While many people’s focus with Texas football is on the future of Tom Herman, the Longhorns do have two games left to finish out the season, and with bowl games getting canceled left and right, closing out with two wins is important if Texas wants to play in a bowl game in late December or early January.
Whether the Longhorns have much interest left in this season will be apparent early Saturday afternoon after a fair amount of the Kansas State game, which kicks off at 11 a.m. in Manhattan.
If Texas had won the Iowa State game, this game would likely set up to be a blowout, as the Wildcats have looked poor on offense over the past month without starting quarterback Skylar Thompson.
With Thompson out the last month, K-State has been trounced by West Virginia and Iowa State, blew a game late against Baylor and played Oklahoma State close at home.
True freshman quarterback Will Howard has been bad in that four-game losing streak, throwing for just 120 yards — combined — in the last two weeks against the Bears and Cyclones, while throwing four interceptions over the losses to the Cowboys and Mountaineers.
Facing a Texas defense that has been outstanding the last three games, Howard’s form doesn’t figure to change Saturday.
The Wildcats’ top offensive weapon is true freshman running back Deuce Vaughn who is from — wait for it — Round Rock, Texas, and starred at Cedar Ridge High School.
In what appears to be a huge recruiting miss for Herman and Texas, Vaughn has 517 yards and five touchdowns rushing, 21 catches for 389 yards and two scores receiving and is also a dangerous kick returner.
Vaughn stands 5 feet, 5 inches tall, which likely scared off recruiters, but his performance in a K-State uniform brings flashbacks of former Wildcat Darren Sproles.
Ultimately, though, this game is about Texas.
The Longhorns have had two key players, tackle Sam Cosmi and safety Caden Sterns, opt out of the rest of the season to begin preparations for the NFL draft.
But if the Longhorns still actually care about the rest of the season, this should be a win for Texas. UT’s defense should be able to make K-State one-dimensional with Howard struggling to throw the ball, and the Texas defense specializes in stopping the run.
Offensively, Texas should be able to score enough points to take the win, despite an offensive line that is now more suspect than before without Cosmi.
However, if the Horns are going to mail it in the rest of the season because of the assumption that Herman is likely not going to be here next year, they easily could lose.
Whatever the case, this game has a lot of intrigue and we’ll definitely find out what the team’s mentality is.