MANHATTAN, Kan. (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns hung on for dear life. It got tight late, but they finally found a way to hold a lead in the second half.

Keondre Coburn forced a fumble and Jaylan Ford recovered it with 0:24 left in the game to preserve a 34-27 win over No. 13 Kansas State on Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

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“I’m really proud of us. That was a good team we beat in a hostile environment,” Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We showed resiliency and finally made a play late.”

It still wasn’t pretty for the Longhorns in the second half. They were outscored 17-3 by the Wildcats over the last two quarters, but they made big plays when they absolutely had to. Texas forced Kansas State to kick a 28-yard field goal with 4:26 left in the game after the Wildcats moved the ball into Texas’ red zone, and then Coburn came up with the biggest play of the season so far on the last Kansas State drive.

Coburn’s play was the second forced fumble of the drive. With 1:23 left in the game, Moro Ojomo knocked the ball away from Wildcats quarterback Adrian Martinez, but fortunately for the Wildcats, the ball squirted out of bounds before anyone could recover it.

Leading 31-10 at halftime and looking terrific, it was nearly the same old story for the Longhorns in the second half. The offense was sputtering and Kansas State got the ballgame within a touchdown after the first play of the fourth quarter. Martinez hit Kade Warner with a 25-yard touchdown pass with 14:54 left, and the home squad cut the Longhorns’ lead to 31-24.

The Longhorns’ only points of the second half came on the ensuing drive. Bert Auburn connected on a 28-yard field goal to cap an 11-play, 64-yard drive that churned 4:25 off the clock to give the Longhorns a 34-24 lead with 10:29 left.

“That was critical and it allowed our defense to stay aggressive,” Sarkisian said. “For a lot of us, it’s a great feeling we were able to do this, but we can play better than we played, and that’s the beauty of it all.”

It took Kansas State more than six minutes to answer with a field goal of its own, a 28-yarder by Ty Zentner. After the Wildcats stuffed Texas running back Bijan Robinson for a 5-yard loss on a 3rd-down toss play, it looked like it could be a Texas Tech and Oklahoma State repeat of squandering a lead.

However, this time around, the Longhorns made a huge play and got it done on the road. Finally.

Robinson rumbled for a season-high 209 yards on 30 carries with a touchdown. The big showdown coming into the game was each team’s tremendous backs, Robinson and Deuce Vaughn from Kansas State. Both played great, but Robinson’s 243 total yards outdueled Vaughn’s 159. Vaughn had more receiving yards than rushing, catching seven passes for 86 yards. Vaughn was Kansas State’s leading rusher and receiver for the day, chipping in 73 rushing yards on 19 carries. Vaughn is from Round Rock and graduated from Cedar Ridge High School.

Quinn Ewers completed 18 of 31 passes for 197 yards with two touchdowns, both to Xavier Worthy in the first half. Tight end JT Sanders caught five passes for 54 yards on seven targets while Worthy had four grabs for 42 yards. Worthy’s first catch of the game came with 10:24 left in the second quarter, a 13-yard touchdown.

Ford turned in another outstanding game on defense with 10 total tackles, an interception a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Ford’s interception keyed a 10-point Texas swing late in the first half. DeMarvion Overshown had nine tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss. Coburn forced two fumbles with four tackles and a quarterback sack.

For Kansas State, Martinez finished 24-for-36 with 329 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 52 yards on 14 carries, some on designed runs and some on scrambles. He kept several drives alive with his decision-making to tuck the ball and run when things broke down.

With the win, Texas is now bowl eligible. They finished 5-7 last season and missed out on a bowl game. Sarkisian said being bowl-eligible is “awesome.”

“Hopefully we gain more confidence from this one going forward,” Sarkisian said. “Our team is hungry. They know what’s in front of them. I’m asking for 30 days of focus. Tonight was a great start to that. We’ve got more work to do.”

Texas (6-3, 4-2 Big 12 Conference) stayed in the hunt for a conference championship game berth. A showdown with the conference leaders, the TCU Horned Frogs, looms large at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 12 at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. Kansas State (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) takes on Baylor in Waco next week.

