The Texas defense swarmed the Kansas offense, allowing minus-two rushing yards to a team that came in averaging nearly 190 rushing yards per game. The Jayhawks' 46 total yards were the second-fewest in team history and marked the first time Kansas was shut out since 2002, falling well below the Jayhawks' season averages of 405 total yards and 30.2 points per game.
"That's it right there," said linebacker Keenan Robinson. "That's football for us. We did a great job playing on their side of the ball."
It didn't hurt that the defense only had to play 36 plays, thanks to an offense that rushed for 441 yards, had 93 overall plays and held onto the ball for more than 44 minutes.
"Thirty-six plays of defense," said Manny Diaz, Texas defensive coordinator. "I don't know if I've ever seen that before. Our offense controlling the ball the way they did made things so easy. Then we run out there and get a three-and-out so our guys were fresh and it was a great team effort in that regard."
The effort even seemed to come as a surprise to the Longhorns, who, according to Texas coach Mack Brown, actually feared that the Jayhawks might be able to run the ball and dominate time of possession themselves.
"We put so much emphasis on sacks and penetration over the last two weeks because we weren't getting either," Brown said. "We also felt like Kansas was rushing the ball for 200 yards per game, they were averaging 405 yards per game, I think, and 30 points. So we really were concerned that they would try to keep the ball and we would not be able to get off the field defensively. So the guys really took the challenge."
Did they ever. Nearly one-third of the Jayhawks' total plays wound up in losses, with the Longhorns racking up 11 tackles for loss for 44 yards. Included in that were sacks by Jackson Jeffcoat, Alex Okafor and Chris Whaley. Jeffcoat and Okafor were particularly effective, making five tackles for loss between them.
It didn't take long to see what the Longhorn offensive gameplan was. The first quarter saw Texas carry the ball 20 times out of its 26 plays, grinding out touchdown drives of 65 and 90 yards.
And the Longhorns' 26-0 halftime lead could have been even worse. Kansas stuffed quarterback David Ash, who again started and received all of the team's first-team repetitions, on a fourth-down quarterback sneak from the six-inch line. The Jayhawks then committed a personal foul penalty trying to protect its own quarterback Jordan Webb, which by rule was a safety. Ash again fell short in the red zone when his attempt at a touchdown pass was tipped by Michael Reynolds and intercepted by Greg Brown in the end zone.
But the Jayhawks, at times contributing to their own woes by missing open receivers, dropping passes and committing key penalties, never had a chance to rebound because of a Longhorn defense that didn't necessarily slam the door shut as much as never allowed the door to open in the first place. Kansas had just 13 first-half plays, with those plays going for 10 yards. Texas, on the other hand, had 316 yards on 58 plays, including 211 rushing yards. And while Kansas had 12 plays in the third quarter, it actually lost a yard in the stanza, meaning the Jayhawks entered the fourth quarter with nine total yards.
On the other side of the ball, holes created in the first half turned into gaping roadways in the second half. The Longhorns had four players rush for 50 or more yards, with Joe Bergeron (13-136-2) and Malcolm Brown (28-119-2) each topping the century mark and scoring twice.
"Kansas came out (early) firing on all cylinders," said Fozzy Whittaker, Texas running back. "Those yards that we had to get, they were hard-fought. Our plan was to wear them down over the course of a game. As you see at the end, the holes just started getting bigger and bigger as the o-line was working their tails off."
As the game wore on, the only drama that remained was whether the Longhorns would be able to maintain the safety. And with Kansas moving the ball late in the fourth quarter against the second-team, several starters ensured that the goose egg stayed in-tact. Linebackers Robinson and Emmanuel Acho — it was Acho's idea — trotted back onto the field after Kansas gained a first-down on the Longhorns' side of the 50. A couple plays later, on a key third down, fellow first-teamers Blake Gideon, Kenny Vaccaro and Christian Scott joined them. The Kansas drive stalled and the shutout was complete.
"That's huge, mainly for pride," Acho said. "We knew we couldn't let them score, couldn't let them get points on the board. As soon as they started moving the ball, I said 'hey Keenan, it's time.' So me and him both trotted on the field and everybody else followed. It was good to see."
"I wasn't real happy with it," said Coach Brown afterward. "But to their credit, at halftime it was huge for them to get a shutout. It's hard to get a shutout in college football anywhere, but it's really hard in the Big 12 with as many points are scored. I think one of the earlier games this year, the young guys went in and gave up gashes.
"I told them if you had gone out there and gotten hurt and hadn't stopped them, then we would have had a discussion," Brown said. "But it was OK. I was happy for them. They're really proud of themselves tonight."
The Longhorns did have some injuries in the game, including a knee injury to Jaxon Shipley, a head injury to Leroy Scott and what appeared to be another arm injury to Demarco Cobbs. Brown said Shipley and Scott were expected to be fine, and said he didn't have any report on the Cobbs injury, which happened near the end of the game.
With the win, Texas (5-2 overall, 2-2 Big 12) equalled last year's win total and picked up the Longhorns' first conference home win since Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley's senior night in 2009. That victory also came against Kansas.
"We're always in search of the complete game," Gideon said. "I think we came pretty close tonight."
TEXAS — Malcolm Brown 6 run (Justin Tucker kick), 10:06 1Q
TEXAS — David Ash 2 run (Tucker kick), 1:38 1Q
TEXAS — TEAM Safety, 11:31 2Q
TEXAS — Brown 1 run (Tucker kick), 2:22 2Q
TEXAS — Tucker 52 FG, 0:00 2Q
TEXAS — Joe Bergeron 4 run (Tucker kick), 3:13 3Q
TEXAS — Tucker 31 FG, 9:10 4Q
TEXAS — Bergeron 35 run (Tucker kick), 6:02 4Q