WHY TEXAS WON
The Longhorns, depleted in the second half, held K-State off at the end. The offensive line had a strong night, which helped Johnathan Gray (141 yards, 2 TDs) establish the run. The defense, for the most part, looked like it turned a corner. And Texas was able to overcome key injuries — hello, David Ash, Mike Davis, Daje Johnson, Jordan Hicks and Josh Cochran.
WHY KANSAS STATE LOST
The Wildcats looked generally outmanned. The Jake Waters-to-Tyler Lockett connection looked unstoppable —Lockett ended up with 237 yards —but for some reason, K-State didn’t exploit the matchup as often as it should have. It’s a rebuilding year for Bill Snyder. It showed.
THE EYES OF TEXAS …
… were on three specific Wildcats — LB Tre Walker, who inflamed Longhorn Nation this summer with his comments that Texas “laid down” in Manhattan last year; QB Daniel Sams, a dual-threat rushing quarterback who posed real matchup problems; and RB John Hubert, who scored three touchdowns in last year’s game. How’d they do? Walker was a non-factor, for the most part. Sams never threw the ball, but did carry 8 times for 48 yards, including one 23-yarder. Hubert scored twice, but gained only 41 yards on 12 carries, an average of 3.4 yards.
Offense: Jaxon Shipley. He didn’t make a lot of huge catches, just clutch ones for first downs. And he made an impact as a blocker.
Defense: Mykkele Thompson. In a season low-lighted by missed tackles, the junior safety stood out by making a few.
THIS AND THAT
Shows/no-shows: Those who showed up — Johnathan Gray, Kendall Sanders, the offensive line, Malcolm Brown, Dalton Santos and Marcus Johnson. Those who didn’t — Steve Edmond, Jordan Hicks, Duke Thomas, Joe Bergeron.
Opportunities taken: With Davis out, Sanders (3-80-1) and Marcus Johnson (5-70) had good games. So did Santos, who’ll now start against Iowa State with Edmond out for the first half.
Etc.: With the win, Mack Brown moves into a tie with Ohio State’s Woody Hayes for 10th place on the career coaching victories list. … Gray, who became Texas’ first 100-yard rusher of the season, also had his biggest game as a Longhorn, with 141 yards. … Texas avoided its first 1-3 season start since 1956. That was the year before Darrell Royal was hired.
All eyes on Ash: We’re on concussion watch. Again. After a 14-of-25, 166-yard, one-touchdown first half, he missed the second. This offense isn’t the same with Case McCoy running the show.
Is the ‘D’ back?: Hard to say. K-State, after all, isn’t the same K-State we’ve gotten used to seeing. Get back to us Oct. 3, in Ames. And then again, for real, in Dallas on Oct. 12.
1-0 — ‘nuff said: Those bad losses to BYU and Ole Miss seem just a bit further away now. Texas starts Big 12 play 1-0, and has a good shot at being 2-0 in conference heading into the OU game, assuming it beats Iowa State.
UP NEXT: OFF WEEK
But after that, Texas travels to Iowa State for a rare Thursday game Oct. 3 in Ames. It’ll be an ESPN game, kicking off at 6:30 p.m.
— Richard Tijerina