In a meeting between a pair of 3-3 conference foes with identical 1-2 Big 12 records, the Texas Longhorns head to Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday morning, looking to topple Kansas State for the first time in Manhattan since 2002.
Last year’s meeting in Austin saw the Longhorns prevail 23-9, but Charlie Strong’s debut in the Little Apple marked Texas’ first of two shutouts under Strong, as the ‘Horns were sent back to the Lone Star State with a 23-0 blemish on what was then a 3-5 record.
But the two teams set to take the field Saturday morning are far from the product that met only a year ago—primarily a Texas offense that’s taken off for the better under first-year coordinator Sterlin Gilbert.
Can a Texas rushing attack that’s been chewing up yards left and right behind the legs of D’Onta Foreman do the same against a K-State defense ranked fourth in the country (90.3 YPG)?
Will a sub-par Wildcats’ passing game take advantage of what has primarily been a exploitable Texas secondary?
Can Shane Buechele be the first Texas quarterback since Chris Simms to walk into Manhattan and leave with a victory?
- Texas is seeking to overcome history on the road against Kansas State.
There was a time this season when Kansas State’s defense looked to be among the nation’s most imposing, but conference play has since arrived and the Wildcats’ have allowed 508 yards and 31 points per game in three Big 12 meetings. While that’s life in the pass-happy Big 12, K-State has still managed to hold each of its first six opponents well below their scoring average, allowing 19.5 fewer points per game.
The Wildcats’ passing defense has faltered since entering conference play, getting torched for 400 yards per game through the air, but the rushing defense has remained dominant, as its 90.3 yard-per-game efforts headline the Big 12 and rank fourth nationally.
- Devin Duvernay is emerging as a deep threat for the ‘Horns.
High expectations accompanied Texas Longhorns wide receiver Devin Duvernay to Austin as one of the summer additions from the Baylor Bears, a result of his 10.27 speed in the 100 meters and ranking as the consensus No. 4 wide receiver in the country.
Six games into the 5’11, 195-pounder’s college career, he’s already emerging as the team’s most dangerous deep threat with wide receiver John Burt mostly sidelined because of injuries and ineffectiveness.
- Texas vs. Kansas State: BON staff predictions.
- Offensive play-calling may determine Texas’ fate vs. K-State.
In an ideal situation, had Texas ran the ball on the respective 3rd and 3 and 4th and 1 and converted each, the ‘Horns could have potentially finished with as many as 11 more points on the evening. Again, Texas obviously didn’t need those additional 11 points to outlast Iowa State, but facing Kansas State in Manhattan will be a different ball game against one of the nation’s premier defenses.
- A Burnt Orange Nation Q&A with Bring On The Cats.
BOTC: I can't really bring myself to even suggest that Texas will win. After all, it's only happened once in Manhattan in my lifetime. But if Ertz is unable to go, or is limited, and if Buechele is able to hit some big plays to a pretty talented pack of Longhorn receivers, K-State may actually have to rely on some wizardry to get out with a win. This may — should, really — be the closest game up north between the two teams since 2002.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Time: 11:00 AM CT
Commentary: Beth Mowins will call the game while Anthony Becht will provide analysis. Rocky Boiman will be on the sidelines.
Radio: Sirius channel 119, XM channel 200 and online channel 954
Online Streaming: WatchESPN
Weather: 77 degrees
Odds: Texas (-1.5)