Kansas misfires again against Texas, 35-13
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Kansas coach Charlie Weis had reminded his players how close they came to beating Texas last year. When the Jayhawks had the ball and the momentum in the third quarter on Saturday, they had the chance to believe they could pull off the upset this time.
Instead, another mistake led to another blown opportunity and another loss in a Big 12 losing streak that now stands at 26 games and counting.
Malcolm Brown ran for 119 yards and four touchdowns and defensive tackle Chris Whaley scored his second touchdown of the season with a 40-yard fumble return as Texas beat Kansas 35-13 in a game that didn't get away from Kansas until late.
Whaley's touchdown in the third quarter broke open what had been a surprisingly close contest. Initially recruited as a running back, Whaley scored when he scooped a fumble by Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps, turning a 14-6 Texas lead into 21-6.
Whaley also scored on a 31-yard interception return earlier this season.
"Our margin of error is very small," Kansas coach Charlie Weis said. "When you give up one game-changing play, you're fighting a little bit of an uphill battle."
Brown's touchdown runs covered 2, 3, 1 and 30 yards for Texas (6-2, 5-0), which won its fifth in a row and remains in a tie for first place in the Big 12. Case McCoy passed for 196 yards with two interceptions in Texas' first home game since Sept. 21. The Longhorns held Kansas to 306 total yards.
"We wanted to grind those yards out," Brown said. "Coaches want runners who are tough, like the contact and aren't backing away from it. I've taken pride in that."
Heaps passed for 160 yards for the Jayhawks (2-6, 0-5).
Texas had to rally to beat Kansas in the final seconds last year, and the Longhorns lacked the early spark they had in their previous two games in wins against Oklahoma and TCU. McCoy threw his first interception on Texas' first drive, and the Longhorns were held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time since the season-opener.
But Kansas had the sort of misfires that come with a losing streak. The Jayhawks had three drives inside the Texas 15 that accounted for just six points.
After snagging the early interception, the Jayhawks missed a chance for a surprise lead when Matthew Wyman missed a 31-yard field goal. A penalty for running into the punter also let Texas keep the ball in what would end up as a 92-yard scoring drive when Brown scored his first touchdown 12 plays later.
"You have to make that," Weis said of Wyman's miss. "Psychologically, those missed field goals that are short, that does not bode well."
Brown's second touchdown put Texas ahead 14-0 before a long pass from Heaps to Rodriguez Coleman set up Ron Doughty's 21-yard field on the last play of the first half.
Kansas started the third quarter with a drive that stalled at the Texas 10. Doughty cut the Longhorns lead to 14-6 with a 27-yard field goal that bounced in off the right upright.
"After that second field goal, we were down by 8 and I don't think there was a single guy on the sidelines that didn't think we had a chance to win the game," Jayhawks linebacker Ben Heeney said.
The Jayhawks had quieted the home crowd until Whaley's fumble return. Heaps, who had started for BYU against Texas in 2011, was flushed out of the pocket and hit hard by Cedric Reed.
The ball bounced once and popped up nearly waist high — just right for Whaley to snag it and run untouched to the end zone.
"I saw the ball go flying and Whaley go running," Reed said.
Brown closed the third with his third touchdown of the day for a 28-6 lead. His fourth came a few minutes later when McCoy stumbled and barely made the handoff before his knee hit the ground.
"One football play changed the whole course of the game," Heaps said. "It's really unfortunate because without that play, who knows what happens?"