The Texas Longhorns had to battle Mother Nature in addition to a game Kansas State squad.
If Bevo was looking down on the Texas Longhorns today, he would be smiling – or whatever it is Longhorns do to show emotion.
Texas used a heavy dose of the run game to jump out to a 16-0 first lead en route to a 23-9 win over Kansas State. The Longhorns used a balanced ground attack of Jonathan Gray, D’Onta Foreman and Jerrod Heard to slog its way to the early lead. Tyrone Swoopes did the honors, scoring two of his three touchdowns in the first half on short runs as Texas forced the Wildcats to play catch up all day. It is good to see a package for Swoopes. He brings a different dimension to the offense and Jay Norvell has found a way to take advantage of his size and athleticism.
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It’s a good thing Texas could run the ball. A steady rain made passing an adventure. Both Heard and Kansas State’s Joe Hubener struggled with some throws – Dylan Haines dropped a gift-wrapped pick six. Heard is still developing as a passer. His first instinct is to run, and that hurts him on plays when he should throw the ball away. He took a sack by running out of bounds rather than throwing the ball. This is something that will come with experience, but it’s frustrating to watch him take these kinds of sacks.
The combination of a wet ball and a steady rain meant that the run game was going to be the meal ticket today.
Gray carried the offense, rushing for 103 yards on 18 carries. The senior put the team on his back and ran hard. For at least one game he hushed those speculating that it was time to pass the baton to Foreman. Heard chipped in with 61 yards, but was stymied in the second half after the Wildcats made adjustments to stack the box and take away his running lanes. Foreman had 43 yards. He didn’t have the same running lanes he did against Oklahoma, but the big guy does a nice job of always falling forward for an extra yard or two.
The defense deserves a pat on the back for its bend-but-don’t-break effort today. As the offense sputtered in the second the defense made plays when it needed to. Haines came up with an interception to kill one Kansas State drive while Peter Jinkens and Derek Roberson had second half sacks that helped halt two different Wildcat drives. Hassan Ridgeway was a handful today. He was in Hubener face on several plays and forced the quarterback to throw the ball before he wanted to.
Even special teams caught a break when Michael Dickson was able to corral a high snap and get a punt off that was downed inside the Kansas State 10-yard line. Snaps where a problem today, but fortunately these did not cost Texas the game.
Texas takes its 3-4 record north to Ames to face Iowa State. The Cyclones put up a fight in Waco before falling to the Baylor Bears 45-27. This will not be an easy game so Longhorn fans cannot get ahead of themselves thinking this one is in the bag.
But for the rain-soaked faithful who made the trip to DKR, today’s win makes the wet commute home all the more sweet knowing that Bevo can stand proud once more.