No. 7 Texas turns to Maalik Murphy again vs. No. 23 Kansas St.

Field Level Media

November 01, 2023 at 12:29 am.

No. 7 Texas will again rely on a backup quarterback when it hosts No. 23 Kansas State on Saturday afternoon in a key Big 12 Conference battle in Austin, Texas.

The Longhorns (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) were the top-ranked Big 12 team in the season’s initial College Football Playoff rankings released on Tuesday, but they share first place in the league with four other teams, including Kansas State.

Texas, which is off to its best start since 2009, has won two consecutive games and plays at home for the second straight week.

“I’d argue we have the best win in the country right now,” Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday about his team’s Week 2 victory at Alabama. “I feel pretty good about our team and I think over time this whole thing will play itself out.

“We’ve got to focus on what we need to do Saturday and play our best football.”

The Longhorns dominated BYU 35-6 last Saturday, as redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy made his first career start in place of the injured Quinn Ewers and passed for 170 yards and two touchdowns to Adonai Mitchell. However, Murphy was also intercepted once and lost a fumble.

Murphy will be under center once again versus the Wildcats.

Jonathon Brooks racked up 138 total yards of offense (98 on the ground) and a rushing TD, and Xavier Worthy returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown as Texas rolled to the win, which came even with the Longhorns failing to score on three chances inside the BYU 30-yard line.

Brooks ranks fifth in the FBS in rushing yards with 923 and is sixth in all-purpose yards (1,135), while Worthy leads the team in catches and receiving yards (44, 572). Mitchell leads the team in TD catches with seven.

The Longhorns have won the past six meetings with Kansas State, dating back to 2017. It is the longest winning streak in the all-time series for either program.

The Wildcats (6-2, 4-1) head to Austin on the heels of their own dominating performance, a 41-0 thrashing of Houston last weekend. Will Howard hit on 15 of his 17 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the win, with DJ Giddens leading Kansas State with 96 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The Wildcats allowed just 95 passing yards.

Kansas State, the defending Big 12 champion, is riding a three-game winning streak and has not allowed a touchdown over the past nine quarters, outscoring its opponents 103-3 since Texas Tech scored a TD midway through the third quarter on Oct. 14.

“We’ve got big challenge ahead in all three phases this week,” Wildcats coach Chris Klieman said Tuesday. “The guys are confident and excited coming off another big win on Saturday. Great crowd. Great homecoming win. I think we’re getting better in all three phases.

“There’s some things that we need to work on for sure in all three phases, but when you shut a team out and haven’t allowed a touchdown for a handful of quarters, you’re doing some really good things on defense.”

Kansas State is one of six Power Five teams to rank in the top 15 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Wildcats enter Saturday ranked 13th in scoring (37.4 points per game) and 14th in points allowed (15.9 per game).

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