Sam Ehlinger made his third start for Texas, and through one half has played like a guy who should make a lot more. After throwing an interception on his first pass and facing two 10-point deficits, Ehlinger led Texas on a 14-0 run to close the half and put the Longhorns in the locker room with a 21-17 lead.
The key play of the half came on a score that wasn’t. Kyle Porter rushed in from the 2-yard line on the 14th play of Texas’s third possession in a play that was originally ruled a touchdown, but was overturned upon review. Ehlinger lost yardage on his 3rd-and-goal rush, then threw incomplete on fourth down.
Kansas State drew a pass interference call on Texas cornerback Holton Hill to gain some breathing room away from its own goal line on 3rd-and-11 from its own 2, then took advantage on an 82-yard play-action strike to Dalton Schoen, completing a 14-point swing from 7-3 Texas to 10-0 Kansas State.
Texas mounted another long drive in response and completed it this time, moving 71 yards in 12 plays, as Porter scored on a 1-yard plunge.
The Wildcats had no trouble dicing the Texas defense again on the next possession, putting together a 75-yard march in seven plays, culminating in another scoring strike to Schoen to stake K-State to a 17-7 lead with 6:29 before the break.
Texas, in turn, had no trouble moving through Kansas State’s defense for the third straight possession. Ehlinger led Texas 78 yards in six snaps, the last 33 on a wheel route completion to running back Chris Warren for a touchdown at the 3:25 mark.
After forcing a punt by Kansas State, Texas used all but the final 16 seconds remaining of the half to take its first lead on another 1-yard Porter run.
Though Porter was the one finishing drives, the freshman Ehlinger did the lion’s share of the work. He closed the half hitting 15-of-21 passes for 189 yards while leading the club with nine carries for 59 yards. Fellow freshman Toneil Carter leads the running backs with 32 yards on six attempts.
Jesse Ertz has gotten what he wanted in the passing game, connecting on 7-of-11 passes for 169 yards and two scores; Schoen has three grabs for 100 yards and both of the scores. Kansas State managed just 16 yards on 14 credited rushes.
Kansas State will receive to open the second half.