Eight-game losing streak. A conference road losing streak since 2008 covering 56 straight Big 12 games. One of the worst programs in the country.
Despite all the mediocrity for the Kansas Jayhawks since the heights of Mark Magino era, head coach Lance Leipold’s team came into Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday evening and defeated the Texas Longhorns, 57-56, on a scrambling throw from backup quarterback Jalon Daniels in overtime to convert the game-ending two-point attempt.
Under first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Longhorns now have the program’s first five-game losing streak since 1956, when Texas went 1-9 under Edwin Price, whose termination following the season led to the hire of Darrell K Royal.
It was only the fourth loss to Kansas in Texas program history — the last ended the tenure of Charlie Strong after four seasons and the loss before that came in 1938.
After Kansas scored two touchdowns in the first quarter while possessing the ball for more than 12 minutes. Texas responded with two touchdowns to tie, one led by junior quarterback Casey Thompson, who started the game, and the second by redshirt freshman Hudson Card, who came in during the third series.
Late in the second quarter, however, the Longhorns completely melted down. Kansas defensive end Kyron Johnson caused his second fumble of the first half when he stripped Card on a 3rd and 8 following the third Jayhawks touchdown. Johnson beat redshirt freshman left tackle Andrej Karic on the play after beating junior left tackle Christian Jones to strip Thompson on the opening Texas drive. So Johnson beat two different left tackles to force fumbles by two different Longhorns quarterbacks.
Kansas scored a touchdown three plays later, then Card stared down his intended receiver on the first play of the ensuing drive, leading to a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jacobee Bryant.
On the ensuing kickoff, freshman running back Jonathon Brooks carelessly knocked the ball out of bounds at the Texas 2-yard line. But at least Thompson didn’t commit another turnover after replacing Card, allowing the Longhorns to head into halftime down a mere 35-14 against a program that entered the game averaging 15.1 points per game.
Texas battled back in the second half, scoring 21 points in the third quarter and 14 points in the fourth quarter despite dealing with an ugly forearm injury suffered by sophomore running back Bijan Robinson and an apparent shoulder injury suffered by Brooks.
Junior running back Roschon Johnson battled through a turf toe injury to run for 37 yards on six carries and Thompson went 30-for-43 passing for 358 yards and six touchdowns in a gutsy performance — Thompson’s injured right thumb appeared to bother him through the game.
The Texas quarterback received big boosts from freshman wide receiver Xavier Worthy, who was targeted 22 times, catching 14 passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns, and junior wide receiver Marcus Washington, who finished with five catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Texas trailed by 14 points with 8:36 remaining after a back-breaking drive by Kansas, but responded with a touchdown before Leipold made the questionable decision to go for it on 4th and 1 from the Kansas 34-yard line. With a chance to tie the game, Thompson threw an interception at the goal line.
The beleaguered defense got another stop, allowing Thompson to tie the game with a 25-yard touchdown pass to super senior tight end Cade Brewer and send it to overtime.
A difficult catch by Washington off his shoestrings put the Longhorns ahead, but he was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after spinning the football following his touchdown reception, giving Kansas the ball on the 12-yard line.
The Jayhawks scored, went for two, and converted with the remarkable play by Daniels after super senior safety Brenden Schooler failed to come up with a game-ending interception in the end zone on second down.
And so the Longhorns suffered one of the most embarrassing losses in program history.