If Texas is going to qualify for a bowl game, the Longhorns have to beat Kansas State.
You'd expect after a 55-0 beat down by Oklahoma in Manhattan the Wildcats will come into DKR (most likely a rain-soaked DKR) as focused for Texas as the Longhorns were focused for OU after getting paddled 50-7 by TCU.
Point blank - Texas has better personnel than K-State.
Don't be fooled by the almost mirror-image lowlights of these two teams:
* Pass offense (in Big 12 games) - Texas, 98.7 ypg (10th in B12) ... Kansas State, 136.3 ypg (9th).
* Scoring offense (in B12 gms) - KSU, 26.3 ppg (8th) ... Texas, 19.3 ppg (9th)
* Field goals (in B12 gms) - Texas 3 of 5 (.600, 7th) ... KSU 1 of 3 (.333, 9th)
* Sacks given up (in B12 gms) - Texas (4.0 pg, 8th) ... K-State (4.67 pg, 10th)
* Opponent 3rd-down converts (in B12 gms) - Texas (41.5 %, 6th) ... K-State (59 %, 9th)
Texas has the better quarterback, the better defense, the better punt and kick returns and the homefield advantage.
The X-factor is the rain and potential turnovers. KSU has won six of the last seven meetings with Texas and has dominated the turnover margin in those six wins (+14).
Texas' only win in that stretch came in 2013 (31-21) and the Horns won the turnover battle 3-0.
For the season, Texas is +2 in turnovers and KSU is minus-2. If that trend holds, Texas wins ...
TEXAS 27, K-State 23
Kansas State always seems to be a tricky opponent for the Longhorns, but the team needs to stay focused this week to help salvage the season.
The Wildcats loss to Oklahoma was embarrassing so you have to assume Bill Snyder’s team will be laser-focused and prepared to redeem itself against the Longhorns Saturday. Texas needs to start off strong and shut down any signs of momentum shifts in the Wildcats direction.
The Longhorns have had two weeks to prepare for Kansas State so the only excuse that can be made if Texas loses is the team’s performance against Oklahoma was an anomaly. It’s still unknown what Texas really is this season, but I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and say it will be focused and prepared come Saturday.
Texas 35, Kansas State 28
I don’t know much, but one thing I do know is that the Longhorns better get on the board first if they want to beat KSU on Saturday.
I couldn’t believe this stat when I saw it but, per UT, the Longhorns are 0-10 under Charlie Strong when their opponent scores first. That’s crazy.
What happens if Texas does score first? Well it’s 8-1 under Strong and never trailed in six of those wins.
So it’s crucial that UT scores first and keeps momentum on its side like it did against Oklahoma. KSU isn’t going to beat itself. The Wildcats are the least penalized team in the Big 12 averaging 47.3 penalty yards per game.
Texas should put up some points in this one as KSU is 10th in the conference in league play in scoring defense, allowing 47.7 points per game [an averaged helped by OU’s 55 points last week].
I think you’ll see several new wrinkles on offense, including more Tyrone Swoopes and D’Onta Foreman, and a misdirection or two to Marcus Johnson and Daje Johnson.
With as nasty as it’s expected to be out there I’d expect the Longhorns to turn to Foreman a lot to grind out first downs, and the clock.
Texas 31, KSU 20