It's halftime in Manhattan, and Texas is all over Kansas State 31-17
It's halftime at Bill Snyder Family Memorial Stadium in Manhattan, Kan., and Texas is all over Kansas State, leading the Wildcats 31-17.
Any anxieties looming over the program this week — the Tom Herman/Urban Meyer rumors, the big loss to Iowa State that knocked the Horns out of Big 12 contention, and the two notable opt-outs for the rest of the season by Texas' starting left tackle and free safety — look to have been placed on the side burner.
So far, Texas' day is looking as bright as the Manhattan weather: sunny.
For a change, it's Sam Ehlinger who's taking a back seat to the running game. Ehlinger, who's eight total touchdowns away from catching Colt McCoy for the school's career touchdowns mark, has neither a scoring run or pass in the first half. The scoring so far has been handled by Bijan Robinson, Roschon Johnson and Cameron Dicker.
The one downer: Senior offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter was lost in the second quarter. Probably for the rest of the season.
Scoring — so far
1st quarter: Texas 17, Kansas State 7
Texas: Bijan Robinson 12-yard run (Cameron Dicker kick, 10:34)
Texas: Dicker 28-yard field goal (4:38)
Texas: Roschon Johnson 3-yard run (Dicker kick, 4:19)
K-State: Deuce Vaughn 19-yard run (Blake Lynch kick, :54)
2nd quarter: Halftime — Texas 31, Kansas State 17
Texas: Robinson 30-yard run (Dicker kick, 14:53)
K-State: Lynch 48-yard field goal (11:43)
Texas: Johnson 7-yard run (Dicker kick, 8:17)
K-State: Vaughn 4-yard run (Lynch kick, 1:20)
Rewind: first half
Quick start: Where was this Texas team last week? The Horns are moving at will on offense, and stifling the Wildcats on defense — save for containing freshman RB Deuce Vaughn, who looks like he'll be pretty special down the road for the Wildcats. Texas scored on its first four drives of the game.
About that offensive line ...: Things were working perfectly for Texas' puzzle-pieced offensive line — which, after the loss of Derek Kerstetter in the second quarter, will continue to be a work in progress. With Samuel Cosmi opting out, this is how the Longhorns opened up the game on the O-line:
Left tackle: Christian Jones, the former starting right tackle
Left guard: Junior Angilau, who's been there all season
Center: Jake Majors, making his first career start
Right guard: Denzel Okafor, who's been there all season
Right tackle: Kerstetter, the former starting center
The Horns have 268 yards of total offense, have scored on four of their six drives, have the running game churning and so far Ehlinger hasn't been harassed at all save for one sack.
After Kerstetter left, Okafor slid over from right guard to Kerstetter's right tackle spot, and sophomore backup Rafiti Ghirmai was inserted at right guard.
Runnin' Horns: We're on our way to seeing two 100-yard rushers for Texas in the same game. Robinson, making his fifth straight start, six carries for 65 yards and two scores. And Roschon Johnson is having his best game of the year -- seven carries for 45 yards and a pair of scores.
Deuce impressing: Freshman RB Deuce Vaughn, who was an unheralded three-star prospect out of Austin-area school Cedar Ridge, looks as good as advertised. He juked his way to a silky-smooth 19-yard touchdown and has 57 yards on just five carries, an average of 11.4 yards per. He also has four catches for 45 yards.
QBs watch: Ehlinger is 14 of 17 for 160 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Kansas State's Will Howard, who has failed to crack 100 yards passing in his last two games, is already there. He's 11 of 18 for 112 yards and a pick, plus has 34 rushing yards.
Moore watch: Texas got Joshua Moore, who's had only two catches in the last three games, involved early. He had a 15-yard catch on the second drive. But it's Brennan Eagles who's leading the way in the receiving game — he has a team-high five targets, a team-high four catches and a team-high 41 receiving yards.
Horns up: Has Texas used an option run yet this season? If so, the Horns are running the play to perfection in 2020 (Robinson's first-quarter touchdown). ... It's an opportunity game for freshman safety Jerrin Thompson, getting the chance because of Caden Sterns' opt-out and B.J. Foster's injury. His first-quarter interception — the first of his career — set up Texas' second score. And he nearly had a second pick early in the second quarter. ... Joseph Ossai notched his fifth sack of the season. ... We've seen one Chris Brown flex, and a deserved one. His hit on Chabastin Taylor separated the receiver from the ball after a 40-something yard pass inside the 10. ... D'Shawn Jamison weaved his way to a 37-yard kickoff return at the end of the first quarter. ... The Horns have recovered two turnovers: the Thompson pick and a Jacoby Jones fumble recovery. Both came deep in K-State territory.
Horns down: Kerstetter, whose versatility has been so valuable over the years, went down with what looked to be a serious leg injury midway through the second quarter. He made his 27th career start today. He was carted off, surrounded by teammates. In fact, the entire team trotted onto the field to send him off. ... Two plays after Kerstetter's injury, Dicker missed a 30-yard field goal kick.
Texcetera: Notable injuries today: Besides Kerstettters, three Horns are missing the game — RB Keaontay Ingram (ankle), DB B.J. Foster (hamstring) and DB Jalen Green (ankle). And LT Samuel Cosmi and S Caden Sterns have opted out for the rest of the season, so they're out, too.
Texas’ drives: 1st quarter — TD, FG, TD. 2nd quarter — TD, missed FG, punt
Kansas State’s drives: 1st quarter — punt, missed FG, interception, TD. 2nd quarter — FG, interception, TD.
The Longhorns will get the ball to start the second half.