Johnathon Gray scored two rushing touchdowns and the Texas Defense forced three Kansas State turnovers as the Longhorns held off a late charge to beat the Wildcats 31-21 in the Big 12 opener for both teams before 95,248 Saturday night at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium.
Texas put up 10 first quarter points thanks to a 27-yard Field Goal by Anthony Fera and a 63-yard touchdown pass from Quarterback David Ash to a wide open Kendall Sanders. With K-State’s offense inconsistent and unable to put together a drive through much of the first half, the Longhorns extended the lead to 17-0 on Gray’s 21-yard run with 3:02 left before halftime. K-State then answered with a solid drive set up by a long pass from Quarterback Jake Waters to Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett who registered 13 catches for a school-record 237 yards despite not scoring a touchdown. Running Back John Hubert scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 15-yard scamper and K-State went into intermission trailing only 17-7.
The Wildcats appeared to be generating momentum to start the second half but Hubert fumbled a pitch from Waters and Texas turned that miscue into a score a short time later when Gray scored from 15 yards out to make the score 24-7. Hubert’s four-yard run early in the fourth quarter brought the Cats back to within 24-14 but Texas answered once again on a one-yard run by Malcolm Brown. Waters then scored on a one-yard run to make the score 31-21 with seven minutes remaining. K-State then had two excellent opportunities in the red zone in the game’s closing minutes. The Wildcats with just under three minutes left moved to the Texas seven-yard line but Waters fumbled at the four to kill that drive. Then after spending all three timeouts to conserve the clock on Texas’ next possession, Tramaine Thompson returned a punt deep into Longhorn territory but Waters fumbled again and Texas snapped their five-game losing streak against K-State.
Waters saw the majority of the snaps on Offense for K-State finishing 19 of 30 passing for 275 yards, he also ran the ball 18 times for 26 yards. Backup Quarterback Daniel Sams ran eight times for 48 yards and did not throw a pass. On the Texas side, Ash did not return after halftime appearing to have suffered a concussion. He was replaced by Case McCoy.
K-State’s last loss to Texas before Saturday night was a 24-20 decision on October 4, 2003 also in Austin. The Wildcats also lost a conference opener for the first time since 2008. K-State is off next week and returns to action on October 5 at Oklahoma State.
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