Keys to the Game – Kansas State

Emma Hutchinson, Senior Sports Reporter

Despite the Longhorns winning the last five matchups against the Wildcats, Kansas State is having a stellar season right now. Although Texas is favored to win Saturday’s game, there are a few things that it must execute well in order to secure the win.                

Have a consistent offense

Texas starting quarterback Quinn Ewers completed only 19 out of 49 attempted passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns, with Texas finishing the Oklahoma State game with five punts on nine drives. Texas is capable of creating high scoring games and has the explosive offense to do it, as seen during their Red River Rivalry game, but it all depends on who shows up. If Texas can keep its momentum through the whole game and adapt accordingly when any part of the offense begins to slow down, then another potential second half lead change could be avoided against the Wildcats.        

Get third down stops

The Texas defense must find opportunities to stop the offense on the third down in order to eliminate first down conversions. The lack of third down stops became a more prominent issue when the Longhorns almost allowed a second half comeback from the Iowa State Cyclones. In a press conference following the Oklahoma State game, head coach Steve Sarkisian mentioned that one of the team’s major issues was their inability to tackle successfully, therefore giving the Cowboys the upper hand in extending drives. With the solid performances that came from Kansas State’s backup quarterback Will Howard and running back Deuce Vaughn this past weekend, Texas will need to use pressure on its own defense in order to penetrate the opposing offense.                 

Avoid penalties as much as possible

Penalties plagued Texas against Oklahoma State, with the Longhorns accumulating 14 penalties and the Cowboys receiving none. These calls accounted for 119 yards lost for Texas, with eight calls being pre-snap infractions and one being a holding penalty that erased Ewers’ 33-yard dash during the fourth quarter. However, it wasn’t just the Oklahoma State game that had a concerning number of  penalties; the Longhorns have been averaging 6.38 penalties and 51 penalty yards per game. Sarkisian made it clear during the same postgame press conference that he wasn’t putting the blame on the referees, but rather on the team’s lack of discipline.