Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: a horrid first half put Kansas State in a hole against Texas, but they played their brains out in the second half to come back, only to lose 33-30 in overtime today at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin.
K-State only managed 100 yards of offense in the first half, 75 of that in the final 1:35 of the half, while Texas just teed off on the Wildcats for 307 first half yards. Will Howard, who threw for a career-high 327 yards, turned the tables in the second half. He led K-State back from a 27-7 deficit to force overtime; the Cats held Texas to a field goal, but were stopped on 4th-and-goal on their own possession to end the comeback.
You’ll note we aren’t even bothering to mention most of K-State’s first-half offensive possessions, because this is a family website and our policy is to not publish gruesome torture imagery.
Texas got the ball first, and Maalik Murphy completed a couple of big passes but the Longhorns were eventually forced to punt. That would be the last good thing to happen for K-State for the next 20 minutes; the punt was downed at the 6 and K-State had to punt themselves in short order.
Three plays later, Murphy hit Adonai Mitchell for a 37-yard score.
Texas added a field goal on their next possession, and led 10-0 after one quarter.
CJ Baxter scored on a 54-yard rushing touchdown on 4th-and-1. 17-0.
Murphy tried to go for broke, and Jacob Parrish picked him off; the offense again did nothing.
After a bit punt return by Xavier Worthy, Texas was in business in Wildcat territory; they got down to the 12 on 4th-and-2, but fumble pushed them back, and despite recovering turned it over on downs.
The Cats actually forced a 3-and-out, and Marques Sigle almost picked off a pass on third down. Shane Porter — yes, Shane, not Seth — blocked the punt and K-State recovered; Howard then hit Jayce Brown for 28. An 8-yard fade to Phillip Brooks finally got K-State on the board with 54 seconds to go in the half. The defense forced another 3-and-out and Texas only took 29 seconds off the clock; a big completion to Sinnott and another to Brown took the Cats to the Texas 42 with 5 seconds left. But they couldn’t score, and went into the locker room trailing 17-7.
On the second play of the second half, Howard threw an interception — but it wasn’t his fault. Howard lofted a perfect deep ball to Keagan Johnson, who bobbled the ball right into the hands of Michael Taaffe. But K-State forced a punt, although it was downed at the seven.
On 2nd-and-3 from the 14, the offensive line completely crumbled as Texas blitzed. The blitz never even made it home; it was the regular defensive line rush which blasted Howard before he was even two steps into his dropback. Howard was stripped, Texas recovered, and five Jonathan Brooks yards later Texas was back up by 17 at 24-7.
Texas added another field goal on their next possession. On the ensuing drive, the Cats finally got moving, even overcoming their own mistakes; three procedure penalties cost K-State 15 yards on the drive, meaning they effectively had to go 90 yards instead of 75. But they did; Howard was 6-6 for 85 yards and Brooks scored on a dancing 26-yard catch-and-run. Brooks avoided a couple of ankle tackles and managed to stay inbounds, diving inside the pylon for the score to make it 27-14.
Then, on 3rd-and-14, Murphy made another mistake. Parrish picked off another pass, running it back to the 12; he fumbled, but Colby McCallister recovered. Two plays later, Howard hit Keagan Johnson for a touchdown and suddenly K-State was back within a score at 27-21.
On the second play of Texas’s drive, Brendan Mott stripped Jonathan Brooks, and Will Lee recovered at the Texas 32. Howard immediately hit Jayce Brown for a game-tying touchdown. After an offsides penalty by Texas on the PAT, Chris Tennant had to cover up the ball after Jack Blumer wasn’t ready for the snap, leaving the game tied at 27.
Texas moved downfield quickly, but once they got into the red zone the usual happened and they had to settle for a third field goal, this one from 34 yards out.
