Texas and K-State. Two completely opposing styles, two completely opposite reputations. And that’s what we saw right out of the gate tonight in Austion – a flashy Texas squad that overlooks fundamental football and a K-State team that may not be as physically impressive, but does the things that beat teams like Texas.
Texas started the game with a decent kick-off return, but a K-State player punched the ball out and kicker Anthony Cantele almost recovered the ball, but Texas maintained possession. However, Texas failed to get a play off on first down and took a delay of game penalty. That’s right, in a game that probably means more to Mack Brown’s career than any other, with a Texas team that knows it has to get its ship in order, David Ash can’t even get the first play of the game off in time. Kip Daily had a nice play on the throw on second down, and Texas was forced to punt on 3-and-all. That was the Texas we’ve grown to know and love.
With K-State receiving the ball for its first drive, the first play was a flanker screen to Tyler Lockett for nine yards. Nice play. On second down we saw an ineffective option play that went nowhere, but a Texas defender grabbed Jake Waters’ facemask and gave K-State the first down. Same old Texas. The Wildcats were stopped when Jake Waters was sacked on third down three plays later, but I stress that I do not blame the offensive line. Texas sold out on the blitz and there were too many players to block. Jake Waters must recognize that situation and get rid of the ball quickly.
Texas demonstrated exactly how quickly it wants to run its new up-tempo offense on its second possession relatively well, taking a few plays for minimal gain but rapidly getting back to the line of scrimmage for the next play. Defensive end Ryan Mueller was leveled by a block from Jonathan Gray and had to come out of the game for a bit after likely getting the wind knocked out of him. Cornerback Kip Daily had a huge hit on David Ash when Ash scrambled for a first down around the forty yard line, but the injured Ash did not come and Mueller returned a couple plays later to face a Texas team ready to run at warp speed, and his first play back saw David Ash throw a nice 20-yard pass on third down.
At the ten yard line, Jonathan Gray fumbled the ball and K-State recovered, leading us to once again celebrate Texas doing what Texas does best – beat itself. And while it didn’t appear to be indisputable, there was enough evidence to suggest the ground caused the fumble and give the Longhorns the ball back. On first-and-goal from the eight, K-State stood Texas up twice and actually moved the Longhorns back to the ten, Ash was nailed by Blake Slaughter as he released the ball, and Texas went up 3-0. Unsettling that Texas moved the ball relatively efficiently downfield, but when Texas got inside the ten K-State’s defense stood tall and pushed the team back.
Daniel Sams came in to start the second series, and Tavon Rooks (who I’ve been ragging on all season) had a false start to put K-State in an immediate deficit. However, on his first play Daniel Sams ran a quarterback draw for 23 yards and a first down to immediately put the Longhorns on notice. The drive also showed Hubert get hit in the backfield and still gain a yard as Texas has never been able to tackle him. On third-and-six Sams was forced to burn a time out, Waters came in, and tossed a first down pass to Tyler Lockett in an interesting substitution (suggesting Waters will be in on third-and-long, while Sams will carry the water on third-and-short. Yeah – see what I did there?). Unfortunately, the Wildcats were forced to punt again and give Texas the ball and a 3-0 lead. Texas scored shortly later on a 63 yard shot to Kendall Sanders to go up 10-0. Dorrain Roberts, the cornerback responsible for coverage, played it as he was supposed to, but simply lacked the speed to keep up with Sanders.
On the kick-off Tyler Lockett caught a great block from Tramaine Thompson, but Laton Dowling had a personal foul after the play that brought the ball back to the 27. Cody Whitehair followed it up with a facemask penalty, pinning K-State at first-and-24. The Wildcats suddenly looked like Texas, while Texas was playing like K-State. Sams engineered a decent drive, but the play-calling was way off. The Wildcats regularly split three wide while Texas sold out on the run. Sams had nowhere to run, didn’t get called passing plays, and the ratio of blockers to defenders was inexcusable.
The rest of the half followed that script. Daniel Sams continued playing, but only rushed and never passed. Waters was brought in when K-State stalled on third to pick up the first, but couldn’t sustain the drive. My favorite tweet regarding the playcalling came from Curtis Kitchen:
It’s like #kstate thinks if it subs Sams and Waters fast and random enough that somehow they will fuse into one player.
— Curtis Kitchen (@curtiskitchen) September 22, 2013
For the defense, K-State players were resembling their burnt orange brethren with an inability to tackle as a long touchdown run by Jonathan Gray was facilitated by an inability by Wildcat defenders to chase him down and wrap up (something we’ve already seen multiple times tonight). Tyler Lockett got his with 117 yards receiving on seven catches, but was the only player to gain yards through the air (John Hubert has a catch for -2 yards). However, John Hubert did have a big 15 yard touchdown run behind the blocking of Glenn Gronkowski towards the end of the half to get the Wildcats on the board, 17-7.
Other quick stats:
- John Hubert only had four carries for 22 yards.
- Daniel Sams had 48 yards on eight carries (6.0 average), but did not attempt a pass.
- Jake Waters is 8/12 passing for 115 yards, but has -2 yards on five carries.
- Tyler Lockett has three kick returns for 75 yards. However, two of those would have resulted in better field position if he’d just kneeled down (though one looked like he had a hole that closed quicker than expected).
- Texas leading in total yardage, 295-183.
- K-State with five penalties for 44 yards.