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November 11, 2006

Wildcats stun No. 4 Texas

Saturday night's Kansas State-Texas matchup had a little bit of everything: turnovers, trickery and plenty of touchdowns, but nothing that transpired on the Snyder Family Stadium turf in Manhattan was more stunning than the end result. K-State (7-4, 4-3) knocked off the fourth-ranked Longhorns (9-2, 6-1) 45-42 to give the Wildcats their third straight win and erase any hopes Texas had of playing for a National Championship.

Texas moved down the field with ease on the game's opening drive, but it took the Longhorns four plays from the 1-yard line to reach paydirt. The Wildcat defense was able to keep UT out of the end zone on three consecutive running plays, but on fourth and goal quarterback Colt McCoy snuck in for the score, making it 7-0 in favor of the Longhorns. McCoy was shaken up on the play, however, which forced UT to bring in true freshman Jevan Snead[db]. McCoy would not return.

K-State answered Texas' score with a touchdown of its own, and it took the Wildcats just four plays to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:09 left in the opening quarter. K-State picked up a third-and-2 play with a 21-yard completion to [db]James Johnson on a well-timed screen pass, and on the following play Josh Freeman found Yamon Figurs in the end zone from 36 yards out.

Texas took a 14-7 lead with 12:21 left in the first half thanks to a failed K-State fake punt attempt. Facing a fourth-and-7 from its own 30-yard line, the Wildcats elected to try a fake with punter Tim Reyer rolling to his right looking to throw. Reyer was hit and fumbled before he could even attempt a pass, allowing Texas to start its drive at K-State's 3-yard line. Running back Jamaal Charles plunged in from a yard out three plays later to give UT the lead.

K-State responded again to a Texas score with a touchdown of its own, as the Wildcats drove 86-yards on eight plays to answer Charles' touchdown run and tie the game at 14. Freeman was sharp on the drive, hooking up with Yamon Figurs for two first-down completions before swinging the ball out to James Johnson for a 32-yard touchdown, his second scoring toss of the evening.

The Wildcat defense forced Texas to go three-and-out on the ensuing possession, and a 52-yard punt return by Figurs set K-State up at the Longhorns' 8-yard line. True freshman running back Leon Patton dashed into the end zone on the first snap of the drive, giving K-State a 21-14 edge with just more than six minutes left in the opening half.

The second half couldn't have started worse for the Wildcats. K-State went three-and-out on the opening possession of the third quarter and had its punt blocked by Texas defensive back Michael Griffin, allowing the Longhorns to take over at the KSU 5-yard line. Selvin Young dashed into the end zone on the Longhorns first snap of the second half to tie the score at 21.

Texas appeared poised to regain the lead on its next possession, but a Charles fumble ended the Longhorn drive at K-State's 20-yard line. The Wildcats took full advantage of the turnover, using three big pass plays to take a 28-21 lead. The first was a 29-yard completion to Figurs on a third-and-5, and the next two came by the way of some trickery. Jordy Nelson hooked up with Rashaad Norwood for a 28-yard gain followed by an 18-yard touchdown on a halfback toss pass from Patton to Cedric Wilson to give K-State the lead once again.

Another Charles fumble on UT's next possession set K-State up at the Longhorn 30, and the Wildcats again capitalized on the UT error. On the first play of the ensuing drive Freeman hooked up with Figurs from 30 yards out for his third touchdown pass of the night to give K-State a 35-21 lead.

K-State continued its amazing third-quarter roll by blocking a Texas punt after forcing another three-and-out on the ensuing possession. The block by John McCardle placed the Wildcats at the 23-yard line, and a pass from Freeman to Jeron Mastrud moved the ball to the 1-yard line. Freeman snuck in on the following play, giving K-State a 42-21 lead with four-and-a-half minutes still left in the third quarter.

Texas finally stopped the bleeding on its next possession, driving 75 yards on four plays in just 53 seconds to close the gap to 14. Charles atoned for his earlier mistakes by capping off the drive with an 18-yard touchdown run.

Freeman's first big mistake of the game, an interception thrown to Griffin, allowed the Longhorns to pull even closer. Griffin's interception gave Texas the ball at K-State's 33-yard line, and Sneed hooked up with Limas Sweed immediately for a 33-yard touchdown toss to close the gap to 42-35.

K-State would answer one last time, however, and essentially put the game out of reach with a 51-yard Jeff Snodgrass field goal with just more than four minutes left to play. Texas would add another touchdown late, but couldn't recover the onside kick needed to have a chance at the end.


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