On 3rd-and-7, Howard scrambled trying to get the first down. He didn’t make it, and Hadley Panzer got flagged for holding — but Ryan Watts was called for hitting Howard out of bounds, giving the Cats a first down. Howard followed with a great screen pass dump to Sinnott for 16, then a beautiful floater to Giddens for 17, then a great catch on a low pass by Brooks for 17. After a short run by Giddens, a dump to Johnson brought on 3rd-and-1 at the Texas 8.
K-State lined up in the shotgun, with the left half of the line tailed back from the line. Giddens went in motion to the right. Howard took the snap, stutter-stepped, then took off... and lost a yard, as Texas wasn’t fooled in the slightest. Then Tennant missed a 27-yard field goal, and all Texas had to do was run out the clock.
They didn’t. K-State forced a 3-and-out and took over at their 40 with 1:18 to play. The Cats got down to the 27, and with six seconds left it was all up to Tennant from 45 yards out.
It was good.
K-State forced Texas 3-and-out in overtime, and the Longhorns had to kick a field goal. On his possession, Howard found Sinnott for 19 yards on the first play, then got two himself. On 3rd-and-goal, Howard threw through Keagan Johnson’s hands. Chris Klieman opted to go for it rather than kick the field goal.
But the receivers were covered, Howard was under pressure, and he threw a duck that got tipped.
Howard was 26-39 for a career-high 327 yards, with four touchdown passes and one interception which wasn’t his fault. K-State was held to 33 yards rushing, so they only totaled 360 for the game (compared to Texas’s 478 yards, balanced almost evenly with 230 rushing and 248 passing). Over 300 of that was in the first half, after which Joe Klanderman’s adjustments made a huge difference.
Keagan Johnson led the Cats with 7 receptions, for 70 yards and a score; Brown led the receivers in yardage with 77 on four catches and a score. Phillip Brooks led the unit in touchdowns, though, scoring twice on five catches for 76 yards. Sinnott had 5 catches for 69.
K-State won the turnover battle 3-2, the penalty battle with 7-50 compared to 10-67 for Texas, but lost time of possession 27:52-32:08.
WHAT WE LEARNED
1) This team isn’t ready on the road, for some reason.
K-State came out like garbage against both Oklahoma State and Texas. They played like giants in the second half of both games. This is a coaching issue, and it needs to be addressed.
2) Jacob Parrish needs work.
Yes, he intercepted two passes. He also spent the entire first half being thrown at, giving up completions, and he should have been called for pass interference on more than a couple of occasions, because he was playing hands after being beaten on the route. The pass defense was largely more effective in the first half when he wasn’t on the field, as Keenan Garber and Will Lee and even Marques Sigle were actually defending passes.
In the second half... he was a lot better, so we have to give him that. Indeed, in overtime, they threw at him twice to no avail.
3) Collin Klein came into the game with the wrong game plan — but fixed it... until the end.
The Wildcat offense was just execrable in the first half. First quarter: 18 yards. Second quarter: 82 yards. Second half: 200 yards.
It took Klein an entire half to figure out the inside run wasn’t working at all against the Texas defense. Once Howard was allowed to just be a passer, he erupted for 230 yards just in the second half. But then, at the end of the final drive...
4) The third-down call on K-State’s next-to-last drive of regulation was just stupid.
Sorry. It was. There’s nothing else to be said. The formation, the motion, the mechanics... all wrong. Again, the inside run wasn’t working. Mixing one in occasionally to keep Texas honest would have been one thing, but it was being called in critical situations and failing.
K-State has the second-best touchdown rate in the nation in the red zone. Going for it on fourth down was the right call. Didn’t work; still the right call.
And we also can’t sell short the guts it took to get back into that game. With 19:13 to play, Texas was up by 20. K-State took them to overtime.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Will Howard, because he stepped up hard in the second half once he was unleashed. On defense, Jacob Parrish. He improved enough in the second half to make up for the first, and you can’t ignore two interceptions.
Baylor visits, so K-State can beat up on a bad team again. Maybe.