MANHATTAN, Kan. — For the first time in over 10 years, the Longhorn football team was held off the scoreboard Saturday.
Texas dropped to 3-5 in a 23-0 loss to Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas — the first time the Longhorns have been shut out since Oklahoma contained them to 12-0 on Oct. 9, 2004.
“You don’t ever want to get shut out,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “We thought we had the game plan; we just didn’t go execute it.”
Coming off its two best performances of the season, Texas’ offense was flat all afternoon and failed to gain any momentum.
Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes looked like he did in September: struggling to make routine throws, staring down receivers and holding onto the ball too long. Swoopes completed just 52 percent of his passes for 106 yards.
“[The offense] just didn’t execute – that’s the bottom line,” Swoopes said. “When you don’t execute, it puts you in a really tough position to win.”
Texas’ running backs were equally ineffective, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry.
Junior running back Johnathan Gray didn’t even play until the second quarter, and when he did finally get some touches, he struggled to accelerate, as he has all season. After missing the majority of last season with a torn Achilles, Gray lacks the burst that made him such a valuable asset during his
first year here.
Senior running back Malcolm Brown played well in the first half but curiously didn’t get any reps in the second. Strong said his absence was not injury-related, but he didn’t know why Brown didn’t get the touches in the last two quarters.
“You never want to be a part of [a shutout],” junior center Taylor Doyle said. “We feel confident in our group of guys, so it’s definitely disappointing for all of us to not be able to run the ball.”
Kansas State senior quarterback Jake Waters opted to air it out more than usual against a Texas defense that was focused on stopping the option rushing attack. Waters completed 63 percent of his passes for 224 yards, 103 of those going to senior superstar receiver Tyler Lockett.
The Wildcats’ backfield duo of senior DeMarcus Robinson and sophomore Charles Jones combined for 99 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
“Jake [Waters] competed very well,” Strong said. “You talk about a player that did a great job of directing that offense and making the throws.”
Already at five losses, Texas can only afford one more defeat and still gain bowl eligibility. With two of the remaining matchups against No. 10 TCU and No. 22 West Virginia and the other two in difficult road environments at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, the Longhorns’ postseason chances look slim.