Kansas State football falls flat in the second half against Texas. Here's what stood out.

Arne Green
Topeka Capital-Journal

AUSTIN, Texas — The Kansas State Wildcats could have made a statement and carried some momentum into the postseason, but instead they fell completely flat in the second half Friday as they dropped a 22-17 decision to Texas at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

With sophomore Will Howard starting at quarterback in place of an injured Skylar Thompson, the Wildcats got a pair of touchdowns and a field goal on the way to a 17-16 halftime advantage. But they managed just 102 total yards in the second half and no points, twice getting stuffed on key fourth down plays in the fourth quarter.

Texas used a healthy dose of running back Roschon Johnson in the Wildcat formation and he came through with 179 yards on 31 carries. The Longhorns had 381 yards total offense but still managed just 22 points.

For K-State, Deuce Vaughn ran 24 times for 143 yards and Howard eight times for 82.

Here are three takeaways from the game as K-State (7-5, 4-5 Big 12) awaits its postseason bowl destination:

Texas has a hold on Wildcats

A dreadful season for Texas didn't stop the Longhorns from continuing their mastery of Kansas State as they beat the Wildcats for the fifth straight time.

K-State held a one-point halftime lead but generated no offense in the second half, while Texas kicked a pair of field goals to win it.

Where's the trust in Will?

Kansas State seemingly lost trust in Howard in the second half, abandoning the quarterback run game that produced a 71-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

The Wildcats twice had two downs to pick up a yard in the fourth quarter, once at their own 30-yard line and the other at the Texas 17, and came up empty both times.

The first time, they handed the ball to Vaughn on third down, then put him in the wildcat for no gain on fourth.

Then, after a nice drive deep into Texas territory, they put Vaughn in the shotgun again, to no avail. On fourth down, instead of a quarterback sneak, they ran the option right with Howard keeping, and he was stopped short.

Longhorns inspired in finale

Texas had nothing to play for, having lost six straight games to drop out of bowl contention, but hung with K-State in the first half and seemingly found the will to play on.

Clinging to a slim lead, Texas came up with fourth-down defensive stops, once deep in Wildcat territory to set up a field goal, then stuffed the 'Cats on consecutive plays for no gain at the Longhorn 17.