Ninety three years of K-State football brought 299 wins to the school. In the last 26 years, which includes 23 seasons under Snyder, the Wildcats have totaled 201 victories.
Win No. 500 came in style for the defensively-dominant Wildcats (6-1, 4-0) as they throttled head coach Charlie Strong’s Longhorns (3-5, 2-3) 23-0.
Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes finished 13 for 25 for 126 passing yards, which was his worst start of the seven total he has made.
“We needed to be as good as we were,” Snyder said of his defense. “We played awfully well. Obviously, no points makes a big difference in the ballgame. It kind of set the tone defensively when the first three possessions were all three-and-outs. That’s really major for any football.”
In the first quarter, K-State started strong but had to settle for field goals on each of its first two drives. Both drives ended the in the red zone, creating easy field goals for freshman Matthew McCrane, who nailed chip shots from 19 and 30 yards.
The Wildcats’ stout defense, which only allowed Texas to move the ball for 92 yards in the first half, overcame the lone offensive scare from the Longhorns as penalties and a sack from freshman linebacker Elijah Lee pushed them from the 16 to the 36-yard line on a second quarter drive.
Midway through the second quarter, the Wildcat offense began to hit their stride. They had a 12-play, 85-yard drive for a score that spanned over 5:52. Senior running back DeMarcus Robinson capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run after senior quarterback Jake Waters and senior wide receiver Tyler Lockett had connected for a 29-yard pass play.
The second half didn’t get any easier for Strong’s bunch. After receiving a punt, Texas began driving down field, moving 39 yards on six plays. Then disaster struck.
The Longhorns attempted a reverse, but a failed pitch resulted in a fumble recovered by K-State senior defensive lineman Valentino Coleman. The Wildcats capitalized on the mistake and kicked a field goal on the ensuing possession.
Texas’ next drive was its best shot at scoring in the game. After driving 57 yards to K-State’s 14 yard-line, Longhorns’ running back Malcom Brown was stuffed for no gain on fourth and one. This was the last play that the Longhorns ran in K-State territory.
“That’s quite a play, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to stop somebody,” Snyder said. “That makes it harder. We didn’t out-scheme them, we just beat them. Those guys were a major part of that. So I was proud of them.”
Snyder’s club was able to twist the dagger on the following possession. Waters had four completions of over 10 yards on the drive and sophomore running back Charles Jones capped it off with a 1-yard rush for a touchdown.
“That was huge, big momentum swing,” senior wide receiver Curry Sexton said. “For our defense to get that stop, then us to return and get seven was huge at that point in time. The defense picked us up all day long when we were putting three points up on the board, getting three-and-outs, and getting backed up deep. Our defense was huge today and that drive was big for us.”
The win made history for the Wildcats. The shutout was their first since 2011 when they shutout Kent State 37-0. It was also their first conference shutout since they beat Iowa State 45-0 in 2003.
It was the first time the Wildcats have held an opponent to under 200 yards of total offense since they did it to the Longhorns in 2011.
“It’s tough,” senior defensive end Ryan Mueller said. “Toward the end of the game (and) you’re up by a lot of points, they’ll put the threes and fours in to get reps, to keep the ones and twos safe. But this was a battle. The ones had to stay in the whole time because Texas was always one or two scores away from getting real close to us. We just went in there with the mindset that this is the drive they could catch fire and get hot. We need to buckle down and finish them off.”
It was not an incredibly productive day for K-State’s offense, but they were good enough. Waters completed 19 of his 30 passing attempts, gaining 224 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Five different Wildcats ran the ball on Saturday. They had 43 carries for 143 yards. Both of K-State’s touchdowns came on the ground, which helped the team keep the ball for more than 39 minutes in the game.
“They milked that clock pretty well for us,” Mueller said. “They definitely gave us rest. Good recovery time for us to get out there, so we were all charged up and ready to go get after them.”