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Third and Longhorns: Inside Texas 40, Kansas State 34

Posted October 8th, 2017

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A deeper look inside Texas’ 40-34 double-overtime win over Kansas State:

Why Texas (3-2, 2-0 Big 12) won

This time, things went right in overtime for the Longhorns. Texas continues to struggle with the running game, though the running backs did feature prominently into the final score without producing much in terms of yardage — Chris Warren III and Kyle Porter both scored twice, including Warren’s game winner. The patchwork offensive line didn’t allow a single sack in 50 pass attempts from freshman Sam Ehlinger, who got his third start of the season and had another game that was up and down but full of electricity.

Why Kansas State (3-2, 1-1) lost

In a double-overtime game, it’s the little things. This time, it was two key holding penalties on the Wildcats’ second overtime drive that forced Matthew McCrane, whose 54-yard field goal in the first quarter was the eighth longest kick in school history, to kick from 53 yards. He missed, and the Longhorns won it on their possession. Jesse Ertz’s biggest strength is running the ball, but it wasn’t Saturday night; he finished with just 4 yards on nine runs. He did pass for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns, though. The Wildcats went conservative late in the game, preferring runs from Alex Barnes or backup quarterback Alex Delton rather than throwing it.

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The Eyes of Texas

The Longhorns kept their eyes on three specific Wildcats — Ertz, who accounts for about 64 percent of Kansas State’s total offensive yardage; wide receiver Isaiah Zuber, Ertz’ top target (when he does throw, anyway) who had nearly three times the number of catches as the team’s No. 2 receiver heading into the game; and defensive end Reggie Walker, last year’s Big 12 defensive freshman of the year.

How did they do?

Ertz produced 228 yards of total offense — 224 of those via the pass. He threw two touchdowns and was picked off once.

Zuber had a quiet night: Three catches for 19 yards. It was Dalton Schoen, who had only six career catches heading into the game, who led the way for the Wildcats; he had five catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns, including an 82-yard score that’s the longest play from scrimmage against Texas this season.

Walker made only two tackles and also was flagged for a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty in the fourth quarter.

Game balls

OFFENSE

Sam Ehlinger: The freshman’s got moxie. He threw the ball 50 times, completed 30 of them, and produced 487 yards of total offense. When’s the last time the Longhorns had a 300-yard passing game and 100-yard rushing game from their quarterback? It was Jerrod Heard in 2015.

Chris Warren III: The numbers weren’t that impressive (7 carries for 14 yards, one catch for 33) but he still had an important game. He had the game-winning touchdown run and also scored on that one catch. Plus he made a key fumble recovery on the fourth-quarter drive that ended with the game-tying field goal.

Reggie Hemphill-Mapps: Twelve catches for 121 yards. He was Ehlinger’s go-to.

DEFENSE

Malik Jefferson: Finished with 10 tackles, two tackles for loss and half a sack. He also had a big hit for no gain on a third-and-1 play on Kansas State’s opening drive of the second half; it forced a punt and Texas added a field goal on that ensuing drive.

DeShon Elliott: Made his fifth interception of the season near the end of regulation.

Brandon Jones: The safety led the team with 11 tackles — a career high.

Plays of the game

Offensive play of the game: Gotta go with the game winner. Nearly the entire offense chipped in to help push Warren into the end zone in one huge, happy heap in the second overtime.

Defensive play of the game: On third-and-4 at the Texas 14, defensive end Charles Omenihu stuffed Delton behind the line of scrimmage for a 2-yard loss, stopping the Wildcats’ drive and forcing a field goal in what would be Kansas State’s final points of regulation.

This and that (from Kirk Bohls)

HORNS UP

1. How about that second quarter production? After failing to score points on fourth-and-goal at the 3 in the first quarter, Ehlinger led the offense to three straight scoring drives to overtake a 10-point deficit and take a 21-17 halftime lead.

2. Reggie Hemphill-Mapps emerged as Ehlinger’s go-to receiver, catching a dozen passes for 121 yards to fuel the comeback win.

HORNS DOWN

1. On Texas’ very first play of the game, Ehlinger went to play-action and had Lorenzo Joe running free downfield. But he underthrew Joe and Wildcats defender D.J. Reed picked it off.

2. Pinned at their own 1, the Longhorns failed to convert a first down — or even gain any yards — and punted from the end zone. It gave the Wildcats a short field and they scored a game-tying touchdown to make it 24-24.

Texcetera

Texas improved to 7-3 all-time vs. Kansas State in games played in Austin. The Wildcats still lead the overall series, though. … Ehlinger joined Colt McCoy (2009) and Heard (2015) as quarterbacks to pass for 300 yards and rush for 100 in the same game. His 380 passing yards were the 10th-most in school history and the most ever by a true freshman. … Saturday’s crowd was announced at 90,462. That’s the biggest home crowd this season and it came on the night that the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chance the Rapper were going at ACL Festival. … Four Longhorns made their first career starts — Hemphill-Mapps, left tackle Denzel Okafor, center Terrell Cuney and linebacker Gary Johnson.

On deck: Oklahoma

Oct. 14, Cotton Bowl, Dallas (2:30 p.m., ABC or ESPN)

Thousands of fans screaming “Beat OU!” could be heard just before the playing of “The Eyes of Texas” after the game. The third-ranked Sooners were shocked earlier Saturday by Iowa State. This Red River Rivalry has a new look to it with Tom Herman and Lincoln Riley now in charge; Oklahoma leads 6-4 in the series with Texas over the last 10 years. The big question: Will Texas go with Ehlinger or Buechele?

The post Third and Longhorns: Inside Texas 40, Kansas State 34 appeared first on Hook ‘Em.

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