AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Bert Auburn kicked a 42-yard field goal in overtime and the Texas defense got a key stop on fourth down to earn a 33-30 win over Kansas State on Saturday in a matchup of Big 12 co-leaders.
No. 7 Texas (8-1, 5-1 Big 12, No. 7 CFP) had led 27-7 late in the third quarter before No. 25 Kansas State (6-3, 4-2, No. 23 CFP) stormed back with three touchdown passes from Will Howard.
The Wildcats forced overtime on Chris Tennant’s 45-yard field goal with 1 second left. Tennant had earlier missed a short chance to tie with 1:45 to play.
Texas went nowhere on its first possession of overtime before Auburn’s go-ahead kick. Kansas State then drove to the Texas 6. Three consecutive plays gained only 2 yards before the Wildcats went for the win instead of the tie and another overtime. Howard was pressured and was slipping down when he lofted a pass that was easily batted down.
The win keeps Texas atop the league standings with an eye on the Big 12 championship game and the program’s first league title since 2009.
“Versatility, resilience, perseverance … those are all qualities championship teams have,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said. “They can make plays at critical moments.”
Jonathon Brooks ran for 112 yards and a touchdown for Texas, which also got a 54-yard scoring run early from C.J. Baxter.
Howard passed for 327 yards and four touchdowns for the Wildcats, two of them to Phillip Brooks.
Texas appeared in total control midway through the third quarter until consecutive turnovers — an interception and fumble — set up two quick Howard touchdown passes.
“It tested us. It tested our resilience,” Sarkisian said. “It tested our culture to stick together.”
Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said he would still go for the win in overtime instead of a field goal tie if given another chance.
“Our kids always believe we have a shot,” Klieman said. “I’m upset that we lost, but watching what our guys were able to do in the second half was pretty special.”
Kansas State: The Wildcats stubbornly stuck to a running game that was going nowhere in the first half as Texas steadily built its lead. Even when they rotated in speedy freshman quarterback Avery Johnson, his first full series produced three consecutive handoffs instead of letting him probe for an opening. The Wildcats moved the ball through the air on a short scoring drive in the second quarter before opening up the offense on Howard’s passing in the second half.
Texas: Maalik Murphy has managed the last two games at quarterback for Texas but has been erratic and struggled with accuracy and turnovers Saturday. After a quick start Saturday, he threw one interception and two more passes that were dropped by Wildcats defenders. Ewers has been deemed “week-to-week” by coach Steve Sarkisian with a sprained right throwing shoulder.
“Quinn is moving in the right direction” to return, Sarkisian said. “How quickly I don’t know yet.”
Kansas State hosts Baylor next Saturday.
Texas plays at TCU next Saturday.
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