Amid a season that’s officially falling short of expectations and near-constant discussions of a potential coaching change in Austin, the Texas Longhorns still have a football game to play, visiting the Kansas State Wildcats in hopes of a bounce-back win.
The BON staff got together to discuss whether or not we expect to see an inspired performance, what makes this matchup interesting, and more.
Texas’ loss to Iowa State eliminated them from the Big 12 title picture, rumors of Tom Herman being replaced are swirling, and now team captains in OT Sam Cosmi and S Caden Sterns have opted out. With little left to play for his season and tons of noise surrounding the program, do you expect to see an inspired performance on Saturday?
Anthony — There’s been no lack of effort from Texas ever since the disastrous 1-2 start, but circumstances have certainly changed with the Big 12 championship out of the picture now. I don’t expect this team to completely give up on the season because of a few opt-outs, especially with players like Ossai and Overshown still out there on defense. Every game presents a new opportunity for those guys to showcase their NFL talent.
Curry — I think Texas will play hard on Saturday. For pride, if nothing else. Expecting a close and admirable loss.
Gerald — There are a lot of players with a lot of pride on this roster. That being said, this has the makings of a frustrating game to watch as a Texas fan. I am having these weird flashbacks to TCU of 2016 where Texas should have mopped the floor with their opponent, but the season ended a week before and they just came out flat.
Given that there isn’t too much left to play for in comparison to last week, what about this matchup with KSU has your interest and will be something to watch for?
Anthony — True freshman safety Jerrin Thompson and offensive tackle Andrej Karic are expected to be in the rotation as backups — keep an eye out for No. 28 and No. 69.
Curry — Any young players getting additional reps. Will be interesting to see the OL without Cosmi. Maybe some QB reps from someone other than Sam?
Gerald — From looking at the depth chart, it seems like there are some young guys that will likely get playing time. Andrej Karic is a player I want to see where he’s at in a redshirt year, because I feel he’s probably the next guy up that comes to Texas fairly unheralded and leaves as a draftable tackle prospect.
Kansas State has dropped four straight games. What can Texas capitalize on to bounce back and ensure that K-State’s season ends with yet another loss?
Anthony — Scoring touchdowns instead of settling for field goals is always a start — something Texas failed to do against Iowa State. Brennan Eagles should be able to build on his career game from last week against K-State’s undersized cornerbacks. I’d expect him and Bijan Robinson to be heavily involved in the offensive gameplan.
Curry — If Texas doesn’t sleepwalk through the first three quarters on offense, it should win by two touchdowns.
Gerald — Will Howard is not a good passer. I really think if Texas can limit Howard’s feet and bottle up Deuce Vaughn, they can win fairly easily.
Texas will enter the game as a touchdown (7.0) favorite, and every Big 12 game they have played aside from the 27-16 win over Baylor has been decided by a single score. Are you taking the over or under, and why?
Anthony — Texas and the points just because Kansas State has been outscored by nearly three touchdowns on average in their last four games. They aren’t the same team they were when Skylar Thompson was at quarterback.
Curry — KSU moneyline.
Prediction time: Does a Texas team no longer competing for a conference title still come away from Manhattan with a win?
Anthony — Yes, but it might just be Herman’s last win at Texas... And his potential future successor will be on the pregame/postgame show for this one.
Curry — No. Saturday is about mentally prepping for Sunday’s basketball showdown against Villanova.
Gerald — I think this is less about Texas playing well and about how bad Kansas State has been in recent weeks. I think Texas can win on flat-out talent, but it will probably be tighter than it should be.