Texas running back Johnathan Gray had a tough fight last year as Kansas State captured an easy 23-0 victory, marking UT's first shutout loss since 2004. (RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN- STATESMAN)

Football

Our staff takes: This one feels like a bowl game because the stakes are that high

Posted October 23rd, 2015

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Our staff takes on Saturday’s Texas-Kansas State matchup:

Brian Davis: OU was so two weeks ago …

Playing a ball-control, run-oriented offense is great when you can count on 200 rushing yards per game. Hard to say whether that will happen against Kansas State, which has the best run defense in the Big 12. Quarterback Jerrod Heard will have to move the ball with his arm at some point. Maybe that’s in this game, maybe not. The forecast indicates a wet, messy game ahead, which means lots of running between the tackles. The euphoria of the Oklahoma win is long gone by now, and the Horns must create their own momentum. The feeling here is they do exactly that as the climb toward bowl eligibility begins.

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Kirk Bohls: It’s all about focus, intensity

It seems like an eternity since Texas’ win over Oklahoma. This game will be all about intensity. Much as the Longhorns were ticked off after getting routed by TCU, Kansas State wants to make amends for its blowout home loss to the same OU team. This game will speak to Charlie Strong’s ability to get his team to focus because every game is pivotal to the goal of making a bowl game.

Cedric Golden: Jerrod Heard must channel his inner VY

This is a bowl game for Texas, and the players should treat it as such. The Horns won’t bounce back from 2-5, so they should walk into DKR and pretend it’s the Rose Bowl and that the Wildcats are the 2005 USC Trojans. A win puts Texas back in play for the postseason. A loss kills any chance of playing in a bowl. It’s time for Jerrod Heard to channel his inner Vince Young and keep the momentum from the OU win on an upward arc. Must win, no question.

Ryan Autullo: Don’t sleep on Kansas State

Don’t sleep on Kansas State. That’s what the Wildcats want you to do. Bill Snyder’s no-frills operation is adept at driving opponents into a lull and then striking. A trap was set last week in an inexplicable 55-0 loss to Oklahoma, which convinced some fans at Texas that K-State will lay down for their 2-4 Longhorns. It won’t happen. Wake up. Snyder’s boys are going to strike.

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