Kansas (6-5 overall, 3-4 Big 12) had their scoring chances in the first half – thanks mainly to an inspired effort by the defense – but the offense couldn't take advantage of two short fields.
After recovering a botched Texas center-quarterback exchange, the Jayhawks took over at the Longhorn 46. Six plays later, KU turned the ball over on downs after coming up short on 4th and 2 at the 28.
The 'Hawks defense stopped Texas on their next drive and, thanks to an 11-yard John Gold punt, started at the Longhorn 47. Three plays later, KU went for it on 4th and 1 at the 38 and failed to convert once again.
“Our defense, especially in the first half, played well throughout the entire game,” KU head coach Mark Mangino said. “They gave us opportunities. We got good field position, they got several three-and-outs and they got turnovers. The key is, they gave us opportunities and our offense did not capitalize on the opportunities our defense gave us.”y played well, and we squandered a good effort today.”
He added, later, “We squandered a good effort today.”
Meanwhile, Texas (10-1, 6-1) scored on their first and final possessions of the half. After a KU punt. QB Colt McCoy guided the Longhorns 79 yards in nine plays. RB Vondrell McGee scored on a 14-yard touchdown run with 7:59 left in the first quarter.
The scoreboard went as cold as the stadium's aluminum bleachers for 22 minutes before anyone scored again. Texas took 3:39 to go 67 yards, thanks to in large part to the scrambling feet of McCoy and passes of 19 and 17 yards to RB Foswhitt Whitaker. The second pass got Texas down to the Kansas 2-yard line. Two plays later, McCoy scored it himself from four yards out to put Texas ahead, 14-0, with 44 seconds left in the half.
It was more of the same in the second half. Kansas K Alejandro Rojas' kickoff to start the period went out of bounds. Texas took advantage of field position and scored on a 10-yard run by RB Chris Ogbannaya. KU had a chance to keep Texas from scoring and, later, keep them to a field goal, but the Jayhawks couldn't stop the Longhorns on 4th and 2 at the 31 and again a few plays later on 3rd and 17 from the 32.
KU finally got on the scoreboard on a 7-yard touchdown pass from QB Todd Reesing to WR Dexton Fields midway through the third quarter. The drive was keyed by a 19-yard Kerry Meier catch coupled with a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call on Texas and an amazing juggling 26-yard catch by WR Dezmon Briscoe that set Kansas up at the six.
After exchanging punts, Texas, aided by a phantom pass interference penalty, took a 28-7 lead on a 9-yard McCoy pass to WR Quan Cosby with 2:39 left in the third quarter. The pass capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive.
Texas got the ball right back a few plays later when RB Angus Quigley fumbled the ball away on the Jayhawk 37. Two plays later, McCoy connected with WR Brandon Collins on a 36-yard scoring strike that made the score 35-7 and ended any and all hope of an upset.
KU looked like they would add a late touchdown, when they fielded a Texas punt deep in their own territory to inside the Texas 1-yard-line. On 2nd and 1 from inside the one, RB Jocques Crawford muffed the option pitch from Reesing and lost eight yards. Reesing threw an incompletion on third down but got a reprieve when Texas was hit with a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer.
KU couldn't find a way to score, even with a new set of downs from the four. Crawford rushed for two yards on 1st and goal, but two Reesing incompletions and a fourth-down sack turned the ball over to Texas with just over a minute left.
Reesing finished with 258 passing yards and one touchdown pass on 25-of-50 passing but was sacked four times. When he wasn't sacked, he was running for his life, and when he did have time to throw, was threw many of his passes off his back foot.
“(Reesing's) banged up,” Mangino acknowledged. “He didn't practice this week until Thursday. He only practiced 30 percent of the time. But he wouldn't use that as an excuse and I won't, either.”
KU managed just 47 yards on 24 rushes for an average of 1.98 yards per carry. Crawford led the team with 48 yards on seven carries. That leaves the rest of KU's ball carriers with 17 carries for -1 yard.
Maybe the only offensive bright spots for Kansas were Briscoe, who finished with nine catches and 115 yards receiving, and WR Johnathan Wilson, who came in for WR Kerry Meier after he was shaken up in the second half. Wilson added eight catches of his own for 93 yards. On the whole, though, the offense just never really found a groove, Mangino said.
“We didn't execute real well on offense. Dezmon made some plays today, Todd made some plays, but it wasn't smooth. It wasn't in sync. It wasn't the type of offense we like to play here,” he said.
Mangino was asked after the game about injuries and just how banged up his team is. It wasn't a subject he wanted to address.
Mangino said, “Injuries are a part of the game, and we're not going to sit around and talk about how we didn't play well because of who was hurt. We've got other guys who are on scholarship. They've got to make plays. Dezmon Briscoe made plays today. When Kerry couldn't go, Johnathan Wilson played well. Other guys have to step up and do that. Guys are gonna get hurt. I don't wanna hear that. Every team has guys getting hurt.”
On defense, the linebacking trio of James Holt, Joe Mortensen and Mike Rivera finished their careers with solid days. Mortensen and Holt both made 11 tackles. Rivera had 10.
KU has next Saturday off to heal a bit before facing archrival and 12th-ranked Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. KU fans want to give the Jayhawks a puncher's chance against the Tigers, but Saturday's showing against Texas makes one wonder how much punch the Jayhawks have left.
Texas: Gee 14-yard run. PAT Bailey. 8/71/3:39.
Texas: McCoy 4-yard run. PAT Bailey. 7/67/3:28.
Texas: Ogbannaya 10-yard run. PAT Bailey. 10/60/4:49
Kansas: Fields 7-yard pass from Reesing. PAT Branstetter. 9/67/2:18.
Texas: Cosby 9-yard pass from McCoy. PAT Bailey. 8/73/2:58.
Texas: Collins 36-yard pass from McCoy. PAT Bailey. 2/37/1:11.