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Texas vs. Kansas State: Preview and Prediction

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Texas vs. Kansas State preview and prediction.

Game Info

Saturday, November 9th, 2019, 2:30 p.m. CST, Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas

TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, Greg McIlroy)

Radio: Longhorn IMG Sports Network (Craig Way); K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson), Sirius 137, XM 200

Opening Line: Texas -6

Fun Fact: Kansas State is one of only two Big 12 schools with a winning record against Texas, but the Horns hold a 7-3 advantage when the series is contested in Austin.

 

Key Players

Kansas State Wildcats

QB Skylar Thompson

Thompson has seven rushing touchdowns the past two games against Oklahoma and Kansas, which is the most in the nation over the past two weeks. It’s the most over a two-game stretch at K-State since Collin Klein in 2012. Through the air, Thompson has passed for over 1,300 yards with seven touchdowns and just one interception. Texas has struggled vs. the pass this season, so while Thompson has done a lot of damage on the ground in recent weeks, he will need to get the ball downfield in this one as well.

DE Wyatt Hubert

Hubert ranked fourth in the Big 12 with four sacks on the season and he also has 6.5 tackles for loss. In conference play, his four sacks rank second in the Big 12. The sophomore has thus far lived up to expectations after being named an All-American freshman in 2018. Now he goes up against a Texas offensive line that has failed to protect Sam Ehlinger, giving up a Big 12-worst 23 sacks in eight games.

Texas Longhorns

RB Keontay Ingram

It’s easy to put Sam Ehlinger here, but the reality is he needs some help to win games. Ingram is his best bet as K-State has been a dominant pass defense (best in the Big 12), but not as stout against the run, ranking seventh in the conference. Ingraham has 494 rushing yards on the season with four touchdowns, averaging 5.0 ypc. He also can be a threat catching the ball out of the backfield with 19 catches for 156 yards and one touchdown.

S Caden Sterns

Sterns has missed four games due to injury, but he’s back atop the depth chart at safety for Tom Herman. This great for a Texas defense, especially a secondary, that has been struggling mightily. Sterns was named the Big 12 Conference Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2018 and he was living up to the hype this season with 29 tackles (which led the team at the time) including a career-high 12 against Oklahoma State. Now he’s back and changes the look of the entire defense.

 

Key Storylines

Kansas State Wildcats

Third downs. Crazy? Maybe, but that’s where this game could be won or lost. The Wildcats are the best in the FBS at third-down defense, allowing teams to convert on just 24.7% of their opportunities. This has resulted in K-State’s defense facing the second-fewest defensive snaps per game at just 56.9, behind only Utah. Meantime, the Longhorns have the best third-down offense in the conference, converting at a 54.1% clip, far beyond TCU at No. 2 (46.9%). If the Wildcats continue this kind of success on third downs, watch out.

Texas Longhorns

The Longhorns need to protect Sam Ehlinger. He can’t find himself under pressure on every play. As noted earlier, Texas has given up the most sacks in the Big 12. It will be tough enough to get the ball downfield into the hands of Collin Johnson and others against a strong K-State secondary, so Ehlinger needs some time. Protect Ehlinger, give him time in the pocket, let the pass set up the run, and Texas can get back on track.

Prediction

Kansas State 31, Texas 30

The Wildcats are on fire right now as one of the hottest teams in America. The Longhorns are struggling. While the bye week gave them a chance to get healthy, things seem off with the program at the moment. A big win at home over a Top 25 team can change that, but I just don’t think Chris Klieman’s team is still getting the credit it deserves. They’re a touchdown underdog in this game and will surely be playing with a chip on their shoulder once again. Klieman’s first game against UT? He will be fired up and he’ll have his guys juiced. Even with the return of Sterns and others, this defense hasn’t been what it’s used to being under Todd Orlando, while the offensive line remains suspect. Also, if you think K-State might be worn down, think again. This is a team that hasn’t had to leave the state of Kansas since September. They’ll be fine and pull off a thrilling upset.

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