AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas will take the field on Friday at 11 a.m. against Kansas State, hoping to snap their six game losing streak and end the season in pleasant fashion, instead of heading to the offseason with a sour taste.
The Longhorns (4-7, 2-6 in Big 12) are playing for mainly for pride, as they will most likely miss a bowl game for only the fourth time since 1998 — Mack Brown’s first season at UT.
Before kickoff, the 29 seniors, some of whom have been there through three head coaching changes, will be honored in front of the crowd before the final home game of their college career.
“This week is about celebrating our seniors, they’ve given a lot to the university, they’ve given a lot to this program,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We have a couple of guys where technically, I’m their third head coach…we’ve got to make sure we do a good job for them, we’ve got to make sure we put our best foot forward for them so they have a great experience, a lasting memory in DKR for their last game, and I expect us to play well and play hard.”
For a few games, the problem for Texas was not being able to maintain a lead; that problem has morphed into the Longhorns not being able to start fast in the manner they had earlier this season.
Their last two losses against Kansas and West Virginia, the Longhorns were down 14-0 early. They were able to come back from those deficits, but could not get over the hump.
It’s been an extremely frustrating time for the players and Sarkisian explained what he is expecting from the players as the season comes to a close.
“Ideally, we would love to play really well Friday and send a message to ourselves, one, of what we’re capable of; two, make sure we send the seniors off the right way; three, let our fans know that we’re building this the right way; and four, that our future opponents have something to look at as far as what type of team they’re going to play next fall.”
Fans at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium will see a Central Texas high school star in action for the Wildcats, running back Duece Vaughn out of Round Rock Cedar Ridge.
“I feel like I’m watching Darren Sproles 2.0 when I watch the guy,” Sarkisian said. “Obviously, not big in stature, but big in heart.”
The 5-foot, 6-inch Vaughn has rushed for 1,115 yards and 14 touchdowns this season for Kansas State. He also has 434 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns as well.
“The offense goes through him, but his versatility shows up because he can do a lot of things really well.”
Kansas State has one of the top defenses in the Big 12, allowing the second fewest touchdowns in the conference.
The Longhorns are a little wounded heading into the final regular season game.
Linebacker Luke Brockermeyer is out for the Kansas State game after injuring his knee in practice; QB Hudson Card (ankle) and LB DeMarvion Overshown (foot) will both be game day decisions.
How to watch Texas vs. Kansas State
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on FOX.