Another big lead, another bad second half, but this time, the No. 24 Texas Longhorns were able to hold on, outlasting the No. 13 Kansas State Wildcats, 34-27.
Here are a few initial thoughts from the Longhorns narrow road win.
Bijan was at his best. Just eight yards shy of a new career-high effort, Robinson recorded his second 200-yard game and the Longhorns needed every one of them. The explosiveness, the wiggle to squeeze out a few more yards, fighting for more in key touches — it was vintage Bijan in a game Texas absolutely had to win. Robinson turned his 32 total carries into 241 yards, proving to be the best player on the field and spearheading Texas’ much-needed road win.
Texas is back bowling. Another near collapse — more on that in a second — will take a bit of the thrill out of the win, but Texas solidified some progress in Year 2 under Steve Sarkisian, improving to 6-3 to reach bowl eligibility. Despite the issues closing, Sark recently said he liked the direction his program is headed, and with today’s win, it’s now definitively trending up from 2021.
Texas is still struggling to exorcise its second-half demons. Texas didn’t collapse entirely on Saturday, but they damn sure tried to. A 31-10 halftime lead turned into Texas surviving 34-27 in the final seconds, and getting in their own way several times along the way. A last-second win on the road over the No. 13 team is a win, but that doesn’t erase that fact that Texas still looks like the shaky team that continues to collapses time and time again. Getting outscored 17-3 in the second half just isn’t good enough if Texas ceiling is to go much higher this year.
This was arguably the the most significant win of the Sark era. 49-0 over Oklahoma is the other obvious choice, but given the context, this was a massive win for the program. a Texas team that was just 1-6 on the road under Sark went into Manhattan and knocked off the No. 13 team, and never trailed, despite trying to blow another lead. But they didn’t, making just enough plays to win, and thus, they’re bowl eligible and back in control of their destiny in the Big 12. To see the forest for the trees, Texas’ win puts them in prime position in the Big 12 with just three games remaining and that’s about as much as could realistically be hoped for entering the year. Now, just finish.