Football

Kansas State 24, Texas 21: Inconsistency leads to a loss, like 'a broken record'

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Story highlights
  • Longhorns' defense forces two fumbles, get an interception. Offense produces no points.
  • Dorian Leonard, Armanti Foreman both drop critical fourth-down passes.
  • Paul Boyette: “It falls on us. You’ve got to go out there and play a complete game.”

Posted October 22nd, 2016

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas State coach Bill Snyder tried to console his Texas counterpart on Saturday after the 77-year-old wizard finished conducting a masterclass in organized football.

“We both tried to give it away,” Snyder told Charlie Strong after the Longhorns stumbled their way through a 24-21 defeat. “Good luck to you. Just hang in there. I mean this from the bottom of my heart, you’re the guy. You are the guy.”

Texas administrators may not feel so fortunate after watching the Longhorns (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) suffer their fifth straight loss in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. In fact, Texas athletic director Mike Perrin wanted nothing to do with reporters afterward. “No talking,” he said.

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At this point, there’s not much left to say. Texas is simply a bad football team.

In the first half, Kansas State had 19 first downs while Texas had 19 plays, plus a meaningless kneel-down to go into the locker room trailing 21-7.

The Wildcats (4-3, 2-2) certainly tried to give it away, as Snyder indicated. Texas benefited from two fumbles and Edwin Freeman’s 33-yard interception return. But the Horns got nothing to show for it — only two dropped fourth-down catches that could’ve been touchdowns and a missed field goal.

“So many missed opportunities,” Strong said with a sigh.

Running back D’Onta Foreman had 124 yards for his eighth straight 100-yard game. But the Longhorns fell to 0-15 when trailing by 14 points at any point during the game and 1-7 in true road games since the start of the 2015 season. Strong himself is now 14-18 in three seasons.

Texas linebacker Edwin Freeman carries the ball during the fourth quarter of the Longhorn’s games against Kansas State in Manhattan, KS Saturday October 22, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN.
Texas linebacker Edwin Freeman returns an interception during the fourth quarter of UT’s 24-21 loss in Manhattan, Kan., on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN.

Senior defensive tackle Paul Boyette Jr. said he loves Strong and the coaching staff, but “they’re just like a broken record, that’s all I can say.”

“But it falls on the players,” Boyette said. “It falls on us. You’ve got to go out there and play a complete game.”

The first half was textbook Snyder. He highlighted UT’s weaknesses while hiding his own. The Wildcats have one of the worst passing defenses in the Big 12, so they kept the chains moving with a solid run game and quick receiver screens that banked on Texas missing tackles.

Texas had the ball only once the first 15 minutes. Meanwhile, K-State took a 14-0 lead on quarterback Jesse Ertz’s two touchdown runs (6 and 19 yards).

Texas finally got going in the second quarter and sent the 18-Wheeler in on fourth-and-1 from the KSU 43. But with Tyrone Swoopes barking the signals, there was a false start. “Multiple players moved,” referee Mike Defee said. Texas had to punt.

Just before halftime, Bryce Cottrell’s inexplicable personal foul for roughing the passer gave K-State first down at the Texas 8. Byron Pringle then made an easy touchdown catch on John Bonney. If not for Devin Duvernay’s 80-yard catch and score, Texas would have been shut out the first 30 minutes.

“We look very smooth in practice all week,” Swoopes said. “Just some of the mistakes that we make are things that can definitely be prevented.”

The Horns got a huge break early in the third quarter when Anthony Wheeler forced Charles Jones to fumble as he was diving into the end zone. But on UT’s ensuing possession, Dorian Leonard dropped an easy ball while running a slant on fourth-and-3.

Texas got back within 10 on Swoopes’ 8-yard touchdown run. Then Freeman got under an Ertz pass and raced the other way to the K-State 36. The Horns badly needed a big play. But Armanti Foreman dropped a sure-fire touchdown catch on fourth-and-16.

“Those would have been huge plays for us,” offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert said of the two fourth-down drops. “If the ball’s in your hands and it’s there, you just gotta make a play.”

Kansas State Wildcats Charles Charles Jones fumbles the ball before crossing the goal line to score against Texas Longhorns defense during the second half of a NCAA college football game, Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Kansas State’s Charles Jones fumbles before crossing the goal line to score against the Texas defense during the second half of a NCAA college football game, Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Backup center Jake McMillon had a bad snap on a critical third-and-goal from the K-State 9. Then, Trent Domingue sent a 35-yard field goal wide left.

“We had our opportunities,” Duvernay said. “Defense gave us — what? — three chances? We just didn’t execute ’em well.”

Strong believes this team still has plenty of fight. “That doesn’t concern me at all,” he said. It’s simply a team that makes plenty of mistakes.

Asked if there’s anything motivational Strong can say at this point, defensive tackle Poona Ford said, “We done heard it all. But we know what we’ve got to do. And we’re going to get it done.”

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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