It's been that kind of game for the Longhorns, who went on to lose 39-14. It's been that kind of season as well, one that has Texas sitting at 4-5 with a serious chance at missing out on bowl eligibility. To get there, Texas will have to win a home game against Florida Atlantic and one of two games against a rejuvenated Texas A&M squad and a division-leading Oklahoma State team.
It's certainly a tall task for Texas, which trailed 24-0 at halftime despite zero passing yards from Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, making his first start. But while Klein was 0-2 in the half, Gilbert completed three first-half passes to Wildcat defenders.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 17-0 lead on touchdown runs from Klein and Daniel Thomas, along with a 30-yard field goal from kicker Josh Cherry. Then three Gilbert interceptions — his second, third and fourth of the night — turned a potential blowout into a definite one.
Gilbert's second interception of the game was picked off by safety Tysyn Hartman and returned to the Texas 10. On the very next play, Klein ran in for a 24-0 lead. After the game, Texas coach Mack Brown said that he was both surprised and disappointed.
"We had nine guys around the line of scrimmage and couldn't stop the run in the first half," Brown said.
Gilbert's third interception came with the Longhorns driving just before the half. Desperately trying to cut into the lead, Gilbert's throw into the end zone was picked, eliminating any possible momentum. Pick No. 5 came early in the third, setting up Thomas's second touchdown run. And just like that, the Longhorns went from being down 17-0 to trailing 31-0.
At that point, 17 of Kansas State's 31 points had come from Gilbert interceptions, with another costing Texas seven.
"It's disappointing to know that I didn't give my teammates a chance to win," Gilbert said afterward.
He was hardly the only offender, and it wasn't long before Texas's special teams unit added to the year's blooper reel.
After getting a stop, Texas roughed punter Ryan Doerr, giving Kansas State new life. That led to a William Powell touchdown run. Kheeston Randall blocked the ensuing extra point, but it was scooped up by Cherry, who ran it in for a two-point conversion instead.
The Longhorns didn't get on the scoreboard until 12:55 remained in the fourth quarter when Cody Johnson plowed in from four yards out. They added one other touchdown when Gilbert hit tight end Dominique Jones with less than a minute left.
The Longhorns actually out-gained the Wildcats 412 yards to 270, but those numbers were deceptive. The Wildcats only had two scoring drives of 40 or more yards, and actually gained more yards per play (5.0 to 4.8) than Texas did.
The Wildcats did most of their damage on the ground, with both Klein (127) and Thomas (106) topping the century mark. That meant that Klein, who completed 2-of-4 passes for nine yards, didn't have to test his arm at all.
Gilbert rushed for 93 yards, the highest total put up by a Texas runner this year. He also completed 32-of-59 passes for 272 yards, but threw the five interceptions. Receiver Mike Davis topped the 100-yard mark for the second time in his young career, snaring 11 passes for 109 yards.
But many of those yards came after Texas was out of the game, as the Longhorns lost three straight regular season games for the first time in the Mack Brown era.
"All the things we needed to do to win on the road, we didn't do," Brown said. "We just have to go back and watch the film and see if there's anything we can find to do better."
Kansas State — Daniel Thomas 34 run (Josh Cherry kick), 14:07 1Q
KSU — Cherry 30 FG, 5:08 1Q
KSU — Collin Klein 12 run (Cherry kick), 8:22 2Q
KSU — Klein 10 run (Cherry kick), 3:41 2Q
KSU — Thomas 9 run (Cherry kick), 14:11 3Q
KSU — William Powell 8 run (Cherry run), 1:19 3Q
Texas — Cody Johnson 4 run (Justin Tucker kick), 12:55 4Q
UT — Dominique Jones 1 pass from Garrett Gilbert (Tucker kick), 0:31 4Q
* Texas coach Mack Brown said Longhorn coaches decided to put true freshman Case McCoy in at quarterback late, but that circumstances didn't allow for the substitution.
"We tried to put him in with seven minutes," Brown said. "I brought it up, but he wasn't loose. Then he started getting loose and Garrett moved the ball down."
* Texas ran the ball on 14 of the game's first 20 plays, a smart strategy against arguably the nation's worst run defense. But the strategy didn't stick. After that 14th run, with the Longhorns trailing 17-0 in the second quarter, Texas went away from the run game, only rushing the ball 12 times the rest of the game.
Those 12 times included a fake punt run and three carries on the game's final drive.* One of the game's few positives came from Adrian Phillips. Despite a typically gusting Manhattan wind, and facing his first start at punt returner, Phillips caught every punt that he had a chance at.
Phillips didn't get a chance at a return.