AUSTIN — The Texas Longhorns’ excursion to Manhattan, Kan., was not supposed to be this inconsequential.
Back again in August, when the Significant 12 released revised schedules, Texas (5-3, 4-3 Big 12) learned it would conclude the regular season towards Kansas State (4-5, 4-4). That finale was going to be a guide-in to the Big 12 championship in Arlington, a match the Longhorns felt selected they’d be a portion of supplied the program’s returning expertise, the overhauled coaching staff members and the lack of a vintage Oklahoma juggernaut standing in the way.
Now, right after Iowa Condition removed the Longhorns from the title chase, the team’s objectives have developed hazy.
Embattled mentor Tom Herman is desperate to salvage anything from these ultimate two games — the Nov. 21 activity at Kansas was postponed to Dec. 12 due to the fact of a combination of injuries and COVID-19 make contact with tracing — nevertheless a pair of wins in excess of the Wildcats and Jayhawks won’t extinguish the fire. Senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger can hold earning moves in the program’s history e-book although striving to convince NFL scouts he can perform at the following level. And it’s an best time for the untested underclassmen to get some prolonged playing time in planning for upcoming 12 months, while a coaching staff members most likely on its way out may well not be searching to the potential of Texas football.
“Extremely let down and heartbroken, specifically for our seniors in the final result of last week’s activity,” Herman explained Monday. “But you know, the solar arrived up. And our guys are really resilient team. And they comprehend we have got a position to do below, which is to put together to make the most of an possibility to go 1- in Manhattan, Kansas.
“We’re nonetheless combating for some definitely great bowl online games. We’re fighting for a genuinely, definitely fantastic file. And we’re battling to give the seniors an opportunity to go out with four straight profitable seasons, and hopefully four straight bowl match wins as well.”
Confident, Texas can clinch its 3rd straight 8-earn period for the first time considering the fact that 2011-13. It can acquire its fourth bowl match in four yrs, anything not performed due to the fact Mack Brown’s Longhorns reeled off 5 straight from 2004-08. It can finished three games earlier mentioned .500 in convention perform for just the third time in 11 seasons.
But Texas will not be participating in in the sport that issues most to this title-starved program, the 1 held at AT&T Stadium to identify who hoists the Significant 12 championship trophy. Which has taken the air right out of a annoying period that nevertheless has a number of months remaining.
That deflating outlook has already lead to a mini exodus within the software. Texas won’t have commencing still left deal with Sam Cosmi (NFL draft preparing), starting up no cost basic safety Caden Sterns (NFL draft preparation) or junior tailback Keaontay Ingram (recovery from ankle personal injury) for the remainder of the calendar year immediately after all 3 opted out.
Which is likely to make profitable in Manhattan even additional tricky. Especially if senior centre Derek Kerstetter (ankle) is not able to perform.
The Longhorns two seasons back snapped a five-match getting rid of streak at Bill Snyder Relatives Stadium, successful an hideous melee in which the teams mixed for 33 details and 556 complete yards. But no make a difference what state Texas occurs to uncover the Wildcats in when they journey to Manhattan, the game often feels like an uphill slog for the visitor.
That could be the circumstance this period, way too, even with the Wildcats driving a four-recreation shedding streak after opening the Significant 12 year with consecutive wins in excess of No. 3 Oklahoma, Texas Tech, TCU and West Virginia.
Putrid as Kansas State’s offense has been — No. 9 in both of those scoring offense whole offense — the defense is envisioned to incorporate linebackers Justin Hughes and Elijah Sullivan back again into the mix after the two missed a pair of video games immediately after contracting COVID-19. The last time people two performed, K-Condition constrained Oklahoma Condition to 256 complete yards in a 20-18 decline.
“Our men will be determined they are competition,” Herman reported. “This is what they do. They are resilient, they are youthful, and all they want to do is earn and get ready to get. And I really don’t consider this week will be any unique.”
There is however value in these final two games, even if the principal objective went up in flames.
The athletes are enjoying for pride and for a far better potential. The coaches are trying to keep away from the humiliation of dropping a pair of games to beatable groups in the point out of Kansas.
Herman most likely understands successful out won’t alter the discussion, but it is far better than the choice.
“I’m very concentrated on beating Kansas Point out, not nervous about winning my way out of anything at all, not nervous about the die currently being forged or nearly anything like that,” Herman reported. “We are total steam forward in preparation mode to test to acquire a conference game.”