The Texas Longhorns just can't figure out Kansas State.
The No. 16 Wildcats outlasted Texas, 17-13, to win their fourth in a row in the series and spoil senior night for the Longhorns on Saturday at Royal-Memorial Stadium. KSU is the only Big 12 team with a winning record (7-5) against Texas, which lost its second straight game.
The Longhorns (6-4; 3-4 Big 12) failed to capitalize on a gritty performance from the defense, as the offense struggled to find its rhythm for much of the game.
Sophomore quarterback Case McCoy came off the bench in the third quarter to relieve David Ash, who started but threw two interceptions, and sparked Texas with a 36-yard touchdown strike to Blaine Irby.
"He jump-started us and really got us going," said Texas head coach Mack Brown.
But UT's first touchdown in over six quarters wasn't enough. While Texas was busy looking for the right man to lead its offense, Kansas State's Collin Klein continued his impressive season.
Klein ran for his 25th touchdown of the year, a three-yard score in the third, and threw for 83 yards and a touchdown to lead Kansas State (9-2, 6-2) to its second win in as many weeks. Texas sacked Klein five times and limited him to just four rushing yards, but couldn't stop him when it mattered most.
"That's what so sad, to see a performance like that (from the defense) and not get a win," Brown said. "That's unheard of."
Longhorns defensive Alex Okafor recorded a sack for the fifth straight game, his sixth in his last seven contests.
Texas outgained Kansas State 310-121 and had 15 first downs to the Wildcats' eight, but a pair of costly turnovers proved too much to overcome. KSU scored 10 points off the Longhorns' miscues.
"It really came down to the two turnovers," Brown said. "That's a good defense we played."
McCoy's touchdown kept Texas within reach, pulling the home team within seven points, 17-10. He finished eight of 16 for 80 yards.
Ash struggled in the passing game for the second straight week, completing just seven of 16 attempts for 39 yards. He left the game after throwing an interception on the first drive of the second half and did not return.
"Turnovers are always a negative for us and we've got to eliminate those," Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said.
Kansas State broke a 3-3 tie at the end of the second quarter when Klein found Chris Harper on a 16-yard touchdown pass to cap an eight-play, 54-yard drive.
Texas had each of its two leading rushers, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron, available for the first time in three weeks, but continued to struggle in the run game. Brown carried 11 times for 33 yards and Bergeron rushed for 40 yards on nine carries. Brown had missed the last two games with turf toe and Bergeron didn't play last week against Missouri with a strained hamstring.
The Longhorns' senior class finished with a 19-7 record at home. But they don't have long to reflect on the missed opportunities, not with a visit to Texas A&M on Thursday night fast approaching.
"We know we’ve got a game in a couple days so we need to get ready," said Texas senior linebacker Keenan Robinson. "We have a limited time to shake this off and we need to focus and get ready for the next two games."
Printed on Monday, November 21, 2011 as: Comeback not good enough