Third Quarter Quagmire

The third quarter started so perfectly for Texas. And ended so perfectly for Kansas State.

The Kansas State Wildcats blitzed the Longhorns for 21 points in the third period Saturday night in Manhattan, scoring 14 points following Texas fumbles and seven points after a blocked punt, exploding to a 42-21 lead from which the Longhorns never recovered.

Trailing 21-14 at halftime, the Longhorns burst from the locker room. The Wildcats went three and out on their first drive in the second half, and Michael Griffin promptly blocked the school-record eighth punt of his career, setting up the Longhorns at the Kansas State five yard-line.

Selvin Young rushed into the end zone on the first play, tying the score and giving Texas some much-desired – and long-awaited – momentum. After the Texas kickoff, Kansas State again went three-and-out, but the ensuing drive saw Jamaal Charles lose a fumble inside the Wildcats' 20 yard-line.

The turnover ignited the Wildcats, who attacked the Longhorns with a three-play, 74-yard touchdown drive that ended when Leon Patton hit Cedrick Wilson for the score on a halfback pass. Suddenly, Texas trailed again. So much for the newly-captured momentum.

And the Wildcats weren't through just yet.

Selvin Young picked up a first down for Texas, then lost a fumble as well, and impressive Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman took advantage of that miscue with a 30-yard touchdown strike to Yamon Figurs with 6:53 left in the third period. Now the Wildcats led by two touchdowns, 35-21.

And just when Texas thought things couldn't get worse, it did. Greg Johnson's punt following the next drive was blocked, giving Kansas State the ball at the Texas 23-yard-line. The Wildcats' quick drive ended with a one yard Freeman touchdown keeper, and Texas trailed 42-21 with 4:39 left to play in the third period.

The Wildcats cooled considerably on offense thereafter, but by then, the damage had been done. Gone was the Longhorns' 21-game Big 12 winning streak, and any hopes of a national championship game berth.

Two lost fumbles, one blocked punt. Two Kansas State drives that started at the Texas 30 and 23 yard-lines, respectively. Twenty-one unanswered points. Looking for a sure-fire recipe to cook up a loss? This was it.

Afterwards, Mack Brown was typically upbeat despite the loss. He's coached long enough to know that 21-point gifts are usually way too much to overcome.

"It's always hard to play on the road," Brown said. "And when everything was negative, we answered positively. I was proud of Jevan (Snead) and how he played when Colt (McCoy) got hurt. We fought back after that tough period in the middle of the third quarter.

"We just told everybody to keep playing. We've won a whole lot of games, and even with that rough period in the third quarter, we still nearly pulled it out. I thought we just ran out of time."

Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis had the unenviable task of crafting a comeback with a true freshman quarterback following the third quarter onslaught. And although he didn't like the ultimate result, he was impressed by what he saw of Snead.

"I told him after the game that I was proud of the way he competed when we fell behind," Davis said. "He played hard, and he did a good job of taking care of the football. He got more and more comfortable as the game went on, that was pretty clear. I thought he did some good things.

"I was proud of how our team rallied around him, too. And he threw some great balls late in the game."

But after the third quarter Wildcat wave that hit Texas, it was too much to overcome.


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