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Texas Longhorns vs. Kansas State Wildcats Free Pick 9/21/13

Kansas State Wildcats (2-1) at Texas Longhorns (1-2)

NCAAF Football: Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium)

The Line: Texas Longhorns -7 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ABC

Storyline: A nine-game winning streak culminating in a Big 12 title may be the only scenario in which Mack Brown keeps his job. The BYU result was bad, Saturday’s Ole Miss game, where the Rebels scored 30 unanswered points to overcome a half-time deficit for a 44-23 romp, could be the nail in the coffin. Kansas State, meanwhile, cruised to 37-7 victory over UMass Saturday night and continue to look more like themselves every week after their season-opening loss to North Dakota State.

The Breakdown: The Horns have dropped two straight now and things are looking downright bleak in Austin. The season started with so much promise, a #15 ranking, an experienced offense that returned virtually everyone, and as much talent as anyone in the nation. It’s difficult to place the blame in any one area when things are going this bad. A paper thin Texas defense is a good place to start, though. Conceding 679 total yards, 550 on the ground, to BYU was, quite frankly, embarrassing. Giving up 449 total yards to Ole Miss was more respectable, but the Longhorns were unable to answer with their own offense in the second half and were shutout. Sr. QB Case McCoy got the start, replacing an ailing David Ash, who suffered head and shoulder injuries against BYU, and he wasn’t bad, going 24-of-36 for 196 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. The running game wasn’t exactly stifled either, although Soph. RB Johnathan Gray’s 91 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries made up the bulk of the 124 rushing yards Texas came up with. Jr. WR Jaxon Shipley had a decent outing with 6 receptions for 83 yards, but overall, the Horns lacked urgency and the offense never materialized in the second half, held to just 100 total yards.

Texas Longhorns vs. Kansas State Wildcats Free Pick 9/21/13

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

With each passing week, K-State’s debacle against North Dakota State slips farther into the rear view, helped along by an increasingly explosive offense. The Wildcats posted 456 total yards of offense against UMass, 329 coming on the ground. Sr. RB John Hubert rushed for 118 yards on 18 carries, while Soph. Daniel Sams added 77 yards and a score on 11 carries. Jr. QB Jake Waters barely put the ball in the air, but didn’t need to. He finished 5-of-10 for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the defensive side, K-State surrendered 309 total yards, 186 passing and 123 rushing, and held UMass to 7-of-17 third down conversions.

Betting Trends: Texas is 1-2 ATS this season, 7-3 when playing in September, 9-1 when playing in conference, 7-3 SU in its last 10 home games, the total has gone over in 5 of its last 5 games, the total has gone over in 5 of its last 7 home games and gone over the Longhorns last 5 games against K-State. Kansas State is 1-2 ATS this season, 10-0 in September, 5-5 when playing in conference, 13-3 SU in its last 16 games, 5-0 SU in its last 5 games against Texas, and the total has gone under in 7 of K-State’s last 8 road games.

Rick’s Pick: The line for this matchup opened at -7 for Texas and that’s a bit of a surprise. You keep waiting for the Horns to snap out of their funk, but I’m not sure they’re in one. It’s not just one unit underperforming, it’s every unit. Conversely, K-State appears to be getting better every week, particularly at the skill positions. The points and K-State are the play.

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Kansas State +7

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