- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
Texas came to Kansas State with dreams, however fleeting and unrealistic, of still somehow squeezing into a BCS bowl. And then the Longhorns lost by 18 points. So Texas will have to settle for the AT&T Cotton Bowl depending on how the computers shake out. Until the Longhorns find out their fate Sunday night, here are a few other things they can stew on.
Case McCoy: Wedged between interceptions, the quarterback did manage to do some good things. McCoy completed 17 straight passes at one point. Even when Kansas State came in the second half and took an immediate lead, McCoy led Texas right back down the field on a scoring drive. He finished 26-of-34 for 314 yards. His long pass of 70 yards was more of a flip pass to Daje Johnson. But he did show some touch and accuracy that had previously not been a part of his game.
Malcolm Brown: The sophomore running back was inserted into the game and paid huge dividends for Texas. Brown had seven rushes for 40 yards and averaged 5.7 yards carry. He might have been even more valuable in the passing game where he caught six passes for 43 yards and had a touchdown. With third down specialist Jeremy Hills out due to a broken leg, Brown could be a vital piece in the screen game as Texas prepares for the bowl game.
Peter Jinkens: The freshman outside linebacker is the seventh different guy to be put in a starting role at that position for Texas. He might be the one who has done the best in that job. After a slow start early this year, Jinkens has come on strong and was the most noticeable player on a defense that at times flourished against Kansas State. Jinkens finished with five tackles and a sack.
Texas QBs: McCoy might have thrown for 314, but what he has really done is throw the quarterback into a controversy again. Now Texas will have questions about who is the leader of the team as they move through the bowl game and into 2013. That is not where the Longhorns wanted to be at the end of 2012. But it's a reality now and Texas has to figure out how to deal with it more successfully than it has done in the past.
Texas defense: Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said there has been improvement and that they “were toe-to-toe” with Kansas State for most of the game. The Wildcats, after only having 114 yards in the first half, scored on three straight drives and were only stopped twice in the second half, the last of which was when Collin Klein took a knee at the end of the game. Texas gave up 352 total yards, which is one of its better efforts, but the Longhorns have given up 40 or more points for the third time this season.
Turnovers: Texas committed four turnovers in the loss to TCU. The coaches subsequently preached ball security. Then Texas threw two picks and had a fumble in Manhattan. The Longhorns put the ball on the turf twice more but were able to cover it up. Texas is not a good enough team to make up for such egregious errors. When the Longhorns are winning, they protect the ball. When they are unable to do that, they lose.
Texas came to Kansas State with dreams, however fleeting and unrealistic, of still somehow squeezing into a BCS bowl. And then the Longhorns lost by 18 points.