Starting fast Saturday would likely be a good first step for the Horns if they want to end a four-game losing streak to K-State in Manhattan - Texas' Big 12 Bermuda Triangle.
If ever there was a week this season in which the Texas offense needed to have the big first half - with the defense continuing to play well all four quarters - like it did against Iowa State - it's this week.
Kansas State's offense is not built to come back - with its cloudy QB situation (starter Jesse Ertz' throwing shoulder might be worse than originally thought) and a running back with no breakaway speed in Charles Jones.
If K-State turns to backup QB Joe Hubener, Longhorn fans will recall from Texas' 23-9 win in Austin last year that he's not a runner (or thrower) on par with former KSU QB Jake Waters.
K-State fans want Bill Snyder to play freshman dual-threat QB Alex Delton, a talented runner who could end up on the field against Texas. (The last time K-State pulled a surprise QB on the Horns was 2010 - Collin Klein. KSU won 39-14.)
KSU has two legit WR threats in Byron Pringle (9) and Dominique Heath (4), and both of those guys are home-run threats in the return game as well. Pringle has a kick return for a TD, and Heath has a punt return for a TD this season.
Here's why Texas needs the fast start on offense: because K-State's defense is pretty salty.
Senior DE Jordan Willis (75) is one of the most underrated defenders in the Big 12, and freshman DE Reggie Walker (51) is emerging.
LBs Elijah Lee (9) and Charmeachealle Moore (52) are playmakers, and SS Dante Barnett (22) is a stud. As one of my K-State sources said, "Playmakers at every level of the defense."
If the offense gets off to a slow start, the K-State defense is good enough to make UT's life miserable. If Texas can get off to a fast start, throw deep and put a couple TDs on the board in the first quarter, the Longhorns could have a very enjoyable day in Manhattan. The Wildcats aren't built for comebacks.
The Longhorns are in desperation mode, so ...
TEXAS 27 ... KSU 26
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Texas BADLY needs a win this weekend to build some momentum for the program.
There's no doubt the Longhorns have enough talent on the roster to beat the Wildcats, but history shows that has been the case in almost every loss to K-State over the last several years.
For whatever reason, Texas does not know how to win in Manhattan, Kansas. The last time the Longhorns left Bill Snyder Family Stadium with a W was 2002. (To put that into perspective, some starters on the 2016 squad were probably still wetting the bed.)
In my opinion, Bill Snyder is one of the best coaches in college football history. He has consistently done more with less than probably any other D-I coach.
You can always count on Snyder's Wildcats to be disciplined and not make many mistakes. A young team going through adversity is going to have a tough time against such discipline.
And that's where Texas stands.
Another slow start on offense will be devastating for Texas against this K-State defense, which managed to hold West Virginia, the nation's No. 7 total offense, to just 17 points.
A way for the offense to get rolling early will be if the defense can play with fire from opening kick.
One of Kansas State's biggest questions this season is on offense - particularly at quarterback. No matter what QB is on the field for the Wildcats, the Longhorns absolutely need to put on the pressure early and often.
Honestly, I fully believe the Longhorns SHOULD be able to beat the Wildcats ... I just don't know if they will, especially being on the road.
K-STATE 33 ... TEXAS 30
ALLEN PERKINS, HD CONTRIBUTOR
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The UT defense was much improved last week. Coverage, tackling, pass rush and communication all improved. Thanks magical wristbands!
Here’s hoping the belief is growing.
K-State's bread-and-butter is the QB run game, and the Wildcats now have a banged up QB in Jesse Ertz (throwing shoulder), and a backup QB in Joe Hubener, who doesn't run very well (but loves to throw deep).
WR Byron Pringle (6-2, 212) is dangerous in the open field. KSU is creative on offense and defenses have to be aware of all the angles Bill Snyder uses to attack defenses.
You hear how KSU does not beat itself, but the Wildcats absolutely gave away the game in a 17-16 loss to West Virginia. KSU led that game 16-3 in the fourth quarter.
KSU is #1 nationally in red zone efficiency, scoring 19 TDs and 9 FGs on 28 RZ trips. KSU is +7 in turnover margin (compared to Texas' minus-3), so the defense has created opportunities for the K-State offense.
UT will win if it can break even in the trenches. The Longhorns' advantage is through the air. K-State's secondary has been inconsistent and has given up some big plays.
Oklahoma's Dede Westbrook didn't just torch Texas - he torched K-State, too, last week (9 catches, 184 yards, 3 TDs).
As long as the Texas offense doesn't take too long to get going, the Longhorns are the more talented team. UT is improving fundamentally, therefore…