An inept offensive performance in the Texas' 17-5 loss to a 5-5 Missouri team hasn't diminished the Longhorns brand nationally. No. 23 Texas is a -9.5 home favorite against No. 13 Kansas State on Saturday.
After losing handily to both Oklahoma schools, the Longhorns' rebuilding project had seemed to get on track with dominating home wins against Kansas and Texas Tech. But with their top three running backs unable to play in Columbia, Texas was forced to lean on the passing game and freshmen QB David Ash, who didn't have his most reliable target -- freshmen WR Jaxon Shipley -- available.
The result was one of the worst offensive showings in Mack Brown's tenure in Austin, as the Longhorns were only 5-17 on third downs and didn't threaten offensively after senior RB Fozzy Whittaker's season-ending knee injury in the first quarter.
Now, they host a surging Wildcat team, which narrowly lost to No. 2 Oklahoma State and beat Texas A&M in four overtimes in their last two weeks.
A win would give Texas a tie-breaker advantage over Kansas State for third place in the Big 12 and set them up for a run at a berth in the Cotton Bowl. A loss would put the Longhorns at 6-4, with tough games against Baylor and Texas A&M still remaining.
Kansas State, with a 6'5 226 dual-threat QB in junior Collin Klein, who has already rushed for over 1,000 yards this season, will likely try to attack the Longhorns at the line of scrimmage.
Texas' defense, headlined by an NFL-bound linebacking corps of Emmanuel Acho, Keenan Robinson and Jordan Hicks, has been stout up front, and they will need to force the Wildcats into third-and-long situations. With the health of the Longhorns key offensive playmakers still in the air, Texas' offense would benefit from a short field against a strong Kansas State defense.
While the Wildcats have been shredded by the Big 12's aerial attacks in the last few weeks, they are much more suited to a match-up with the run-first Longhorns offense.
Expecting a much lower-scoring contest than the typical Big 12 fare, the oddsmakers have set the over/under for Saturday's game at 55.5.
It will be televised nationally at 7:00 PM on FX.
For the latest news and notes on the Longhorns, check out Burnt Orange Nation, and for more on Kansas State, head on over to Bring On The Cats.