Texas defeated Kansas State 40-34 in double overtime on Saturday in Austin.
Some lingering thoughts from the game:
1. Kansas State has some decisions to make at quarterback.
Jesse Ertz looked strange running the ball last week and it was once again obvious he was playing at less than 100 percent against Texas. He removed all doubt in the second half when he asked out of the game following an awkward run to his left and spent the next few drives stretching on the sideline.
K-State football coach Bill Snyder wouldn’t say much about the status of his starting quarterback, other than that he “got banged up a little bit.”
But one thing was clear: A healthy Alex Delton is a heck of a lot faster than a hobbled Ertz. As soon as the backup quarterback entered the game, he began hurting the Longhorns with his speed. Delton zoomed past Texas defenders for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. He has a ways to go in the passing department (he completed 2 of 5 passes for 30 yards) but he provided a serious lift in this game, leading K-State back from a 24-17 deficit and engineering three scoring drives.
“Overall, he played very well,” Snyder said of Delton. “Ran the ball well, threw the ball well … Did well.”
I don’t know how Snyder plans to juggle Ertz and Delton in K-State’s next game against TCU, but it makes sense to at least keep Delton involved, particularly while Ertz tries to shake off some minor injuries.
Ertz was fit enough to return for K-State’s final drive of regulation, and he completed 12 of 18 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns. So it’s not as though he played poorly.
Delton was just good.
When Delton is at full strength and Ertz is not, you have to wonder if Delton is the better option for this offense.
Perhaps the Wildcats could get both of them involved. Delton could handle the majority of the running plays. Ertz could throw most of the passes. Snyder strives for a balanced approach and hates predictability, so that might not be to his liking. But there is probably a way you could use both of them, keeping each quarterback fresh and defenses off balance.
It will be interesting to see which way the Wildcats ultimately decide to go.
2. What was up with that final drive before overtime?
The score was tied at 27-27 and K-State had the ball at its own 17 with 1:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats had two choices: try to move into field-goal range for a game-winning kick or play it safe and shoot for overtime.
There was logic behind both options. Keeping the ball away from Texas was the only definite goal.
And yet, the Longhorns gained possession on an interception at their own 33 with 32 seconds left. They then marched down field and attempted a field goal to avoid overtime. The kick missed, but that’s about the only thing that went right for the Wildcats during that sequence.
Here’s a recap of what happened. Ertz, not Delton, came in to lead K-State’s offense and Alex Barnes gained six yards on the first play, which signaled the Wildcats were playing for overtime. Texas called a timeout. Then Ertz hit Isaiah Zuber for six yards and a first down. Maybe they were going for the win. Next play: another Barnes handoff. Overtime? Then K-State called a timeout. Field goal?
When play resumed, Ertz ran out of bounds to avoid a sack and stopped the clock. He then lofted a pass down the left sideline to Zuber that ended up getting picked.
“We needed 30 yards to put ourselves in a position where we could attempt a field goal,” Snyder said. “That’s what I wanted to do. We just had some difficulty trying to do it, quite obviously. And then we end up running the ball out of bounds when we probably should have kept it inbounds, which would have reduced the clock considerably.”
It was a very strange sequence that appeared both poorly planned and executed.
3. Dalton Schoen is K-State’s new No. 1 receiver.
Dalton Schoen is more than just K-State’s latest walk-on success story. He’s the best receiver on the team. The sure-handed WR burned Texas for 128 yards and two touchdowns, including a catch-and-run highlight of 82 yards.
He now leads K-State in receiving yards (269) and receiving touchdowns (3) this season.
The Wildcats featured him on several plays and treated him like a genuine offensive weapon. He was K-State’s best player.
He should be treated as the top receiving threat until further notice. He should also be promoted to scholarship status.
4. K-State wasn’t prepared for Texas QB Sam Ehlinger.
Here is what K-State defensive back D.J. Reed had to say about Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger after he shredded the Wildcats for 380 passing yards and 107 rushing yards.
“I don’t think we were ready for the freshman quarterback to be a good scrambler like that,” he said. “We didn’t expect him to be that fast or run that much.”
Kendall Adams echoed that statement, saying they prepared for two Texas quarterbacks and knew Ehlinger could run. Just not that well.
“There wasn’t much difference in the game plan for each quarterback, but they definitely caught us by surprise,” K-State defensive back Kendall Adams said. “As far as speed they are pretty much the same, but (Ehlinger) ran with some power and he was breaking tackles, keeping plays alive. That really kept their offense going.”
K-State took a big step back on defense in this game, allowing 546 yards to an offense led by a freshman QB making his third college start.
That lack of preparation was the most alarming part of the night. The quarterback draw was Texas’ favorite play, and K-State didn’t see that coming.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett