In a game that could determine third place in the Big 12 and a berth in the Cotton Bowl, the No. 13 Kansas State Wildcats travel down to Austin to face the No. 23 Texas Longhorns.
Perhaps reflecting a lack of national respect for a Kansas State team that lost two games and won a third in 4OT after racing out to a 7-0 start, the Wildcats are +9.5 road underdogs.
But while Kansas State righted their ship in a wild back-and-forth victory over Texas A&M, Texas had their worst loss of the season in a 17-5 defeat to Missouri.
The Longhorns had turned their season around after consecutive losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State by emphasizing their running game in blowout victories over Texas Tech and Kansas. But with both their star freshmen RB's -- Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron -- out, they were unable to recover from senior RB Fozzy Whittaker's season-ending knee injury in Columbia.
With freshmen WR Jaxon Shipley also unable to go, the Longhorns were without their top four offensive playmakers against Missouri. The result, with Texas forced to lean on freshmen QB David Ash to make plays, was not pretty.
Ash missed open receivers, didn't look comfortable in the pocket and completed 13/29 passes for only 158 yards and 1 INT. The Longhorns managed three points offensively and gained only five first downs against the Tigers.
Kansas State's defense has struggled against the Big 12's high-flying passing attacks, giving up 53.3 points per game against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. In that sense, Texas, who will try to emphasize a ground game that might be down to its fourth-string RB, comes at a perfect time.
Offensively, the Wildcats have dominated on the ground, with junior QB Collin Klein already breaking the 1,000 yard mark for the season. In all likelihood, this game will be determined at the line of scrimmage, as a stout Longhorn defense, headlined by an NFL-bound LB corps of Emmanuel Acho, Keenan Robinson and Jordan Hicks, will try to force Kansas State to air it out.
If Klein can avoid turnovers and keep Ash from playing with a short field, Texas will have trouble scoring. In contrast to the typical pin-ball offensive numbers associated with the Big 12, the odds makers have the over/under for this game at 53.5.