Texas’ first half cushion enough to secure 34-27 victory over Kansas State

Hunter Dworaczyk, Senior Sports Reporter

Despite being outscored 17-3 in the second half of its game against No. 13 Kansas State, Texas managed to squeeze out a 34-27 victory at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday. 

Holding a slim seven-point lead with less than 30 seconds left, senior defensive lineman Keondre Coburn stripped Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez. While Texas had failed to cash in on loose fumbles twice throughout the game, junior linebacker Jaylan Ford recovered Martinez’s fumble to seal the game. 

“I wanted to prove to the world that I could rush,” Coburn said after the game. “The fact that I got that (forced fumble) in a key moment of the game is unbelievable, and I will never forget this day in my life.”

Texas’ ability to establish the run game early helped the Longhorns secure its first road win of the season. Junior running back Bijan Robinson quickly scored a 36-yard rushing touchdown on the opening drive of the game. 

The Longhorns’ rushing attack averaged 8.9 yards per carry in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Texas improved that number to 12 yards per carry.

Robinson himself especially set the tone for the offense in the first half. The tailback racked up 161 yards by the time the first half ended, the most Robinson has rushed for in a half during his Texas career. 

By the time Robinson’s game was done, he had rushed for 216 yards and a touchdown.

“When the whole world knows you’re about to run the football, that’s when you have to be special,” Robinson said after the game. “I got to give credit to the offensive line. Those guys fought their butts off the whole game. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have the game we did.”

Defensively, the Longhorns were expected to have a hard time stopping Kansas State’s rushing attack. Kansas State junior running back Deuce Vaughn is a dynamic playmaker who presents problems for opposing defenders.

While Vaughn was largely able to cut through Texas’ defense, the Longhorns made just enough defensive stops to waver the Wildcats’ comeback bid. 

Despite Vaughn going for 86 receiving yards and 74 yards on the ground, the Longhorns did just enough to overcome the offense’s lack of second half output.

“Not everything went our way tonight; we had to overcome some adversity,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said after the game. “I thought they showed a great deal of resiliency in hanging together. I’m really proud of the team.”

The win against Kansas State gives Texas its sixth of the season, meaning the Longhorns will be eligible for a bowl game at the conclusion of the regular season. The win also means Texas has surpassed its win total from last season.

“I’m happy for the seniors,” Sarkisian said. “Last year was a tough year for those guys to go through. I’m happy about (getting bowl eligible), that’s something we haven’t accomplished, but we feel like we’ve got more to do.”