Whenever a team plays Kansas State, they hear the horror stories about the way the Wildcats pounce on mistakes. "We were so close, and then, we weren't," a beleaguered coach might say. The Wildcats have developed quite the reputation for 1) forcing mistakes and 2) profiting from those errors. Kansas State, it's said, does not beat itself. Instead, the Wildcats wait for you to beat yourself.
And while the Longhorns showed some great signs on Saturday, Texas's 42-24 loss in Manhattan will go down as yet another team that fell pray to the Wildcats' predatory ways. Texas led 17-14 shortly before the end of the third quarter, only to get blitzed by 28 straight Kansas State points, aided by Longhorn mistakes.
The Longhorns actually out-gained the Wildcats 413 yards to 352, though they lost the turnover battle 3-1 and made their mistakes at the worst possible time.
"The third quarter was still tight," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "We moved the ball and did some good things in the fourth quarter but we had two turnovers and a missed field goal and you cannot do those things. They played really well and we were matched with them in the third quarter. We had to keep matching them, and we did not do that."
Kansas State took a 21-17 lead on an 11-play, 67-yard drive ended by John Hubert running in from two-yards out with 47 seconds left in the third quarter. Case McCoy was sacked on second down, setting up a tough third down. On the first play after Texas punted, Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein found a wide-open Tyler Lockett for a 55-yard touchdown and a 28-17 advantage.
But Texas still had plenty of time, and the Longhorns drove inside the Wildcat red zone. But a fumbled exchange on an end around led to a nine-yard loss and Nick Jordan missed a 40-yard field goal.
The defense forced a three-and-out of its own, but Quandre Diggs muffed the punt and Kansas State's Drew Liddle pulled the fumble in. Eight plays later, the Wildcats were up 35-17. And on the second play of Texas's next drive, McCoy threw an interception to Allen Chapman, with Chapman returning it to the Texas 10-yard line. Klein ran in for another score, tacking on the icing. The Longhorns added a final score with 58 seconds left.
Klein threw just 14 passes, completing eight for 184 yards and a touchdown to one interception. After a bit of a rough start, Klein was 4-for-4 for 112 yards and a score in the second half. He also rushed 23 times for 103 yards and two more touchdowns.
"Collin Klein is a great player - not a good player," Brown said. "I have watched him for three or four years now and he is so big and unselfish. I think that is what makes him so special. He is also hard to tackle, is accurate with his passing game, and that is what makes him such a great player.
"I know he will be in New York," Brown said.
Hubert rushed for 66 yards and three TDs.
Starting for the injured David Ash, McCoy completed 26-of-34 passes for two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions and was sacked four times.
"It came down to turnovers," McCoy said. "I guess we turned it over three times and gave up 21 points off of them. That is something that happened tonight. We have been preaching about it. It cannot happen."
With the win, Kansas State (11-1, 8-1) finished as co-Big 12 Champions with Oklahoma. The Wildcats will head to the Fiesta Bowl as the league's champ because they defeated the Sooners earlier this year.
Texas (8-4, 5-4) is projected by most to be headed to the Cotton Bowl, where they would likely face Georgia or LSU. Texas could potentially get moved down if Oklahoma doesn't make the BCS, pushing the Longhorns to the Alamo Bowl.
"[I'm] proud of the effort our guys put out," Brown said. "I thought they did exactly what we asked them to do. We will leave tomorrow, learn where we are playing our bowl game, and we will regroup and get ready to work."
Kansas State — Collin Klein 1 run (Anthony Cantele kick), 11:33 1Q
TEXAS — Nick Jordan 37 FG, 12:00 2Q
TEXAS — Jaxon Shipley 14 pass from Case McCoy (Jordan kick), 7:19 2Q
Kansas State — John Hubert 2 run (Cantele kick), 10:59 3Q
TEXAS — Malcolm Brown 2 run (Jordan kick), 7:24 3Q
Kansas State — Hubert 2 run (Cantele kick), 0:47 3Q
Kansas State — Tyler Lockett 55 pass from Klein (Cantele kick), 14:06 4Q
Kansas State — Hubert 1 run (Cantele kick), 3:11 4Q
Kansas State — Klein 9 run (Cantele kick), 1:53 4Q
TEXAS — Brown 9 pass from McCoy (Jordan kick), 0:58 4Q