Game log

FINAL: Longhorns 34, Wildcats 27. Texas keeps its Big 12 title game hopes alive and they finally get the monkey off their back and hold a double-digit lead. My goodness.

0:24 4Q: FUMBLE! Keondre Coburn forces Martinez to cough it up and Jaylan Ford falls on it. The biggest defensive play of the year so far. Texas takes over.

1:23 4Q: Moro Ojomo forces a fumble but the ball squirts out of bounds before anyone can jump on it. K-State retains possession on their own 44. Wow.

2:43 4Q: Bijan gets stuffed on a toss play for a loss of 5, and then Trejo punts it to the K-State 19-yard line

4:26 4Q: FIELD GOAL WILDCATS – Zentner knocks in a 28-yard field goal. Longhorns dodge a bullet, to a certain degree. 13 plays, 65 yards, 6:03. Longhorns 34, Wildcats 27.

6:12 4Q: Ovie Oghoufo hit with a facemasking penalty on the stop and that gives K-State a 1st down on the Texas 11. They had Vaughn stopped for no gain. Brutal penalty

Adrian Martinez is keeping plays alive with his legs and Texas has had issues with mobile QBs this season. He converts a big 1st down with a 14-yard run to the Texas 18

10:29 4Q: FIELD GOAL LONGHORNS – Bert Auburn hits a 29-yard field goal and Texas leads again by multiple scores. That was the Longhorns’ first score of the 2nd half. 11 plays, 64 yards, 4:25. Longhorns 34, Wildcats 24

14:54 4Q: TOUCHDOWN WILDCATS – Martinez finds Kade Warner over the middle for a 25-yard TD. 4 plays, 71 yards, 1:03. PAT good. Longhorns 31, Wildcats 24. Since last year, Texas has lost 5 times after having double-digit leads. That’s tied with Louisiana Tech for most in the country in that time span.

End 3Q: Longhorns 31, Wildcats 17. K-State will start 4Q with 1st-and-10 on the Texas 26-yard line

0:02 3Q: K-State is very fortunate to still have the ball after Ford punches the ball away from Knowles, but Ben Sinnott alertly falls on it so the Wildcats keep possession.

0:57 3Q: Trejo out to punt again and K-State takes over on its own 29

2:33 3Q: K-State has to punt from deep in their own territory, and Zentner hammers one to flip the field. It’s downed on the Texas 27.

4:37 3Q: Horns can’t convert another 3rd down and Trejo’s punt goes out of bounds at the K-State 17. That Texas drive took 4:00 off the clock. That was Texas’ first punt of the game.

5:48 3Q: Ewers hits Worthy over the middle for 20 yards to convert a 3rd down. Texas is 7-for-10 on 3rd down

8:37 3Q: TOUCHDOWN WILDCATS – Martinez barrels into the end zone from a yard out. 4 plays, 24 yards, 1:57. PAT good. Longhorns 31, Wildcats 17.

Texas’ Jerrin Thompson returns the favor, however, and commits a personal foul after a play. Kansas State now has the ball on the Texas 14-yard line

Vaughn has his big play wiped out by a penalty, and then another penalty after the play, and the Wildcats are now 1st-and-35 from the Texas 49. Yikes.

10:34 3Q: Worthy makes the catch but he’s drilled by Josh Hayes and fumbles. K-State falls on it and takes over on the Texas 24. A big play for the Wildcats to perhaps swing momentum if they can get a score

12:40 3Q: Texas gets a stop and the Wildcats elect to punt on 4th-and-1. Longhorns take over on their own 4 after a tremendous punt by Zentner

15:00 3Q: Kansas State receives the second-half kickoff and they need to put something together on the opening drive.

Halftime: Longhorns 31, Wildcats 10. Bijan Robinson has 161 rushing yards and the Horns get 10 points in the final 1:35 of the half to take a commanding lead. But, as we’re all aware, they need to protect this lead now.

