Texas football score: No. 15 Longhorns outlast upset-minded Kansas with game-winning field goal
Texas got more than it wanted from Kansas one week after losing to Oklahoma
Turns out that the Texas State Fair can give you a hangover. No. 15 Texas was a big favorite against Kansas -- about 23.5 points in many sportsbooks -- but still needed a game-saving kick from Cameron Dicker to escape the upset-minded Jayhawks 50-48 on Saturday night.
The upset was in the making from the second quarter on, when Kansas initially took a 17-14 lead. From there, the two sides exchanged five lead changes and tied up twice. However, things got especially somber in Austin when Kansas scored a touchdown with 1:11 remaining in the fourth quarter to pull to within one point. A successful two-point conversion gave the Jayhawks a 48-47 lead. However, Texas, as it had done so many times earlier in the evening, orchestrated a quick counterstrike. The Longhorns drove 60 yards on 10 plays in the final minute to set up a 33-yarder from Dicker, which went right down the middle as time expired.
Texas certainly did not play its best game. Two turnovers on its own side of the field led to a pair of Kansas touchdowns. A Kansas victory would have been its second over Texas in the past four years. The last time, in 2016, Texas coach Charlie Strong was fired at the end of the year. It also would have been the first win for the Jayhawks in Austin, Texas.
Here are three more things we learned from Saturday night's thriller in Austin.
Texas' defense is absolutely a liability. Injuries have played a role in this, without a doubt. Defensive backs have been dropping like Spinal Tap drummers this season. That's not what you want in the Big 12 where offenses cut you up on a weekly basis. With that attrition, fundamentals suffer. Tackling for Texas remains a huge problem. After the loss to 34-27 loss to No. 6 Oklahoma a week ago, Texas coach Tom Herman remarked that Texas hadn't been doing rigorous tackling drills in practice, but when you're banged up and thin on defense, you also don't want to put your players at further risk. It's a tough predicament, but it shows in games like this when Texas couldn't bring down anyone or anything.
And now, Texas is still on pace to have a historically bad defense.
Kansas' offense is much-improved. Credit to first-year coach Les Miles for making a difficult change at offensive coordinator midseason. Those moves are never easy because you're not sure if it's going to work. But in this case, going with new offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon has been a solid move. Kansas moved the ball better against Oklahoma and obviously went toe-to-toe with Texas on Saturday night.
Jayhawks running back Pooka Williams, who totaled 215 total yards, including 190 yards rushing and two touchdowns, was the star. But quarterback Carter Stanley was excellent, too, with 310 yards passing and four touchdowns. On a minor note, Kansas also converted its first two fourth-down attempts of the season and was 10-of-19 on third downs. The Jayhawks may have come up short, but they performed well enough to win.
The Big 12 Championship Game is not a gimme for Texas. Last week's Red River Showdown was viewed as a possible, perhaps likely, preview of the Big 12 Championship Game in December. Hold the phone on that. Regardless of the win, there's nothing about Texas' performance that indicates it's a lock for Arlington. Keep in mind that No. 18 Baylor and Iowa State remain on the schedule -- and in back-to-back weeks, no less. Both of those teams rank among the Big 12's best in defense. And, yes, there are Big 12 teams playing defense this season. The Bears and Cyclones rank in the top 25 nationally in yards per play allowed. There's a blueprint to beat the Longhorns, who have not been able to stop many teams this season.
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