Overthinking football games is what pundits do. Texas vs. Kansas State is not a game to overthink. Texas lost the game because K-State is a much better team.
There are games this season that Texas should have won against teams Texas should have overmatched (West Virginia and TCU) and games in which Texas should have been more competitive (Oklahoma) but this game is neither of those.
The Longhorns did not get out-coached. As good as Kansas State's Head coach Bill Snyder is, and he is one of the best in the country, Mack Brown and Texas delivered a game plan that kept the Longhorns close through three quarters. By the fourth quarter Kansas State's talent simply overwhelmed the Longhorns.
Texas was simply out-played down the stretch by better, more experienced players who executed flawlessly and had much more on the line. The Longhorns youth, lack of experience and maturity, got the best of them again.
But, for a full three quarters, the Longhorns once again lent a glimpse of how good they can be. Texas led at the half 10-7 and found themselves down by only four, 21-17, going into the fourth quarter.
The Longhorn defense did not allow the Wildcat offense to score in the first half (*well kind of, see below), and the Texas offense put the ball in the hands of their playmakers — Daje Johnson, Jaxson Shipley, Malcolm Brown and Jonathan Grey all made an impact, and all are either freshmen or sophomores.
Case McCoy, a rising senior next season, made his first start of the season and started slowly. Well, actually he started horribly. McCoy's first pass fell incomplete, his second was intercepted for what would have been a pick-six touchdown had K-State's Nigel Malone not blundered by dropping the ball a half-yard before crossing the goal-line (*Collin Klein made quick work of the half-yard touchdown).
McCoy straightened up though, completing his next 17 straight passes, a Longhorn feat only achieved by his older brother Colt.
Kansas State scored on the first possession of the second half and the game was on, with both teams trading touchdowns through the third quarter. By the fourth quarter Kansas State's better players and flawless execution took control — another McCoy interception, a Quandre Diggs fumbled punt, a Nick Jordan missed field goal and, much like the loss to West Virginia, another missed opportunity to win the game.
Still, given losses by Oklahoma State and TCU, Texas appears to be headed to the Cotton Bowl against SEC power LSU. It's the best of all possible scenarios — an in-state game against a very good SEC opponent will push this football team to pay attention and set the standard for where it needs to go.
This is not a time for heads to roll as much as Longhorn nation may be bruised. Texas still owns the youngest football team in the nation (shared by TCU) and coaching changes will only set these youngsters back.
Texas needs Mack Brown to own this program now more than ever. The Longhorns need a personality, they need consistency. The team has play-makers, lots of them, and they will have a larger senior class next season that includes Case McCoy (although they still need a better quarterback).
We'll look at the team more fully next weekend, but suffice it to say, if Longhorn nation wants to compete for a BCS berth and another national championship, then patience is the best word to describe what Texas Longhorn fans need right now.