Associated Press

Texas faces early deficit but fights back to lead Kansas State at the break

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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.

Tom Herman, Texas score first Big 12 victory by outlasting Iowa State

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When you think Big 12 football, you probably use words like exciting, high-scoring, offensive and fun. Texas and Iowa State played a game Thursday night that was purported to be their conference opener in the same league, but could not use any of those adjectives to describe the action on the field.

Instead, the two teams combined for a slugfest that was filled with far more defensive highlights than big plays on offense as the Longhorns managed to capture their first Big 12 victory of the year 17-7. The ugly wins still count, of course, but it’s probably not the kind of triumphant return to conference play that former Cyclones assistant turned UT head coach Tom Herman wanted in Ames after a bye week.

Longhorns running back Chris Warren III scored the first points for the Burnt Orange at Jack Trice Stadium in nearly four years when he burst into the end zone on the team’s opening drive of the game and finished with 44 yards on a night where it was difficult for both teams to run the ball. The team’s other touchdown was set up by a turnover before quarterback Shane Buechele found Toneil Carter over the middle for a 22-yard strike that proved to be decisive. Kicker Joshua Rowland later booted a 49-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for good measure.

Buechele, who started for the first time since being injured back in Week 2, finished the night with 171 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

While his numbers weren’t great, at least they were a lot better than his counterpart Jacob Park. The Cyclones signal-caller was picked off three times by a feisty Texas defense and had a whopping 48 attempts but just 246 yards and a touchdown to balance it out (he was also sacked four times). While the home team was behind all game long, curiously young tailback David Montgomery managed only nine carries for 34 yards on the night.

At least Matt Campbell’s newly designed Cyclones helmets were slick.

But Texas will certainly take it after their struggles on the road in conference play the past few years. The Longhorns offense hasn’t quite taken off like many thought it would with Herman in charge but it certainly appears the defense is already one of the best in the league and will poise a big challenge for Kansas State next weekend.

Texas strikes first in Ames to help lead Iowa State at halftime of Big 12 clash

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It’s been a little under four years since the last time Texas scored a point in Ames, Iowa. Perhaps former Iowa State assistant Tom Herman, now the head coach of the Longhorns, was aware of that fact.

Texas struck first with a touchdown on their opening drive Thursday night but didn’t do a ton offensively afterward, managing to take a 14-0 lead over the Cyclones into halftime. If the scoreboard didn’t tell you, the game was not quite the barnburner you’re used to seeing in Big 12 play.

That first score was not without controversy for the burnt orange though, as an unsportsmanlike penalty by Iowa State helped extend the offensive drive a few plays before UT tailback Chris Warren III eventually barreled into the end zone from 11 yards out in the first quarter. The Horns were able to move the ball through two quarters occasionally but needed an interception from safety DeShon Elliott to set up their next score.

Shane Buechele got the start at quarterback for Texas after not playing against USC in the team’s last game and finished 9/11 for 91 yards and a beautiful touchdown throw to Toneil Carter just before getting smacked by a blitzer.

The biggest bright spot for Iowa State may have been the debut of their fantastic new secondary logo/helmets for a national TV audience. While the new lids were great, the team’s third down performance on both sides of the ball left much to be desired. The offense was just 2/7 converting while the defense allowed their opponents to go 7/10 in the first half. Signal-caller Jacob Park was already up to 26 attempts for the Cyclones and recorded 103 yards passing, but wasn’t terribly accurate while trying to avoid a lot of pressure in his face most of the night and was picked off twice.

Still, it should be a much more interesting second half as the two teams make adjustments and look to grab that first Big 12 conference victory of the year.