After opening the season 1-2 against non-conference opponents, the Longhorns turned things around in a major way Saturday in beating Kansas State for the first time since 2003. Here are four things to take from Texas’ 31-21 victory:
Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks is out for the remainder of the season with an Achilles tear and will undergo surgery, according to Kenny Boyd, Texas head athletic trainer for football.
Hicks, a redshirt junior, missed all but three games of last season with a hip injury he sustained against
Quarterback David Ash will continue to be evaluated throughout the week for “head injury symptoms” he suffered against Kansas State. Ash missed the Ole Miss game the week prior due to concussion-like symptoms.
Dynamic rushing attack
Sophomore running back Johnathan Gray turned in his best performance of the season, rushing for a career-high 141 yards on 28 carries while scoring two touchdowns.
Junior running back Malcolm Brown also played well, earning 40 yards on nine carries and picked up his first rushing touchdown of the season. As a team, the Longhorns compiled 227 rushing yards, scoring three of their four touchdowns on
“It can be great,” Brown said. “You saw tonight that the offensive line was opening up those holes. We can find them if they’re out there. You saw tonight that it was great and we can do things like that every week.”
Young wide receivers step up
The passing game did not miss a beat in the absence of senior wide receiver Mike Davis and sophomore running back/wide receiver
Sophomore wide receiver Kendall Sanders continued to produce as a starter, picking up 80 yards on three receptions, the longest of which being a 63-yard touchdown strike in the first quarter. Fellow sophomore wide receiver Marcus Johnson embraced his increase in playing time, hauling in five passes for a career-high 70 yards.
Improved run defense
The Longhorns produced their best showing against the run since Week 1, limiting Kansas State to just 115 rushing yards on 38 carries.
After allowing opponents to earn 550 and 272 yards on the ground in its previous two games, Texas adjusted to counteract the zone-read and found the ball carrier quickly. The Wildcats only gained 3 yards per carry against the Longhorns’ front, and their leading rusher managed just 48 yards.
“There are some guys that stepped up tonight big, younger and older,” defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said. “I think a lot of progress can continue to be made. Just being in the room with these guys, I’d be shocked if they didn’t just keep doing what they’re doing. And that’s getting better.”