ADAM SUDERMAN, Associated Press
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Charlie Strong knows there is bound to be some inconsistencies in his first year at Texas.
Putting up 48 points one week and getting shut out the next? That surprised even him.
“We’ve got to play a complete game,” Strong said shortly after the Longhorns lost 23-0 to No. 11 Kansas State on Saturday. “One week it’s the offense, one week it’s the defense and one week it’s the special teams. All three phases have to play well. That’s the only way we’re going to win.”
Texas failed to score twice in the red zone, went 4 for 14 on third and fourth downs, and wound up with its first shutout loss since falling to Oklahoma 12-0 on Oct. 9, 2004.
Now, the Longhorns need to win three of their last five games just to become bowl eligible.
“You don’t ever want to be shut out,” said Strong, whose team put up 524 yards in a 48-45 win over Iowa State last week. “You want to go get some points.”
Tyrone Swoopes was just 13 of 25 for 106 yards for the Longhorns (3-5, 2-3 Big 12), one week after he had more than 400 yards of offense by himself.
Meanwhile, Matthew McCrane kicked three field goals, and DeMarcus Robinson and Charles Jones each ran for a touchdown to lead the Wildcats (6-1, 4-0). Jake Waters threw for 224 yards, and Tyler Lockett had eight catches for 103 yards to climb another notch in the school record books.
It was also the first shutout by the Wildcats since beating Kent State 37-0 three years ago, and the first in conference play since routing the Cyclones 45-0 on Nov. 8, 2003.
Texas only had two good scoring chances in the game.
The first came early in the second quarter, when it marched to the Kansas State 16. A holding penalty pushed the Longhorns back on the next play, and Swoopes threw an incompletion and then was sacked by Elijah Lee to take them out of field-goal range.
The second chance came with the Wildcats leading 16-0 early in the fourth quarter.
Texas had again marched deep into Kansas State territory, but the drive stalled at the 15-yard line. Strong elected to go for it on fourth-and-1, and running back Johnathan Gray was stood up trying to dive over the left side of the line. The officials reviewed the spot but the video was inconclusive, and the ball went over to the Wildcats on downs.
“That was a key play in the game,” Kansas State linebacker Jonathan Truman said.
The Wildcats promptly drove 86 yards the other way, Waters twice picking up third downs with long passes to Lockett and Deante Burton. Jones finished off the drive by dancing through a cloud of defenders for a 1-yard touchdown run and a 23-0 lead with 9:31 left in the game.
Earlier in the game, Lockett moved past Michael Smith for the third-most receptions in school history. The latest Lockett to star at Kansas State has 186 catches in his career.
The Wildcats moved the ball most of the game, but had to keep settling for field goals.
McCrane hit the first, a 19-yarder, midway through the first quarter. He connected from 30 yards on the next season, and the freshman added his third late in the third quarter.
By that point, Robinson had also scored on a short TD run and the Wildcats led 16-0.
Swoopes struggled to find open receivers all afternoon. And when he tucked the ball and ran, he usually had more than one purple jersey on his heels. He only managed 31 yards on the ground.
Gray had just 24 yards on 10 carries. Malcolm Brown ran six times for 21 yards.
“I just don’t think we played like we’ve been playing for the past three weeks,” Texas wide receiver John Harris said. “I don’t know what happened. We just couldn’t get anything going and it’s frustrating. Watching what we did the last three weeks, moving the ball, scoring points and now getting shut out, I have no answers.”