Texas Gameweek: Position Battles

Richardson doesn't have an edge in experience over Case McCoy, but he does have an edge in talent

On this stormy gameday morning, let's take a look at how Iowa State and Tulsa compare, position by position.

Quarterback: I was prepared to give this one to David Ash, yet he's not making the trip because of a lingering concussion. Sam Richardson jumped 16 spots in ESPN's QBR ratings from the Iowa game to now after a solid outing against Tulsa; his 50.5/100 rating is now better than the Hawkeyes' Jake Rudock or Baker Mayfield, who started out red-hot at Texas Tech. Richardson doesn't have an edge in experience over Case McCoy, but he does have an edge in talent. Winner: Iowa State

Running back: Not close until last week, when ISU's Aaron Wimberly burst out of the pistol formation and into the second level. He could be at the level of Texas' Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown, although we don't know quite yet, not after one game. Gray and Brown have each carved up a Big 12 defense. Winner: Texas

Wide receiver: A fifth of Mike Davis' receptions this year have gone for touchdowns. Jaxon Shipley is as reliable as the morning sunrise. Kendall Sanders is averaging 12.2 yards a reception. Texas wins this contest, despite the efforts of ISU's Quenton Bundrage and Tad Ecby, who are each averaging over 10 yards a reception and over four receptions a game. The Cyclones do have the advantage at tight end, with E.J. Bibbs and Ernst Brun better than anyone Texas has at the position. Winner: Texas

Offensive line: Texas has a lot of experience in the middle, with Mason Walters, Trey Hopkins and center Dom Espinosa having started 105 games between the three of them. On the outside, Texas is without starting right tackle Josh Cochran (shoulder) but left tackle Donald Hawkins is steadily improving. Kennedy Estelle will take Cochran's place. The Longhorns' experience gives them this one, though we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Iowa State has the best lineman between the two teams in center Tom Farniok, whose quickness down the line is game-changing. Winner: Texas

Defensive line: Same old song. Texas is just so big and athletic across the front four, with ends Jackson Jeffcoat (a possible first-round pick) and Cedric Reed each tallying two sacks. Lots of depth at tackle after starters Malcom Brown and Chris Whaley with Desmond Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway. Iowa State has a pair of emerging defensive tackles in David Irving and Rodney Coe, who doesn't start but plays with his hair on fire. Irving will make an All-Big 12 team before all's said and done. Winner: Iowa State.

Linebacker: The Cyclones have one of the conference's best in Jeremiah George and Luke Knott, who plays beyond his years. Jared Brackens is still struggling in pass coverage but his end speed is valuable when he's asked to get after the quarterback. Texas doesn't have WLB Jordan Hicks, out for the season with an injury, and won't have MLB Steve Edmond until the second half (suspension, targeting). Dalton Santos will start in place of Edmond, who he's actually better than, and redshirt freshman Tim Cole will record his first career start at Hicks' old post. The other 'backer, Peter Jinkens, is the best of the bunch. Winner: Iowa State.

Secondary: Neither unit has played up to its potential thus far, although Texas has more talent back there, with Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs future high NFL picks. Cyclones' corner Jansen Watson can't afford to drop two potential interceptions like he did against Tulsa. Winner: Texas.

Kicking game: Both punters are top-notch, with ISU's Kirby Van Der Kamp averaging a yard better than Texas' Anthony Fera. The Cyclones haven't gotten much out of their kickers, while Fera is 4-for-5. The return of Daje Johnson to, um, return kicks swings the matchup in Texas' favor. Winner: Texas.

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