MANHATTAN, Kan. – For Kansas State it was a tale of two halves, as the Wildcats rallied for 14 unanswered points in the second half while pitching a shutout, but it wasn’t enough as Texas escaped with a 19-14 victory in front of 49,916 fans at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday.
Trailing 19-0 at halftime, K-State (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) found touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Skylar Thompson and junior running back Alex Barnes in the second half, while the defense held Texas to 148 yards and no points in the second half. The Longhorns were able to run out the clock late in the game to secure the victory.
The Wildcat offense totaled 217 yards of total offense, including 107 yards on the ground. Thompson completed 8-of-18 passing for 96 yards and a rushing touchdown, all after halftime. Throughout the entirety of the game, the Wildcats did not commit a penalty, marking the first time since a game against Auburn on September 18, 2014.
Texas (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) benefitted from a 19-point first-half performance, including a 90-yard punt return touchdown from freshman D’Shawn Jamison. Offensively, the Longhorns totaled 339 yards of offense, including 226 yards through the air, as sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger completed 29-of-36 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After defeating No. 17 TCU a week ago, the No. 18 Texas Longhorns continued to make plays against the Wildcats on Saturday, where the first score of the game came on a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown by Jamison to give the Longhorns a 7-0 lead with 5:25 left in the first quarter.
On their next offensive possession, Texas opened up the second quarter with another score, after driving 89 yards to the end zone. The score came on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ehlinger to junior wide receiver Collin Johnson to increase their lead to 14-0 with 14:03 left in the half.
After scores on special teams and offense, the Longhorn defense provided some points in the second quarter, sacking junior quarterback Alex Delton in the end zone for a safety. Texas would also tack on a field goal in the second quarter to increase their lead to 19-0 at halftime.
In the first half, the Longhorns led the way with 191 total yards, including 136 yards through the air. The Wildcats struggled to get anything going on offense, accumulating just 64 yards and 50 yards through the rushing game.
After the halftime break, the Wildcats went with Thompson at quarterback, who led the Wildcats out to a score on their first possession of the second half. Thompson took the designed quarterback run around the edge and found the pylon with an acrobatic dive for a 7-yard touchdown to bring the score to 19-7 with 11:13 remaining in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats found another spark behind a 16-play, 70-yard drive that resulted in their second touchdown of the game. After a scoreless first half, K-State found the end zone behind a touchdown rush out of the Wildcat formation by junior running back Alex Barnes on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line. The touchdown brought the Wildcats within a score, as the Longhorns led 19-14 with 9:55 remaining in the game.
Needing a defensive stop late in the game, Texas was able to force K-State into a three-and-out with 6:20 remaining. The Longhorns were able to run the clock out by converting on three first downs, including a 12-yard rush by Ehlinger in the waning minutes.
The Wildcats totaled 217 total yards of offense, including 107 on the ground. The Longhorns ended the game with 339 total yards of offense, including 228 yards through the air. Ehlinger completed 29-of-36 passing, throwing for 207 yards and a touchdown.
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Skylar Thompson – After entering at quarterback in the second half, Thompson punched the ball into the end zone on the Wildcats’ first offensive possession of the half, taking a designed quarterback run around the edge and diving for the pylon for a 7-yard touchdown rush. Through the air, Thompson completed 8-of-18 passing for 96 yards.
Alex Barnes – The Wildcat running back upped his career-rushing yardage to 1,618 career yards on Saturday, moving him into 14th all-time on the K-State career rushing list. Barnes also scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter on Saturday, marking his 15th career touchdown.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Reggie Walker – The Wildcat junior came up with two sacks for the Wildcats on Saturday, including a forced fumble on Ehlinger in the second quarter. Walker’s two sacks tie a career high for him, as he also accumulated four tackles in the game, including two that were behind the line of scrimmage.
SPECIAL TEAMS STAR OF THE GAME
A.J. Parker – In the third quarter, Parker pressured a Texas punt, resulting in a block that turned into a 17-yard punt. The block was the first blocked punt by a Wildcat since Jayd Kirby had a block against Oklahoma State in 2015.
STAT OF THE GAME
54 – The Wildcat streak without allowing a punt-return touchdown ended at 54 games on Saturday, as Texas’ D’Shawn Jamison returned a punt for a 90-yard touchdown in the first quarter.