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

Football

Five key plays: Kansas State 24, Texas 21

Posted October 23rd, 2016

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MANHATTAN, Kan. — There were 140 snaps taken in Texas’ 24-21 loss to Kansas State on Saturday. Here are five that ended up making a big difference:

Kansas St # 16 Jesse Ertz scores Texas Longhorns against Kansas State Wildcats 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 quarterback Jesse Ertz scores against Texas on Saturday. His 6-yard touchdown run capped a nine-play drive helped by penalties on the Longhorns. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

1. Early deficit (again)

Kansas State struck first on its homecoming as quarterback Jesse Ertz turned his second rushing attempt into a 6-yard touchdown. Ertz’s score capped a nine-play drive that saw Texas jump offside on three different snaps — the Wildcats declined one of those penalties in favor of a 31-yard catch — and get flagged for a defensive hold.

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Texas has opened each of its seven games on defense, and six of those defensive starts were by design since the Longhorns won all but one of the coin tosses. But Texas has yielded touchdowns on four of those opening drives. Oklahoma almost scored on its first possession, but the Sooners missed a 49-yard field goal.

“Coach (Charlie) Strong likes to go play the defense first so he can get a stop and get that momentum going for our offense. He’s a defensive coach; that’s what he’s there for,” UT defensive back Dylan Haines said. “For some reason, we’re just not able to get it done. For some reason, as the game goes on, we start to hone in and get better. We’ve just got to find a way to go out there the first series, the first quarter of the game, and get a stop.”

Devin Duvernay carries the ball for a TD during the second 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.
Devin Duvernay heads for the end zone on an 80-yard catch that is Texas’ longest play of the season. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

2. Blink and he’s gone

Punter Michael Dickson made three appearances over Texas’ first three offensive series before freshman receiver Devin Duvernay provided the Longhorns with a pre-halftime spark. Trailing 14-0, Duvernay got free on the Texas sideline as Kansas State defenders bit on Shane Buechele’s pump fake on a quick screen. The result was an 80-yard touchdown catch.

That was Texas’ longest play of the season, breaking a mark that Duvernay had established with a 75-yard score in the previous week’s win over Iowa State. Duvernay has scored in three straight weeks, and those three touchdowns have covered 218 yards.

He pulled Texas within 14-7 with 4 minutes, 3 seconds to go in the first half. Kansas State responded with a nine-play drive that Ertz finished off with a touchdown pass with nine seconds remaining.

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 just before crossing the goal line. UT linebacker Anthony Wheeler jarred the ball loose, and teammate Dylan Haines recovered. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

3. Fortunate fumble

One week after scoring 21 points in a third-quarter rally past Iowa State, Texas opened the second half with a three-and-out. Kansas State then put itself in position for a 21-point lead and a knockout punch.

But UT linebacker Anthony Wheeler played the role of hero, forcing a fumble as K-State running back Charles Jones neared the goal line on a first-down attempt from the Texas 6. Haines recovered the loose football, and a bullet-dodging Texas team recorded a touchback.

Texas went on to force two additional turnovers in the second half as linebacker Edwin Freeman intercepted a pass and recovered another fumble. But UT turned its three second-half turnovers into zero points.

Texas #8 Dorian Leonard is up again Kansas St #21 Kendall Adams during the first 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’ Dorian Leonard, being challenged by Kendall Adams in the first quarter, dropped a fourth-down pass in the third quarter. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

4. Devastating drop

Still behind 21-7 after Wheeler’s forced fumble, Texas moved 54 yards in six plays before Buechele threw incomplete to Lorenzo Joe on third down. Facing a fourth-and-3 from the K-State 26 midway in the third quarter, Texas kept its offense on the field.

On the fourth-down attempt, Buechele threw a quick pass to junior Dorian Leonard. It would have gotten the Longhorns a first down — and potentially a touchdown — but Leonard dropped the routine catch.

Gifted the football, Kansas State put together a seven-play drive that was capped by Matthew McCrane ‘s 35-yard field goal.

Texas Longhorns 17 Trek Domingue walks off the field after missing the three point score late in the fourth quarter against Kansas State Wildcats of a NCAA college football game, Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
UT kicker Trent Domingue, left, walks off the field after missing a field goal late in the fourth quarter. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

5. Wide left

McCrane and Trent Domingue entered the weekend as the Big 12’s co-leaders in field goals, but Domingue could not match his counterpart. A 35-yard attempt by Domingue with 4:03 remaining sailed left on the Texas senior.

The three-point miss was Domingue’s fourth of the season, and the LSU transfer has also had four of his extra-point kicks blocked. Had Domingue hit his 10th field goal of the season, Texas would have pulled within 24-17 in a game it eventually lost by three points.

Domingue’s miss was preceded by Freeman’s fumble recovery at the Texas 47. The Longhorns marched to the K-State 9, but Texas lost 9 yards when Buechele was unable to handle a third-down snap by sophomore center Jake McMillon.

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