AUSTIN, Texas — Junior Roschon Johnson ran for a career-best 179 yards, Cameron Dicker kicked three field goals, and Texas summoned some uncommonly strong defense to beat Kansas State 22-17 Friday afternoon.
Texas (5-7, 3-6 Big 12) ended the regular season by snapping a six-game losing streak, its longest since 1956.
Johnson, who arrived at Texas as a quarterback but quickly converted to running back, started in place of Bijan Robinson, who rushed for 1,127 yards this season but missed the last two games with a dislocated elbow. Johnson carried 31 times. He ran for a 9-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Texas which has performed poorly defending the run this season, stopped star running back Deuce Vaughn on third and one at the Longhorn 17 and backup quarterback Will Howard on fourth down with 4:03 remaining.
Kansas State (7-5, 4-5) played without starting quarterback Skylar Thompson, who suffered an ankle injury last week against Baylor. Howard, his replacement, ran for a 71-yard touchdown, untouched by a defender, in the second quarter. But Howard completed just nine of 13 passes for 65 yards.
Texas which ranks No. 112 nationally in run defense, yielded 228 yards to Kansas State. But the Longhorns managed to stop Vaughn on third and one and fourth and one from the Wildcat 30 with 9:14 remaining before making the two critical plays against Vaughn and Howard.
After the first stops, Texas used Dicker’s third field goal, from 22 yards, to take a 22-17 lead with 7:32 left.
The Longhorns faced Kansas State without two of their three starting linebackers, Luke Brockermeyer (knee) and DeMarvion Overshown (foot), both injured.
Kansas State: Vaughn, raised in the Austin suburb Round Rock, staged a good show for the family and friends who came to watch him. He rushed for 143 yards and caught two passes for seven yards, exceeding his average of 143.5 yards per game from scrimmage, fourth-best in the country. But without Thompson at quarterback, the Wildcats had no passing game.
Texas: The Longhorns produced a strong effort at the end of disastrous regular season. Not long past noon on Oct. 9, the Longhorns were 4-1 and led Oklahoma 28-7 at halftime. Texas lost that game, 55-48, and five more in a row, surrendering halftime leads against Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State in addition to the one to the Sooners. Then they fell behind Kansas 35-14 at halftime and lost in overtime.
Kansas State will receive its bowl game invitation on Dec. 5.
Texas is not bowl eligible with its 5-7 record, but the Longhorns could receive an invitation if there are not enough teams with six wins to fill all 82 spots. Candidates with 5-7 records are sorted out based on their NCAA Academic Progress Report.
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