As Kansas State cut into Texas’ two-score lead late in the fourth quarter, the situation looked all too familiar for the Longhorns. They had been here before in Week One, which resulted in a loss to Maryland. This time around, things would go differently.
On the road, in a slow-moving game where the two defensive units set the pace, sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger and freshman running back Keaontay Ingram chewed up the final six minutes and 20 seconds of the clock to secure the win and stop a potential comeback from the Wildcats.
Texas’s 19-14 victory over the Wildcats on Saturday marked its fourth straight win and the first in Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium since 2002 — a time when it was just named KSU Stadium.
“We’ve got a lot to clean up,” head coach Tom Herman said during a press conference after the game. “But to be able to do something in Manhattan, Kansas, that a Texas team hasn’t done in 16 years still should be celebrated.”
On 4th and goal to go with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Kansas State running back Alex Barnes leaped over a wall of offensive linemen to cut into a two-score Texas lead.
Then, the Longhorns reached the opposing side of the field on the next possession, only to see a potential game-sealing drive be halted by a badly thrown pass from Ehlinger on 3rd and 7. Junior wide receiver Collin Johnson laid out for a potential grab near the sideline, but the ball was placed just out of arm's reach.
Quarterback Alex Delton and the Wildcat offense then marched back onto the field with their first lead of the day sitting 84 yards away. But the rugged Texas defense quickly stopped their attempt, sending the Kansas State punting team onto the field to give the Longhorns the ball once again which resulted in the final game-ending drive.
“I think it shows our maturity, being able to overcome a lull,” Ehlinger said. “We obviously didn’t score as much as we would like, but a lot of offenses after that would happen would curl up at the end of the game, but we decided to finish. The last four games we’ve had the ball at the end of the game taking a knee which shows signs of us advancing and learning. I think we know how to finish now.”
Texas remained turnover free — as did Kansas State — but unflatteringly picked up 10 penalties throughout the game for a total of 104 yards while the Wildcats committed none.
Despite the offensive inconsistencies and penalty errors, the Longhorns found a way to walk off the field with a victory, as they’ve done for four straight weeks.
“We were just clicking,” Johnson told Longhorn Network. “We had a few mistakes we’ve got to clean up, but overall, that was a good performance and the win is the main thing. So, we’ve just got to keep building off this and take it into next week.”
Prior to the Wildcat’s comeback attempt, Texas entered the locker room at halftime with a 19-0 lead on a 90-yard punt return touchdown from two-way player D’Shawn Jamison, a short touchdown catch from Johnson on a fade route, a safety and a 28-yard field goal from freshman Cameron Dicker.
As the Longhorns return to Austin in preparation for a blockbuster Week Six matchup against Oklahoma, the players and coaches are going to walk a little taller this week after this win, according to Herman.
“The flight is shorter, the food tastes better, you get better sleep and sleep in a little later when you win,” Herman said. “We did not play our best. We didn’t, but we found a way to do so in critical times.”