris (6-6 298) has 27 career starts, while Tom Farniok (6-4 290) has started 21 consecutive games at center. Right guard Kyle Lichtenberg (6-6 301) is in his first year as a full-time starter, but he's played in every game the last three seasons, while left tackle Carter Bykowski (6-8 304) and left guard Ethan Tuftee (6-4 310) each have double-digit starts to their names.
Edwin Arceo has been inconsistent as a kicker, making 7-of-10 field goals and missing three extra points. He does have a strong leg, making a 51-yarder last week. Jarvis West (5-7 170) is listed as the starter at kick returner, but he's averaging fewer than 20 yards per return. Horne has been a big-play punt returner, averaging 17.7 yards per punt return.