Football

Texas 24, Kansas 17: Our five pregame questions — answered

Posted November 23rd, 2018

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Revisiting our five pregame questions that were facing the Longhorns ahead of Friday’s 24-17 win over Kansas.

Here’s how they played out:

1. How long did it take Texas to score?

One drive. Eleven plays.

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As far as recent Texas-Kansas games are concerned, that took a long, long time. The previous three games featured very quick starts for the Longhorns — an 84-yard touchdown pass from Jerrod Heard to John Burt on Texas’ first play in 2015, a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Jacorey Warrick on the first play of the game in 2016 and Lorenzo Joe’s 49-yard touchdown pass from Shane Buechele after Texas recovered Kansas’ game-opening onside kick. This year, the Longhorns instead produced their longest drive of the season — 98 yards — capped by Collin Johnson’s touchdown catch.

2. Who won the turnover battle?

Kansas.

Or, if you want to count turnovers on downs, then this was a push.

Sam Ehlinger’s school- and Big 12-record streak of consecutive pass attempts without an interception, which went back to the very end of the season opener, ended at 308. His 309th pass was picked off inside the red zone; he threw another one inside UT territory in the fourth quarter. Jeffrey McCulloch’s interception and 65-yard return in the second half was the play of the game. Texas went into this game with only eight turnovers on the season; only three schools (Georgia Southern, Army and Fresno State) have committed fewer. And Kansas has forced 25, which leads the Big 12.

3. Who got the bulk of carries for Texas?

Tre Watson. And Keaontay Ingram.

Texas’ top two backs split it down the middle, 14 carries for Watson and 13 for Ingam. Watson, who finished with 79 yards, averaged 5.6 yards per carry and busted one for 31 yards. That shared production has been the game plan for the last five games now — Watson has 65 carries, Ingram has 63.

4. Did Texas do what OU couldn’t: Slow down Kansas?

Yes.

The Longhorns actually were pitching a shutout heading into the fourth quarter before the Jayhawks rallied for 17 points. But Kansas last week put up 40 points on Oklahoma, led by Pooka Williams’ huge 252-yard rushing night. Williams was held to 103 yards on Friday, 57 of them coming on one play. Texas, which ranks 56th nationally in points allowed, was giving up an average of 25.9 points a game before Friday. This one tied for the fifth-fewest points Texas has allowed this season; Iowa State was held to 10 points, USC and Kansas State had 14, and TCU had 16.

5. If they got the lead, would the Longhorns close out KU?

Yes.

But Friday continued a disturbing season-long trend for Texas: The Longhorns have now been outscored 122-55 in the fourth quarter. That includes a 21-point rally by Oklahoma and two 17-point rallies by Kansas and Texas Tech. The Longhorns, though, won all three of those. Maybe the Longhorns just like the fourth-quarter drama. This was the ninth game of the season that’s been decided by 7 points or less.

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