Longhorns Surge in Second Half, Route Kansas, 59-20
AUSTIN, Texas –Behind a 408-yard offensive explosion in the second half, the Texas Longhorns bested Kansas, 59-20, Saturday night at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Ball security plagued Kansas (0-9, 0-5 Big 12) as the Jayhawks fumbled the ball five times and turned it over a total of four times. Texas (4-5, 3-3 Big 12) took advantage and scored 21 points off those KU miscues aiding in the 35-6 effort the Longhorns mounted in the second half.
Freshman quarterback Ryan Willis completed 17-of-34 passes for 214 yards and one touchdown to go along with his two interceptions. Ten different receivers hauled in at least one of those passes including three by senior Shakiem Barbel, who scored the first touchdown of his career in the first quarter.
Junior safety Fish Smithson led the Jayhawks with 13 tackles, tying his career best, while posting 10 or more stops in four-consecutive games. He is the first KU defender to do so in over 10 years.
Texas jumped out to an early 17-0 lead in the first quarter thanks in large part to an 84-yard touchdown strike from Jerrod Heard to John Burt to open the Longhorns’ offensive attack.
The Jayhawks clawed their way back, but not without some help form the football Gods. Kansas fumbled the ball four times in the first half – twice into the UT end zone and twice trying to field a punt.
The first came late in the first quarter when Willis and senior running back De’Andre Mann marched KU 87 yards down the field on nine plays. Willis connected with receivers for 51 of those yards, including 13 yards with Mann to cap off the scoring drive. However, Mann fumbled the ball at the UT one-yard line into the end zone where Barbel jumped on the loose ball for the Kansas score, 17-7.
KU turned around and held Texas to a three-and-out and forced a punt early in the second quarter. Another controversial call claimed punt returner sophomore Derrick Neal touched the ball prior to UT’s Kirk Johnson recovering it at the KU 17-yard line. Five plays later, the Longhorns found the end zone for their third touchdown of the day, pulling ahead, 24-7.
That didn’t faze the Jayhawks on the ensuing drive as they strung out their second scoring drive of the day. Willis hit receivers for 35 yards including an 18-yard and a 12-yard strike to junior tight end Kent Taylor and sophomore wide receiver Darious Crawley, respectively, to lay the foundation for KU’s ground game. Mann got the nod from the UT one-yard line and took it in for the first touchdown of his career, cutting the Longhorn lead to 10 points, 24-14.
Kansas found the Texas end zone once more, however, it came on another fumble, this time on fourth and goal from the UT one-yard line. Mann rushed up the middle when he lost the ball for the second time in the half, but sophomore tight end Ben Johnson recovered the ball. It looked like KU closed the gap once more, but by rule, a fumble on fourth down can only be recovered by the player who fumbled the ball, thus the Jayhawks turned the ball over on downs with 6:05 to play in the second quarter.
The Kansas defense stopped the Longhorns once more and Kansas resumed its offensive approach from the UT 42-yard line with 3:57 left in the half. The Jayhawks drove 35 yards to set up a 26-yard field goal attempt with three seconds left on the clock. Sophomore kicker Nick Bartolotta drilled it right off the upright and Kansas headed to the locker room with a 10-point deficit, 24-14.
The second half sang a different tune with Texas outscoring KU, 35-6. The Longhorns posted 408 yards of offense in the second half to go along with five touchdowns. Kansas turned the ball over three times in the second half, scoring its lone touchdown of the half late in the fourth quarter.
Kansas closes out its two-game road swing in the Lone Star state Saturday, Nov. 14, as the Jayhawks take on No. 8 TCU. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m., and can be seen on Fox Sports 1.
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