Texas looks to shed demons against Kansas State

Ezra Siegel

Historically, few teams can say they have the Longhorns’ number. Yet, Kansas State consistently gives Texas fans headaches.

The Wildcats boast an 8-3 record against the Longhorns since joining the Big 12 in 1996. Head coach Bill Snyder is 6-3 against Texas, and Kansas State has won six of the last seven meetings.

“Give K-State credit because those guys go out there and play their tails off for Coach Snyder,” junior defensive tackle Paul Boyette Jr. said. “They have an excellent program at Kansas State … They’re really, really good technicians. They do the Xs and Os of the game. They go out there and execute and play hard for the coach.”

The Longhorns look to shed some demons against the Wildcats on Saturday. Texas’ confidence is sky-high coming off a signature win against No. 17 Oklahoma and a bye week. Yet, the team knows it can’t be complacent.

“We have to practice up again, and you have to forget about [the win],” senior guard Sedrick Flowers said. “Don’t forget about how you played and how you prepared, but forget about all the patting on the back and all the accolades you got.”

The Longhorns will try to take advantage of the Wildcats’ struggling defense. Kansas State is giving up a conference-leading 47.7 points per game since Big 12 play started. The Wildcats are coming off two straight performances with at least 50 points surrendered — including a 55-0 loss to the Sooners. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard said the Longhorns’ eyes lit up when watching Kansas State struggle.

“Watching [Oklahoma’s] offense move fast like that — that’s what we want to do,” Heard said. “Seeing how they move against that defense and put up points — that’s our objective — to move fast, execute and put up points.”

Texas wants to replicate Oklahoma’s success against the Wildcats. However, the team isn’t expecting the same poor performance from the Wildcats. The Longhorns know the frustrated feeling following a blowout loss. After losing 50-7 to No. 4 TCU on Oct. 3, Texas turned its frustration into a signature win against the Sooners. Now, the Longhorns expect Kansas State to test them with that same fire.

“They were unlucky with that score on Saturday, and I know that’s not who that football team is,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “I told our team yesterday, the same thing happened to us against TCU, we were able to bounce back and beat Oklahoma. So, you’ve got to be ready for a team that’s going to be ready to come and play — a team that’s mentally and physically tough.”

Defensively, Texas will try to build on its six-sack performance against Oklahoma. Kansas State has struggled to protect junior quarterback Joe Hubener, ranking No. 98 in sacks allowed. If the Longhorns can consistently get into the Wildcats’ backfield, it will go a long way towards reeling in the win.

Texas has an opportunity to string back-to-back wins together for the first time this season. Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford says the team needs a foundation of multiple wins to sustain confidence. Texas’ first chance to build upon that foundation comes on Saturday.

“It’s a one-game season,” senior cornerback Duke Thomas said. “We’re going to K-State knowing that we’ve got to get another W and keep this momentum going.”