Longhorns fall to Kansas State, below .500

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MANHATTAN, KAN. – Fireworks went off and the chant, “We own Texas” echoed throughout Bill Snyder Family Memorial Stadium Saturday night after Kansas State beat Texas 39-14.

With the win, Kansas State is bowl eligible for the first time in three years.

The Longhorns came into Saturday night’s game with a 4-4 record, hoping to put their past behind them. But trouble started immediately.

Kansas State tailback William Powell, the nation’s top-ranked kickoff returnee, fielded the opening kick for 62 yards in front of a crowd of 46,734. Two plays later, tailback Daniel Thomas ran the ball in for a 38-yard touchdown. Kansas State was on the board in the first 53 seconds of the game.

“Since I’m a linebacker, if they score on a running play I feel like it’s my fault,” junior Emmanuel Acho said. “Especially on that play. It wasn’t the way the defense wanted to start the game. That was huge momentum for them and a horrible momentum shift for us.”

The Longhorns’ nightmares continued all game long as Kansas State ran the ball down their throats for a total of 261 yards. With starting quarterback Carson Coffman out, backup Collin Klein played and accounted for 151 of those rushing yards. Thomas had 107.

“The offense surprised us because the quarterback did not play,” head coach Mack Brown said. “We knew that number seven [Klein] was a good runner and that they put him in some on third down, but we did not expect to see him every snap.”

Texas’ defense couldn’t hold the duo of Thomas and Klein, but the offense didn’t help out.

In the first quarter, running back Fozzy Whittaker rushed for two consecutive first downs, but then offensive coordinator Greg Davis opted for the passing game. On the next two plays, quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw one of his 27 incomplete passes to tight end Barrett Matthews and then a completion to receiver James Kirkendoll, but he was called for a holding penalty and the series fizzled.

Gilbert, who had one of his best performances of the year last week against Baylor, threw five interceptions – three in the first half and two in the second as he completed 32 of 59 passes. Many of his incomplete passes were overthrown balls that the receivers had no chance of catching. However, Gilbert did have a career-high 93 rushing yards on five carries.

Despite Gilbert’s turnovers, the coaches did not put in backup Case McCoy.

“We thought about it in the fourth quarter,” Davis said. “But then we got a drive going and wanted Garrett to finish it.”

Texas’ biggest goal for the rest of the year is to get at least two more wins to become bowl eligible. The last time the Longhorns did not play in the post-season was in 1997.

“We’re in a hole and we’re trying to get out of it,” Acho said. “We’re scratching and we’re clawing and we’re fighting.”