No. 16 K-State rallied from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to tie the game, but Texas clinched a 27-24 win against the Wildcats with a field goal as time expired on Saturday at Texas Memorial Stadium.
Joshua Youngblood injected K-State (6-3, 3-3) with new life early in the fourth quarter, as the true freshman receiver broke off a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. It ended Texas’ run of 24 unanswered points and cut the Wildcat deficit to three, 24-21.
K-State’s defense followed suit by forcing a three-and-out, which led to a 45-yard field goal from Blake Lynch to even the game.
Texas answered with the game-winning drive, keyed by a conversion on third-and-14. The Longhorns, who went 67 yards in 13 plays to eat up the final 6:45 of the game, drug the clock down to three seconds before Cameron Dicker notched the game-winner from 26 yards out to end K-State’s three-game winning streak.
“I thought we played well. It was two really good football teams that went at it. I’m proud of the guys. I’m proud of the resolve, being down two scores,” K-State head coach Chris Klieman said. “It stinks to lose. There are no moral victories. That’s not what we’re about, but I’m so proud of the way we fought. I told the guys, ‘I think we’re a really good football team and Texas is a really good football team. I think we proved we belong on any stage there is.’”
K-State got off to the exact start it needed. The Wildcats scored the game’s first two touchdowns, including one on the third play from scrimmage, to take an early 14-0 lead.
After a pair of runs to start the game, Skylar Thompson found redshirt freshman receiver Malik Knowles on a wheel route out of the backfield for a 70-yard touchdown. Knowles finished with 94 yards receiving on three catches.
“We got a big score and, in a game like this, especially with them coming off an open week and having two weeks to prepare and being healthier, we had to get off to a fast start,” Klieman said. “I’m really happy with how the guys jumped out on them.”
Thompson, who finished with a career-high 253 passing yards on 17-of-27 through the air, then engineered an eight-play, 63-yard touchdown drive. The redshirt junior quarterback capped it with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Wykeen Gill for an early two-score advantage. Dalton Schoen, who finished with five catches for 68 yards, snagged a pair of third passes on this drive for 35 of those yards.
K-State’s offensive hit a wall afterward, however.
On their first two drives, the Wildcats picked up 138 yards of offense on 11 plays (12.5 yards a play). They managed just 136 yards on their next six drives, 34 plays in all (4.0 yards a play). K-State was also limited to a season-low rushing total of 51 yards on 26 attempts.
“We had to throw it because they were going to run blitz us to death. They’ve got a really good (defensive) front, and they just blitzed us as much as they could, which is great because you have chances at some big plays. We were able to throw some hitches and stuff outside and obviously got the big play to Malik, and they blitzed on the throw to Wykeen for a touchdown,” Klieman said. “If we’re going to run the ball like we did (against Kansas), we have to anticipate them bringing everybody, and that’s what they did. We’ve got to find some things to be able to find some explosive plays.”
Texas scored on only one of its five series in the first half, an 80-yard touchdown drive that accounted for nearly half of its total yards (162) at the break. The Longhorns picked up steam in the second half, tallying 315 yards and 20 points in the final two quarters against K-State, which will return home to host West Virginia on Saturday, November 16 at 2:30 p.m.
“We had a chance to go 2-0 on this road trip. I’m disappointed that we didn’t, but I told the guys, ‘So, now what?’” Klieman said. “We have a lot to play for. I think we’re a really good team that’s getting better every week. I think everybody can see that. We’re excited to come back home to our great fans.”