Some teams continue to play proudly to end the otherwise disastrous season. The other wants to be the one who gives in to all that misery.
Texas (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) and Kansas State (7-4, 4-4) have six games under their first-year coach Steve Sarkian after a 4-1 start. Meet Longhorns on Friday in a spiral. Longhorns was once ranked 15th this season before the bottom fell.
Skid is already at the worst rank in Texas in 1965, and Sarkian is talking about the complete “disassembly” and “reconstruction” of the spring program. Friday’s victory will at least send Texas to the project.
“I realize that some of the stories are falling in the sky,” Sarkian said in Texas. He claims to be able to deal with the confusion around the program and the anxieties of the fans.
“I’m made for this,” Sarkian said. “I think our team has been strengthened in many ways, but it has brought us very close. It’s a good place to build in the second year.”
Kansas State has recovered from its own 3-game skid and achieved four consecutive victories, guaranteeing a winning season and bowl trip. The run ended with a 20-10 defeat to Baylor last week, but it got worse as Skylar Thompson, who started the quarterback, was injured and delayed the match.
Kansas State is another team controlled by Thompson. Chris Clayman said earlier in the week that Thompson could be “outside” against the Longhorns. Otherwise, Will Howard would be at the center of his tenth career start.
Texas’s already complex quarterback situation became even more troublesome when both Casey Thompson and Hudson Card were injured in a defeat in West Virginia last week.
Sarkian said both were “everyday” ahead of the match, but predicted that Thompson would start if he was healthy. Thompson took over the card after two games and played very well in a few games before tailing off.
When Thompson was struggling, the card struggled and thrived in the appearance of relief. Revolving doors leave an unresolved question about who will start in 2022 and one of them will choose to transfer.
Sarkian has already promised to “open” positions for next season.
DEUCE COMES HOME
Kansas State University, backed by Deuce Vaughn, has played seven 100-yard games this season, including the last four. He also has 14 rush touchdowns and 3 receives. He was able to have another big day just a few miles from Round Rock, a suburb of his hometown of Austin. Texas has allowed 100 yards of rushers in seven consecutive games and is ranked 112th nationally in Rand Defense (199 yards allowed per game).
Running long horns
Texas run games are reduced without injuring starter Bijan Robinson (elbow dislocation), but can still shave the yard and break big play. Alabama transfer Keilan Robinson ran 111 yards to West Virginia last week, including a 49-yard touchdown. Good news for Texas: Bijan Robinson told reporters this week that he plans to return in 2022.
Felix Anudike-Uzoma in Kansas State has 11 bags, just below the school record of 11.5. He also has a total of 14.5 tackles against losses, and his six forced fumbles lead the country. All of that can be a big problem for the struggling Texas attack line. Longhorns allowed a fumble of two strip sack to set a touchdown in the defeat to Kansas and abandoned eight sack in the last three games.
A valuable start
When Bijan Robinson was injured, freshman receiver Xavier Worthy became the main playmaker for Longhorns. His 12 touchdown catches are already a record for longhorns freshmen, and he’s one shy of the overall season record set by Jordan Shipley in 2009.
Texas honors nearly 30 senior players before the match. This includes 6th grade players who had three head coaches in their careers. Notable among qualified but non-participants is that they are at least considering a return next season.
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