Featured as one of CollegeFootballPoll.com's "no-win situation" bowl games for Texas, the Longhorns and the Hawkeyes each bring losing streaks into this postseason affair. Texas lost its last two games and Iowa dropped its last three. The Hawkeyes went a dismal 1-5 over their last six games.
Iowa's only wins over teams with winning records came against Montana (a 1-AA school, or what now is known as the "championship subdivision") an 8-5 Purdue squad and a 7-5 Northern Illinois team. The Hawkeyes were one of just two Big Ten teams that lost to Northwestern and the Wildcats beat them 21-7.
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was injured on the opening touchdown play against Kansas State in the next-to-last game of the season, which the Longhorns eventually lost 45-42. Then, in the finale against rival A&M, McCoy threw three interceptions and was carted off the field with 20 seconds left in the game after suffering a severe pinched nerve in his neck. Texas lost that game 12-7.
McCoy's recovery is reportedly progressing but Texas' backup quarterback situation was thrown into chaos when second-string Jevan Snead decided in late November to transfer from the school. In the loss to the Wildcats, Snead was 13-of-30 for 190 yards and 1 TD. The new backup is 6-3, 200-pound senior walk-on Matt McCoy (no relation to Colt) who has never thrown a collegiate pass.
Texas may ultimately need to rely on the running game which produced 170 yards a game to rank 7th in the Big 12. Jamaal Charles had 805 yards and 7 TD's, while Selvin Young added 580 yards and 6 scores.
Iowa, at least, knows who its quarterback will be. But Drew Tate has not produced the type of senior numbers that were expected of him. Tate has 16 TD passes and 12 INT's while throwing for 2,439 yards on 58 percent completions. Indicative of his year, Tate had four turnovers in Iowa's final regular season game against Minnesota as he fumbled once and threw three picks.
In 2005, by contrast, Tate completed over 62 percent of his passes for 2,828 yards, 22 TD's and just 7 INT's.
As a team, Iowa ranked 7th on offense and 5th in defense in the Big Ten.
Texas ranked 1st against the run in the Big 12, and 2nd nationally. But the Longhorns ranked 9th against the pass among Big 12 schools and near the bottom of the barrel nationally as they allowed 233.1 yards per game. Those defensive numbers are a bit skewed, though, as many opponents had to resort to a barrage of passes just to try and stay close with the Longhorns.
This is Texas' first trip to the Alamo Bowl which began in 1993. It's Iowa's fourth appearance in the San Antonio game.