It wasn’t pretty, but Kansas State (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) will take it. The Wildcats took control of the time of possession in the first half and held off a bit of a second-half push by Texas (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) to pick up a 24-21 victory Saturday afternoon.
Kansas State certainly gave Texas opportunities. The Wildcats had three turnovers, but Texas followed those Kansas State turnovers with two turnover-on-downs and one missed field goal. Jesse Ertz was efficient in the passing game for Kansas State, completing 20 of 27 pass attempts for 171 yards and a touchdown (one interception). Ertz also accounted for two rushing touchdowns and 78 rushing yards.
Despite missing on a number of opportunities, Texas did still manage to push Kansas State to the end of the game with a pair of second-half touchdowns. Shane Buechele‘s six-yard touchdown pass to Dorian Leonard in the back of the end zone was upheld by a video replay and cut the Kansas State lead to three after an extra-point conversion. Buechele completed 17-pf-24 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. D'Onta Foreman led all players with 124 rushing yards, and Tyrone Swoopes added a rushing touchdown. Charles Jones was Kansas State’s leading rusher with 81 yards on 12 attempts.
Texas will return to Austin next week to host Baylor. Entering this weekend, Baylor as undefeated and looking to make a push in the Big 12. Texas stunned a depleted Baylor last year, so Baylor will be looking for revenge. Once again, Texas head coach Charlie Strong looks to be in need of a big win to save his job.
Kansas State hits the road next week for an early kickoff at Iowa State. The cyclones entered this week with a record of 1-6, with a record of 0-4 in Big 12 play.
There is nothing particularly pretty about what Kansas State has done in the first half, which is typical of a team coached by Bill Snyder. Regardless, it has been more than effective enough against a Texas team that once again looks stale and lifeless. A pair of first-half touchdowns have given Kansas State a 21-7 lead at halftime against the Longhorns.
Jesse Ertz took for a 19-yard touchdown play on the opening possession fo the game for the Wildcats. Ertz accounted for both of Kansas State’s touchdowns in the half on the ground, and added a late touchdown pass for a 21-7 lead. Ertz has been given good protection and time to process what is happening on the field, which has led to a good amount of safe and efficient passing plays for Ertz and Kansas State.
Kansas State has also dominated the Longhorns in time of possession. The Wildcats have had just one possession lasting at least five minutes in the first half, not including the last offensive possession of the first half. On defense, the Wildcats are not allowing Texas to move the ball much, which has led to a small time of possession. That appeared to be playing right into Kansas State’s advantage until a late first-half possession by Texas resulted in a long touchdown. Shane Buechele uncorked an 80-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline with Devin Duvernay doing the honors with his speed most of the way. Kansas state has held the football for 23 minutes and 18 seconds, with 19 first downs.
Texas must do a better job of getting off the field on defense in the second half and start flipping the time of possession in their favor.
Kansas State may have had no problems putting away South Dakota on Saturday, winning 34-0, but there was some negative news to come out of the game. Starting quarterback Jesse Ertz limped off the field just two snaps into the game. The knee injury forced Ertz to miss the rest of the game, and it appears he will miss an undetermined amount of playing time in the coming weeks as well.
“Jesse is going to be out for quite some time,” Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder on the Big 12 coaches conference call Monday. Snyder did not say just how long his quarterback may be out, and suggested the Wildcats have little choice but to move on. The veteran head coach did suggest Ertz will remain an active team member while unable to play.
“We will miss him. We feel badly about the loss and he will be there. He has been a wonderful individual for us, very representative of our value system, of our team and really developing as a leader. I am quite confident he will stay invested in what we are doing and will be very helpful to all of his teammates. We will move on.”
Ertz was replaced by junior Joe Hubener, who came in relief to complete nine of his 18 passing attempts for 147 yards and a touchdown. Hubener also rushed for 38 yards in Kansas State’s season-opening victory. Hubener will get the start for Kansas State this weekend when the Wildcats hit the road to play at UTSA. Per The Wichita Eagle, this will be the first time Ertz, a former walk-on, has ever started a football game, including high school.