In roughly 12 hours, No. 7 Texas football will battle the No. 23 ranked Kansas State Wildcats and head coach Chris Klieman amid a loaded slate of games in the Big 12 this weekend. Texas will face Kansas State behind the arm of redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy, who is making the second start of his career.
Murphy led the Longhorns to a decisive 35-6 win over the BYU Cougars at home at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin on Oct. 28. He was composed and confident while leading the Texas offense after a couple of early turnovers (one fumble and one interception).
Murphy completed 16-of-25 passing attempts for over 150 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and one interception in the Week 9 win over BYU.
Texas football QB Maalik Murphy ready to lead the offense in his second career start this weekend vs. Kansas State
BYU was a good team for Murphy to get his first career start against. While the BYU defense has some experienced and proven players on the two-deep, it was a team that the Longhorns were able to handle at home without having to put too much pressure on Murphy to win the game for them.
Kansas State will be a tougher test for Murphy and the Longhorns, though. This Kansas State defense is experienced and fundamentally sound. The Wildcats have done a great job replacing key pieces on the defensive side of the ball this season without missing a step. In 2023, Kansas State allows fewer points per game, total yards of offense, and yards per play than they did last season, with guys like Felix Anudike-Uzomah and Eli Huggins leading the front seven.
Kansas State allows the fewest points per game in conference play this season (15.9) and the third-fewest yards per play (5.2). The Wildcats also rank 14th in the FBS in adjusted defensive FEI this season (per BCF Toys).
Murphy ends the week of practice on a high note
The good news for the Longhorns is that Murphy ended practice this week on a high note leading up to the Kansas State game. Inside Texas reported on Nov. 3 (paid content) that Murphy had a “good finish to the week” in practice and that he’s “as confident as he’ll ever be” heading into the Kansas State game on Nov. 4.
It sounds like Murphy had one of his best days of practice while getting the first-team quarterback reps on Nov. 2. There was a similar sentiment echoed last week that Murphy looked the most confident and composed he had all week in practice right before the game against BYU on Oct. 28.
Texas needs Murphy to effectively manage the game vs. Kansas State
While Texas doesn’t need Murphy to be a star regarding his production this weekend, they do need him to take good care of the football and avoid costly turnovers. Murphy needs to put the ball in the right place to put the Texas skill weapons in spots to succeed in space.
He succeeded at doing just that after shaking off the two early turnovers against BYU last weekend. Murphy completed at least three passes for over 25 receiving yards to four different skill players for the Longhorns in the passing game last weekend against BYU.
Texas kicks off against Kansas State at DKR in Austin on Nov. 4 at 11 a.m. CT. The set of FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff show will be in Austin this weekend for the Texas-Kansas State game.