Longhorns lose despite dominant defensive effort

Christian Corona

For the second straight week, Texas held an explosive offense to 17 points. And for the second straight week, 17 points was enough to win.

With the Longhorns’ offense struggling, the defense did not have much room for error Saturday night. Texas hit a field goal on its first drive against Missouri two games ago and didn’t get any more points from its offense the rest of the contest. Freshman David Ash threw two interceptions before being replaced by Case McCoy, who promptly threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Blaine Irby on his first drive.

But Texas’ comeback attempt fell short as Kansas State took down the Longhorns for the fourth straight time, 17-13. Texas allowed just 121 yards and forced a three-and-out on eight of the Wildcats’ 14 possessions. Kansas State, coming off a thrilling 53-50 quadruple-overtime victory over Texas A&M and a 52-45 loss to Oklahoma State the week before, were held to 17 points, its lowest point total since the season opener.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen [the defense] play better,” said head coach Mack Brown. “It was an unbelievable performance. That’s what’s so sad — to see a performance like that and to not win the game.”

Collin Klein, Kansas State’s do-it-all quarterback who defensive coordinator Manny Diaz compared to Tim Tebow, never found a rhythm. The junior quarterback completed nine of his 17 passes for 83 yards and was held to four yards rushing on 26 carries after averaging more than 100 yards on the ground in his first nine games this year. Despite the Longhorns’ valiant defensive effort, Klein managed to score his 35th and 36th touchdowns of the season.

“If you would have told me that we’d hold Collin Klein to four yards rushing and 83 yards passing, I would have known that we would have won the game,” Brown said.

If there was one thing the Texas defense didn’t do well Saturday night, it was forcing turnovers. Kansas State made it through the entire contest without committing a turnover.

The Longhorns haven’t had more takeaways than their opponent since a 37-14 win over Iowa State on Oct. 1, a victory that left the Longhorns with a plus-six turnover margin. That number is down to -2 as Texas forced just one turnover in its last three games.

“It really came down to turnovers,” said Brown. “Other than [that], it was an even game throughout the night — two great defenses that played hard throughout and kids that fought until the play of the game.”

Sacks were hard to come by earlier in the season as the Longhorns notched multiple sacks in just one of first six games. The Longhorns registered a season-high five sacks Saturday, along with 16 tackles for loss and nine quarterback hurries.

“We didn’t get the W, so it’s obviously not as dominating of a game as you’d want it to be,” said sophomore defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, who had five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

The defense continued its dominating ways Saturday. It’s just waiting for the offense to catch up.

Printed on Monday, November 21, 2011 as: Defense shows strong effort for second week in a row