If ever there was a sign that 2021 was simply not Texas’ year, it revealed itself Saturday when the Longhorns suffered a historic defeat at the hands of Kansas in Austin, 57-56 in overtime.
And not in basketball, either. In football.
The Longhorns surrendered an early 14-0 lead to Lance Leipold’s team, then fell behind 35-14 at halftime and 42-21 in the third quarter — unfathomable deficits to those even remotely aware of Texas’ history as a blue blood program (and even more unbelievable to those who know how dominant the Longhorns have been in this series).
To Steve Sarkisian’s credit, he did not let his team get blown out. The Longhorns scored five second-half touchdowns to tie the game 49-49 and forcing overtime. The Longhorns’ offense did its part there, giving the team its only lead of the game. But the defense couldn’t keep Kansas out of the end zone on the ensuing drive or the Jayhawks’ 2-point conversion attempt.
Back to Texas’ offense: It wasn’t perfect as it committed four turnovers — including three that directly led to Kansas touchdowns in the first half — but it still did enough to give Texas a chance to win. Casey Thompson completed 30 of 43 passes for 358 yards and six touchdowns to one interception. Bijan Robinson ran 14 times for 70 yards before exiting the game with an unspecified arm injury.
The defense gave up only 420 yards (compared to 574 yards by the Texas offense) but had no answer for Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels. He completed 21 of 30 passes (albeit with three interceptions) for 202 yards and the game-winning 2-point conversion:
It is, without hyperbole, a low point in the history of Texas football. Conversely, it was a huge win for Leipold and Co., one that will be remembered forever by Jayhawks faithful. With that, Sporting News looks at five incredible stats from Texas’ historic loss:
Texas was a 31.5-point betting favorite over Kansas ahead of their game on Saturday. While that number itself is worth mentioning, what’s even more incredible is Kansas’ history as a huge underdog. Per ESPN Stats & Info, the Jayhawks were a morbid 0-100 as an underdog of 24 or more points since 1978.
Kansas entered Saturday 0-100 as an underdog of at least 24 points since the 1978 FBS/FCS split, by far the worst W-L in FBS over that span.
Texas entered Saturday 79-0 as a favorite of at least 24 points since 1978. pic.twitter.com/tmBG6UT2jn
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 14, 2021
Moreover, Texas was an impressive 79-0. Put those two records together and it all pointed toward a Texas victory. It should have, anyway.
That’s the number of points Kansas has averaged in its last two games vs. the Longhorns. The Jayhawks lost 50-48 in 2019 — COVID-19 forced the cancellation of last year’s meeting — and then won 57-56 on Saturday. Conversely, Kansas has averaged 14.4 points against the rest of the Big 12 over the last three years. That’s a huge indictment of Texas’ defense.
That’s how many wins Kansas has over Texas all time. The Jayhawks improved to 4-16 against the Longhorns on Saturday. Kansas won the first two meetings in this series, 12-0 in 1901 and 19-18 in 1938. In ’38, the Longhorns were in the Southwest Conference and the Jayhawks were in the Big 6 (which later became the Big 8). Texas won the next 13 before suffering its third defeat in the series, 24-21 in 2016. Texas won the next three games before falling again Saturday.
That was Kansas’ losing streak in Big 12 road games, a stretch that dated to Oct. 18, 2008, a 45-31 loss to No. 4 Oklahoma. Moreover, it was Kansas’ first \win in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks were 0-9 prior to Saturday and had been beaten there by an average of 30.7 points per game.
Daniels is the hero of the game for Kansas, but you can’t overlook the recipient of the game-winning pass on the final 2-point conversion: redshirt freshman fullback Jared Casey. It was the catch of his career at Kansas — and, in fact, his only one. He had no stats listed on his Kansas bio page.
Heck of a stage to finally get on the board there, Casey.