Kansas State entered Saturday’s matchup with Texas looking for a faster start than in its previous Big 12 games. That’s exactly what the Wildcats got, and it was the biggest reason for K-State’s 24-21 victory over the Longhorns at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
K-State jumped to a 21-7 halftime lead and overcame three turnovers in the second half to defeat Texas at home for the fifth straight time.
“We played reasonably well in the first half and made a lot of mistakes in the second half,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “The consistency has to get better.”
On the heels of the team’s most lopsided loss of the season, a 38-17 defeat at No. 19 Oklahoma, the Wildcats were fired up from the get-go on both sides of the ball.
K-State (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) opened the game with a nine-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that ended with a Jesse Ertz touchdown run.
Ertz had his best game passing of the season, completing 20 of 27 attempts for 171 yards and a touchdown.
“He played fine, but not like he is capable of playing,” Snyder said. “He had some throws that were a little soft, and he’ll be stronger next week. But I thought he played extremely well in the first half.”
Byron Pringle had his best game of the season, catching four passes for 42 yards and a critical touchdown with nine seconds left in the first half.
The Texas offense was victimized by its defense’s inability to get off the field. K-State held a massive advantage in time of possession, particularly in the first half.
Longhorn quarterback Shane Buechele was 17 of 24 for 222 yards, while running back D’Onte Foreman totalled 124 yards on the ground.
But as an offense, Texas (3-4, 1-3) was held to 344 yards. It entered the game averaging 500 on the season.
“This was a really big game for us,” K-State linebacker Elijah Lee said. “It wasn’t a bad day for the defense. We wanted to start building some momentum and we were able to do that.”
K-State had multiple chances to put the game away in the second half. The offense continued to drive the ball, but two fumbles and an interception kept the Wildcats out of the end zone.
Charles Jones rushed for 81 yards on just 12 carries, but on his last attempt, the ball was forced out of his arms as he attempted to cross the goal line. The score would have given K-State a 28-7 advantage in the third quarter.
For every K-State mistake, however, the Longhorns made one themselves. Texas kicker Trent Domingue missed a 35-yard field goal that would have brought the Longhorns within 24-17 with four minutes left.
The Wildcats head to Iowa State next Saturday in search of their first road win of the season.