Sam Ehlinger threw for 207 yards and a touchdown, D’Shawn Jamison returned a punt 90 yards for another score and No. 18 Texas held off Kansas State 19-14 on Saturday to snap a five-game road losing streak to the Wildcats.
Keaontay Ingram churned for a first down with less than three minutes to go, allowing the red-hot Longhorns (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) to run out the clock after blowing much of a 19-0 halftime lead.
Skylar Thompson threw for 96 yards in relief of ineffective quarterback Alex Delton, and he led the Wildcats (2-3, 0-2) to a pair of touchdowns in the second half.
But after they got the ball back with 7:12 to go, Thompson threw a pair of incompletions as Kansas State went three-and-out, and coach Bill Snyder’s offense never got another opportunity with the ball.
The Longhorns leaned on their defense in the opening half, getting a pair of sacks by Charles Omenihu – one for a safety – while shutting down Kansas State’s powerful run game.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats’ dismal half was summarized by the way it ended, when they had first-and-goal at the Texas 5. Alex Barnes was stuffed, and two runs by Delton went nowhere, before his pass on the final play hit fullback Adam Harter in the hands and dropped incomplete.
The result? Texas carried its 19-0 lead into the break.
The Longhorns were so stingy on defense – and Kansas State so inept on offense – that running back Tre Watson had more yards passing after a 21-yard halfback pass than the entire Wildcats roster in the first half. Delton was 3 of 7 for 14 yards.
In fact, Texas had more yardage in penalties (80) than Kansas State had on offense (64).
The Wildcats switched quarterbacks at halftime and Thompson promptly led them 82 yards on their opening possession, capping the drive by keeping it on third-and-goal for a 7-yard touchdown run. Suddenly, that herky-jerky offense had found its rhythm.
Texas kicker missed an opportunity to extend the lead when he pushed a 47-yard field goal right, and Kansas State marched downfield again. Thompson hit Dalton Schoen to convert one fourth down, and Barnes plowed in on fourth-and-goal from the Texas 1 to make it 19-14 with 9:55 to go.
But after forcing Texas to punt, the Wildcats went three-and-out and the Longhorns got the ball back. They managed to convert on third-and-11 before getting another first down to ice the win.
STATS AND STREAKS
Ehlinger now has nine touchdown passes and just two interceptions this season. Barnes finished with 80 yards rushing for Kansas State. The Wildcats’ Isaiah Zuber had five catches for just 33 yards. He was coming off back-to-back 100-yard receiving games.
The march up the rankings will likely continue for the Longhorns, who have followed their season-opening loss to Maryland with their longest win streak since the 2013 season.
Texas: Face the Sooners next Saturday in Dallas. Kansas State: Heads to Baylor next Saturday.