Kansas State dropped their final game of the regular season, 17-22 to a beleaguered Longhorn squad, in Austin. It was clear from the start that this was a battle between two teams who desperately wanted to avoid throwing the football.
Texas came out early and punched the Wildcat’s in the face, often time using the Wildcat formation, to march down the field on a 10 play, 75 yard touchdown drive. K-State answered with a 3 and out, but reclaimed the ball on the next play when Texas foolishly attempted a forward pass that was easily picked off. K-State cashed in the interception with a 7 play, 68 yard drive capped off by a Vaughn touchdown. Texas answered with another grinding 13 play, 73 yard touchdown drive to reclaim the lead (although they missed the extra point). The Longhorn touchdown was answered in 1 play, after Will Howard managed to skirt the sideline on a quarterback keeper that somehow netted 71 yards and a touchdown. It may have been the slowest 71 scamper in history, but it counted for 7 and gave the Wildcats a 14-13 lead.
After the Howard touchdown, Texas went 3 and out and it looked like they were on the ropes, but the next K-State drive fizzled out in 6 plays. Texas kicked it back after another 3 and out, and a 51 yard Chris Tennant field goal (that looked like it would have been good from 70) stretched the lead to 17-13. The Longhorns responded a 9 play field goal drive in the last 2 minutes, finished off by a fire drill field goal attempt they shouldn’t have had time to run, but still managed to convert to make the scare 17-16 going into the half.
The second half saw nothing but K-State futility on offense. I’m not going to give y’all the blow for blow summary, because I’m guessing you’re still grinding your teeth, but the long and short of the matter is that Texas was able to knock through 2 field goals in the 2nd half, and K-State managed to lose the ball on downs twice, despite having 3rd and short, and 4th and short. It was an ugly offensive performance, compounded by the fact that Texas had no fear of the K-State passing game. They stacked the box, kept contain on the outside, and funneled everything back inside towards their massive defensive line who managed to stone the normally dominant K-State line all game.
Now isn’t the time to explain what the coaches were seeing (or not seeing) on the field, but I would like to point out before leaving that teams don’t tend to run the quarterback sneak on Texas because they have a 6’2”, 350 pound nose guard named Keondre Coburn who eats up centers. He punished center Noah Johnson, the only “undersized” man on the line all night. There may have been a better solution than Deuce in the Wildcat running into the B gap, but the quarterback sneak isn’t it against Texas, even if it seems like an easy solution.
Anyway, the loss drops Kansas State to 7-5 on the season. They will await word on their bowl destination, and hopefully use the time to figure out if they have a quarterback they trust to throw the ball on the roster next year, and if they don’t (which it certainly doesn’t appear that they have unless Rubley is ready to go), it’s probably a good idea to find a one year rental until things get sorted out. Some may consider the forward pass a fad, but it’s rather important in modern football. If you can’t throw the ball, it’s tough to run the ball. You saw that for the 3rd time this season without Skylar pulling the trigger. Even when Thompson is off, having the threat of the forward pass makes things significantly easier on the running game.
7-5 is fine, but it feels like they left some serious meat on the bone. It’s strange, but I feel like the team met preseason expectations, while at the same time, under achievieved.