Photo Courtesy: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Wow is all you can say. After galloping to a big 20-point third quarter lead, the Longhorns woke up to find themselves in a 30-30 tied ballgame, heading into overtime, against the 23rd-ranked Kansas State Wildcats. After stalling on offense and settling for a 42-yard Bert Auburn field goal to reclaim the lead, the Longhorns defense made the stand of their season with their backs against the wall, settling the score at 33-30 in the overtime win.
Before any need of nearby Austin-based cardiologists, the Longhorns possessed a 27-7 lead over the Wildcats with 4:13 left in the third quarter following a 49-yard field goal make from Texas’ junior kicker Bert Auburn. Led by an impressive touch on the deep ball by Longhorns quarterback Maalik Murphy, and an explosive play by freshman running back CJ Baxter, the team was set to close the door early against Kansas State.
However, this game was not one without flaws, even before the comeback by the Wildcats. After Maalik Murphy’s third quarter interception on a screen pass, his second of the day, the Wildcats clawed away at Texas’ lead with a quick score on Kansas State quarterback Will Howard’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Keagan Johnson. To add insult to injury, even Mr. Reliable Jonathon Brooks had an uncharacteristic fumble on the next drive, which set up Will Howard with a 32-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Jayce Brown with 12:37 left in the fourth quarter. Following Brown’s touchdown for Kansas State, the score was tied at 27-27.
The Texas defense did their best on Saturday, even considering the fact that Kansas State was able to score 30 points. Time and time again, defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski’s group was asked to bail out the offense and come up with a stop – even with the ball in their own territory. But, overall, the group limited the damage with an interception by defensive back Michael Taaffe and a fumble recovery by linebacker Jaylan Ford. And, ultimately, when faced with a challenge on fourth-and-four at the goal line in overtime, the Longhorns defense prevailed by forcing an errant throw from Howard. The defense saved the game and, potentially, even the season with the final stop.
Now, the Longhorns can set their eyes on Ft. Worth, TX where the team will be facing off against the TCU Horned Frogs next Saturday. With an 8-1 record, Texas’ dreams of making it to the Big 12 Conference championship game will live to see another game. Including TCU, there are only three regular season games remaining on Texas’ schedule. Of course, the Longhorns must focus on every single game in which they play, but their goals are still very much in reach.
- QB Maalik Murphy: 19/37, 248 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- RB Jonathon Brooks: 22 carries, 112 rushing yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble
- RB CJ Baxter: 10 carries, 90 yards, 1 TD
- WR Adonai Mitchell: 8 receptions, 149 receiving yards, 1 TD
- LB Jaylan Ford: 8 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
- DB Michael Taaffe: 7 tackles, 1 INT
- EDGE Ethan Burke: 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble