Texas Runs Out of Time, Falls to Kansas State, 24-21


Time is the great equalizer in football.

You can’t score if you don’t have the ball. For almost two-thirds of the game against Kansas State, Texas didn’t have the ball. And with :46 seconds to go, down three after a Dorian Leonard touchdown, Texas found itself in a familiar position: out of time.

It started ugly, with four Texas penalties on the opening drive of the game, and it got even worse. After bouncing back from a three-game slide to beat Iowa State last weekend, Texas (3-4, 1-3) lost 24-21 on the road to Kansas State (4-3, 2-2). Texas has not won a game in Manhattan, in the stadium named for the Purple Wizard, 77-year-old KSU coach Bill Snyder, since 2002.

Erratic junior quarterback Jesse Ertz dissected the Texas defense all day, which seemed overeager to ride the wave of momentum from the opening kickoff, exemplified when defensive end Charles Omenihu jumped offsides on consecutive downs. Ertz finished with 78 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground and went 20-for-27 through the air.

This young Texas team mostly fell prey to the usual things that ail the inexperienced: inconsistent execution and flashes of brilliance among incomplete sequences. For example, the Texas defense once again forced turnovers, three to be exact, including an interception and fumble recovery by sophomore Edwin Freeman, but came away with zero points on the other end.

Freshman Shane Buechele made some All American-type throws on fourth downs, including a slant to Dorian Leonard that, if completed, was likely a touchdown, as well as a late-game lob to Armanti Foreman in the end zone that the junior couldn’t rein in. Down 14-0 in the second quarter, Texas swung momentum back its way with a two-play, 90-yard TD drive, capped off by an 80-yard touchdown reception by freshman burner Devin Duvernay, before immediately squandering a quick touchdown to Kansas State to close out the half.

“I love coach Strong and the coaching staff,” senior defensive tackle Paul Boyette, and Texas’ voice of reason, said. “But it falls on the players. It falls on us. We’ve got to play a complete game.”

Great teams find a way to play complete games, and to minimize mistakes to the point where false start and facemask penalties become inconsequential in the long run. Texas’ young core, with a leader in Buechele (17-for-24, 222 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT), an all-world RB in D. Foreman, insane talent at WR, and a defense that has shown in the last two weeks that it can separate the football from its opponents, isn’t there yet. And that’s what’s so frustrating. The waiting, the killing of time. Because this team, as loaded with talent as it is, still has so much room to grow.

Time, the equalizer. Time, the enemy.


-Duvernay now has touchdown receptions of 63, 75, and 80 yards in consecutive games. If Texas can figure out how to consistently get him the ball, the Longhorns will be unstoppable downfield.

-D’Onta Foreman rushed for 126 yards, his eighth-straight 100-yard rushing performance. Former Texas great Jamaal Charles even gave him a shout-out on Twitter.

-Did you experience that pang of déjà vu when Texas won the toss and deferred possession? That’s because this was the sixth straight game this exact sequence happened this season. Notre Dame won the toss against Texas in the season opener and chose to receive to open the game.

-Long-locked sophomore Breckyn Hager continues to be one of the most exciting—and frustrating—players to watch on the defensive side of the ball. Hager had another sack, his fourth of the season, and a broken-up pass, but a pair of penalties (offside, facemask) revealed how raw this team is at times. Once he puts it all together, he’s going to be truly dangerous.

-Texas takes on undefeated Baylor (6-0, 3,0) at 2:30 p.m. next Saturday in Austin. The Longhorns will look to make it two in a row over the Bears.


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