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Game Preview: Texas vs. Kansas State

Photo: Scott Sewell, USA TODAY Sports

For the 14th time since both teams joined the Big 12, Texas and Kansas State will play in hopes of competing for a conference championship. The Wildcats bring an interesting statistic into Saturday’s matchup – they are the only team in the conference with a winning record against the Longhorns. Texas has a positive win-loss record against every other team in the Big 12 except for Kansas State, and fans can rest assured that Bill Snyder’s squad will put forth tremendous effort to keep that going.

Fortunately for the Longhorns, the game will be played at home at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium at 6 P.M.  The venue is an important factor in this series because Texas has won just four times against K-State since joining the Big 12, and only 1 of those wins has come in Manhattan, Kansas.

In short, by hosting the Wildcats, Texas stands a much greater chance of winning than they would if the game took place in the Manhattan, Kansas. With that being said, the Longhorns are not without their fair share of woes heading into this game.

In the match-up against the USC almost 3 weeks ago, Texas suffered arguably their biggest loss of the year when starting left tackle and future NFL prospect Connor Williams went down with a sprained MCL and PCL while also tearing the meniscus in his left knee.

Coach Herman made a huge announcement when it was revealed that Williams will go the rehab route in lieu of surgery, hoping to make his return later in the season. Since Williams obviously won’t be ready to return on Saturday, head coach Tom Herman retooled his offensive line last week in hopes of patching up a unit devoid of two starters.

And to say the offensive line play last week against Iowa State was not good, would be an understatement. Shane Buechele, returning from a bruised throwing shoulder last Thursday, tried his best to escape pressure that an inexperienced and challenged offensive line could not keep off his back.

Buechele sprained his ankle in the win over the Cyclones and is in a walking boot, but is not expected to miss practice time heading into Saturday’s match-up. With the Longhorns’ starting quarterback hobbled with an ankle injury, a depleted offensive line, a running game that still isn’t completely there and a defensive front with little to no depth, Texas could be in for a bigger battle than expected.

Kansas State has won 3 out of 5 games in Austin, and that momentum may carry through Saturday’s game. While Kansas State narrowly escaped winless Baylor last weekend, they aren’t counting out the Longhorns and will be game-ready at the 6:00 pm kickoff.

Texas stands at a 3.5-point favorite over the Wildcats, a line which has decreased from 7-points when the opening Vegas line was released.

Will Texas still be in contention for the Big 12 when the game-clock strikes zero on Saturday, or will they have another losing record headed into the heated match-up with rival Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl?

Texas and Kansas State kicks off at 6:00 pm on Saturday in Austin and will be televised on FS1.


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Ross Labenske is a student at the University of Texas studying journalism with a focus in sports. He graduated from Allen High School and has a passion for his hometown teams in the Dallas area; the Mavericks, Rangers, and first and foremost, the Dallas Cowboys.

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