0:13 2Q: TOUCHDOWN LONGHORNS – Worthy catches another TD from Ewers, this one for 3 yards. 7 plays, 27 yards, 0:54. PAT good. Longhorns 31, Wildcats 10

1:07 2Q: Jaylan Ford picks off Martinez and returns it to the K-State 27. What a play.

1:35 2Q: FIELD GOAL LONGHORNS – Bert Auburn connects on a 28-yard field goal. At least the Longhorns got something on the other side of Bijan’s big run. Longhorns 24, Wildcats 10

2:22 2Q: Bijan. Wow. 68-yard dash down to the K-State 9-yard line. That puts him over 100 rushing yards for the 7th consecutive game. He now has 149 rushing yards on 12 carries

3:37 2Q: And it’s incomplete on 4th down. Martinez misses Phillip Brooks in the end zone with Jahdae Barron on the coverage and the Longhorns take over on downs.

3:43 2Q: Decision time for K-State on a 4th-and-2 from the Texas 16-yard line. They were lined up to go for it before calling a timeout.

6:03 2Q: Martinez connects with Malik Knowles for a 63-yard gain down to the Texas 24-yard line.

7:06 2Q: Roschon Johnson has the ball punched out by K-State’s Ekow Boye-Doe and the Wildcats recover the fumble on their own 10-yard line. Johnson had a 37-yard gain until the ball came out. Brutal.

9:30 2Q: Barryn Sorrell gets to Martinez in the backfield for a 10-yard sack. Makes it 3rd-and-17 for the Wildcats. Big play for the Longhorns there.

10:24 2Q: TOUCHDOWN LONGHORNS – Xavier Worthy gets his first grab of the game and it’s a TD. Ewers hits him for a 13-yard score. 8 plays, 75 yards, 3:16. PAT good. Longhorns 21, Wildcats 10

13:40 2Q: FIELD GOAL WILDCATS – Texas gets a nice stop on defense and Ty Zentner boots a 22-yard field goal. 16 plays, 84 yards, 6:33 on the drive. Longhorns 14, Wildcats 10

End 1Q: Longhorns 14, Wildcats 7. K-State is on the move, however, with a 2nd-and-10 on the Texas 22-yard line. Deuce Vaughn with 85 total yards, Bijan Robinson with 74.

2:32 1Q: Vaughn hurts Texas again with a catch out of the backfield, this one for a 1st down on 3rd-and-4 for 14 yards. No one picked him up. Has to be an adjustment Texas makes, and they need to do it quickly.

5:20 1Q: TOUCHDOWN LONGHORNS – Roschon Johnson into the end zone from 9 yards out on his first carry of the game. 8 plays, 75 yards, 3:21. PAT good. Longhorns 14, Wildcats 7

8:41 1Q: TOUCHDOWN WILDCATS – The run sets up the pass, and K State just ran a clinic on that. Martinez to Vaughn for 28 yards. 7 plays, 65 yards, 3:42. PAT good. Longhorns 7, Wildcats 7

It’s Adrian Martinez starting at quarterback for the Wildcats. He missed last week’s game with a leg injury.

12:30 1Q: TOUCHDOWN LONGHORNS – Bijan Robinson shows the burst he’s capable of on that 36-yard TD. 8 plays, 75 yards. PAT good. Longhorns 7, Wildcats 0

13:42 1Q: We’ve already got a targeting call. It’s on Kansas State’s Julius Brents. He’s now out of the game and the Wildcats have an early setback. Let’s see if Quinn Ewers and the offense can take advantage of it.

15:00 1Q: Kansas State won the coin toss and deferred its choice to the second half, and the Longhorns will receive the opening kick.

6:05 p.m.: Fox Sports analyst Chris Petersen picks the Longhorns to win 31-28. If he’s as good at picking winners as he was calling plays for Boise State in the mid-2000s, that’s good news for Texas fans.

6 p.m.: Kansas just became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2008 with a 37-16 win over Oklahoma State on FS1, so the Longhorns and Wildcats should kick off shortly on the network.