Kansas ended its 19-game conference losing streak and likely sealed the fate of Texas coach Charlie Strong in the process.
The Jayhawks shocked the Longhorns 24-21 in overtime to notch their first Big 12 victory since Nov. 8, 2014. Kansas kicker Matthew Wyman hit the game-tying 36-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining to force overtime. And after Texas quarterback Shane Buechele threw his third interception of the game to open the extra frame, Wyman drilled the game-winner from 25 yards to clinch KU’s first win over Texas since 1938.
Yes, folks. 1938.
Texas had its chances but just couldn’t put the Jayhawks away, turning the ball over six times in the loss. Kansas actually led 10-7 at halftime, but D’Onta Foreman, UT’s star running back, scored twice early in the second half to give the Longhorns a 21-10 lead.
After the teams traded punts, the Jayhawks put a long scoring drive together and converted a two-point conversion to cut the UT lead to 21-18 with 7:48 to go. Texas marched right down on the field on its next drive and looked ready to put the upset scare to rest. But on the drive’s tenth play, Foreman coughed up the rock and Kansas recovered with just under four minutes to go.
Kansas’ next drive drive quickly stalled when Texas got a stop on fourth down, but the Kansas defense was able to get the ball back yet again. This time, the Longhorns were on the edge of field goal range, so they went for it on fourth-and-five from the KU 32. Foreman was stuffed, giving Kansas’ offense one final shot.
This time, Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley hit Ke’aun Kinner on three straight plays to get the Jayhawks into Longhorns territory. On the third completion to Kinner, Texas was penalized for targeting. The 15-yard penalty moved the Jayhawks inside the 20, allowing Wyman to force overtime.
Texas got the ball to open overtime, and Buechele, a true freshman, badly overthrew his receiver, leading to an easy Mike Lee interception. Kansas didn’t mess around when it got the ball. Kinner ran it up the middle five straight times down to the two and Wyman finished it off.
Kansas now is 2-9 on the season. That may not seem like much, but the Jayhawks have played a number of close games in conference. After going 0-12 in David Beaty’s first season, his team has shown marked improvement in 2016.
The bigger story is the likely head-coaching opening now at Texas. Hot seat talk has plagued Strong’s entire tenure. Some of it was justified; some was not. But a 5-6 record in year three is never going to be acceptable in Austin, especially after going a combined 11-14 in his first two seasons.
The rebuild in Austin was more significant than some are willing to admit and Strong has certainly replenished the roster with plenty of talent. But after a loss like this, it would be a shock if he returned in 2017.
Strong, who certainly understands his reality, was visibly upset after the game.
The most painful part of the Strong post game presser.
"Do you know what this means for your future?" pic.twitter.com/MRNuTko8au
— Casey Keirnan (@CaseyKeirnan) November 20, 2016
If he lasts the weekend, Strong will have one final shot to get his Longhorns to a bowl game when they host TCU next Friday.
(An earlier version of this story said Kansas had a 23-game Big 12 losing streak. The streak was 19 games. We regret the error.)
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