The meme is dead. Kansas State's fraudulent defense voided the 10 year ownership contract with Texas last night. The Longhorns are free on a technicality. Loopholes are a bitch.
The metaphor free explanation is this. Instead of the the Wildcats going all 2010 and running rampant on the Longhorns like everyone expected, Texas gashed the porous K-State defense for 235 yards and three touchdowns on the way to a 31-21 victory. To use a simile, it was like the Twilight Zone out there. To use another metaphor, Bevo flipped the script.
Jonathan Gray led the way for Texas with 141 yards on 28 carries and two scores. Malcolm Brown added 40 yards on nine carries and another trip to the end zone.
David Ash only played in the first half, completing 14 of 25 passes for 158* yards and a score on a 63 yard bomb to Kendall Sanders. He also added six carries for 35** yards on the ground. Case McCoy finished the game in the second half adding 59 yards on five for nine passing for a total of 19 completions on 34 attempts for 217 yards through the air.
Morse and I both mentioned in last week's roundtable that defense was the key for a Wildcat victory in Austin. Add these gaudy Longhorn offensive numbers to the fact that K-State forced exactly zero turnovers and you'll see that the defense didn't do its job. The red zone defense did tease improvement on UT's second drive, allowing Texas to get a first down at the Wildcat eight yard line then stopping them on third down to force a 27 yard field goal. The defense would let Longhorns into the red zone two more times, both scores for Texas. This defense was terrible.
The rush defense was bad enough, but think about this: even without the 63 yard pass, the Cats still gave up roughly 4.7 yards per pass attempt. Yuck.****
The poor defensive play was topped off by three Wildcat turnovers at crucial points. Two of them were absolute bonehead plays: a handoff that somehow managed to bounce off the chest of John Hubert and Jake Waters doing an only slightly less embarrassing but much more fatal impression of a Mark Sanchez butt fumble. The other was an excellent play by the Longhorns' Cedric Reed, who managed to swat the ball as Waters brought his arm back to pass effectively killing any chance of a K-State comeback.
Texas held the Wildcats to the second lowest rushing total they've allowed all season. K-State ran the ball 34 times for 135 yards***. Daniel Sams led the way with 48 yards on eight carries but most of that came on his two biggest runs of 23 and 15 yards, both in the first quarter. Ignoring the four sacks for a total of 20 yards lost, Waters was right behind Sams with 46 yards on 14 totes with a long of 17 and a touchdown. Hubert added 41 yards and two scores on 12 carries.
Lets finish this mess up with some good news though, shall we? Tyler Lockett broke Jordy Nelson's single game receiving record with 237 yards on 13 catches. I tried to look back and find the last time Texas gave up so many yards to a single receiver, but only got to the first game of 2006 before I gave up. In other words, it doesn't happen too often. To show how amazing it really was though, lets break it down a bit. Locket was targeted a total of 17 times in the game. This table is a look at the number of targets against each Texas defensive back that the little man was matched up with.
|vs Texas / 9.21.13||Receiving|
|Coverage||Rivals ★ Rating||Targets||Rec||Yds|
As you can see, sophomore Duke Thomas was the most exploited, but junior Quandre Diggs wasn't far behind. Two of the four missed targets could be classified as drops -- one against Byndom that could have gone for extra yards was a clear drop and one against Phillips in the end zone on the Cats final drive, although the pass was a little high. Despite the fact that Waters kept looking his way, Lockett was never double covered.
Waters completed 63 percent of his passes for 255 yards (adjusted for sacks) on the game. Ten of the completions came in the final 20 minutes, accounting for over half of the total yardage. The one apparent knock on his performance is the lack of touchdowns, but one pass to Lockett was caught at the Texas one yard line which Waters ran in on the next play. Other than that and the high pass to Lockett I already mentioned, the play calling could be blamed. The coaches mostly preferred to run the ball whenever the Cats sniffed the end zone, even with less than three minutes to go in the game. The Cedric Reed sack fumble was most likely a designed pass to pay dirt, but we'll never truly know.
So many other things could be quantified in this mess -- such as the amount of time the offense wasted looking to the sidelines before the snap on the final two drives -- but if I dig too much deeper into this rabbit hole, I'm likely to go insane. The moral of the story is that yes, the Cats lost. Yes, the defense is terrible. Yes, all hopes for any sort of championship are likely gone. But there were some things to build on, as long as the coaches take time to look and see what's really there.
* This total includes a sack for an eight yard loss because sacks can only occur on pass plays so therefore should be attributed to the passing yardage total. That's one thing the NFL gets right.
** This is Ash's rushing total excluding the sack, which -- as I mentioned above -- should be attributed to the passing total.
*** This is also corrected for sack yardage.
**** Edit: OK, so 4.7 yards per pass attempt actually isn't bad at all. But Case McCoy played in the second half and the run was not being stopped. And let's not forget, that stat ignores a 63 yard touchdown pass.