Texas was so concerned about the Kansas State running game that they stacked the box which allowed Kansas State to have success in the passing game early. On the Wildcats first set of downs they were facing a third down which led to a 70-yard touchdown pass from QB Skylar Thompson to WR Malik Knowles.
After touchdowns on its first two drives, Kansas State had four consecutive possessions without points including one that ended in a turnover. The passing game that was so effective early all but disappeared and the Wildcats did not have their usual success on the ground. Skylar Thompson started visibly complaining about what he thought were defensive penalties not being called on incomplete passes.
The loss drops Kansas State to 3-3 in the Big 12 and 6-3 overall. The loss ends any thought the Wildcats had of making a surprising appearance in the Big 12 Championship game in Chris Klieman’s first season. They drop to the middle of the conference in a tie with Oklahoma State and possibly Iowa State if they lose at Oklahoma as expected.
With Texas leading 17-14 in the fourth quarter, Kansas State was forced to punt. Texas’ Brandon Jones returned the punt 52 yards to the Kansas State 21. The punt return set up a Longhorns touchdown to increase their lead to 24-14.
WR Malik Knowles caught a short pass on the third play from scrimmage and took it 70 yards for a touchdown to give Kansas State a quick 7-0 lead. Knowles finished with three receptions for 94 yards and one touchdown.
WR Dalton Schoen had 68 yards receiving on five receptions.
DB Walter Neil had a big interception at the goal line near the end of the third quarter with Texas up three points to keep the Wildcat deficit to one possession.
KR Joshua Youngblood returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. The score cut the Wildcats deficit to just three points.
Room for Improvement
QB Skylar Thompson hit his receivers in stride and put Kansas State up 14-0 before Texas touched the ball for their second possession. After that he didn’t do much. Thompson finished with 253 yards and two touchdowns through the air but struggled in the second half. He also rushed the ball seven times for 0 yards.
Texas beat the Kansas State defense early in the second quarter on a flea flicker just outside of the red zone. The Wildcats bit on the run and we’re beat because of it.
Kansas State committed some uncharacteristic mistakes on offense. Mason Barta fumbled for just the fourth offensive turnover on the season. TE Nick Lenners dropped a wide open pass opportunity on a third down as he tried to run for a first down before catching the ball.
Kansas State had uncharacteristically poor tackling in the second half.
Kansas State returns home Saturday to face West Virginia at 2:30pm.