AUSTIN, Texas — Malcolm Brown delivered the tough yards and the touchdowns for Texas. Chris Whaley provided the knockout blow.
Brown ran for 119 yards and four touchdowns and Whaley, a senior defensive tackle, scored his second touchdown of the season on a 40-yard fumble return as Texas beat Kansas 35-13 Saturday for the Longhorns’ fifth win in a row.
Whaley, who was initially recruited as a running back and scored on a 31-yard interception return against Oklahoma, broke open what had been a surprisingly close game in the third quarter when the 295-pound lineman scooped up a loose ball and scored.
“He does it again,” said Longhorns defensive end Cedric Reed. It was his sack of Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps that knocked the ball out.
“I saw the ball go flying and Whaley go running,” Reed said.
Brown’s touchdown runs covered 2, 3, 1 and 30 yards for Texas (6-2, 5-0), which remains in a tie for first place in the Big 12. Case McCoy passed for 196 yards with two interceptions in Texas’ first home game since Sept. 21. The Longhorns defense held Kansas to 306 total yards.
After a 1-2 start, Texas turned its season around and is now bowl-eligible thanks in large part to a running game that has worn down opponents. Texas finished with 221 yards rushing.
“We wanted to grind those yards out,” Brown said. “Coaches want runners who are tough, like the contact and aren’t backing away from it. I’ve taken pride in that.”
Kansas dropped its 26th consecutive loss in the Big 12. Jake Heaps passed for 160 yards for the Jayhawks (2-6, 0-5).
Texas lacked the early spark it had in its previous two games in dominant wins over Oklahoma and TCU. McCoy threw his first interception on Texas’ first drive, and the Longhorns were held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time since the season-opener.
Since the first half against Oklahoma back on Oct. 12, McCoy, who took over the starting job for injured David Ash, has five interceptions against two touchdown passes. He also was hit hard twice late against Kansas and walked slowly off the field both times. Texas’ top backup is freshman Tyrone Swoopes and he didn’t play until the final minutes.
“I thought Case did a nice job of not getting frustrated when he had the turnovers,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “He had a little adversity today and he stepped up and handled it well.”
Kansas had the sort of misfires that come with a losing streak. The Jayhawks had three drives inside the Texas 15 that accounted for just six points, and the fumble that set up Texas’ touchdown return came just when the Jayhawks had a chance to seize momentum in the third quarter.
“Our margin of error is very small,” Kansas coach Charlie Weis said. “When you give up one game-changing play, you’re fighting a little bit of an uphill battle.”
After snagging the early interception, the Jayhawks missed a chance for a surprise lead in the first when Matthew Wyman missed a 31-yard field goal. A penalty for running into the punter also let Texas keep the ball in what would end up as a 92-yard scoring drive when Brown scored his first touchdown 12 plays later.
Brown’s second touchdown put Texas ahead 14-0 before a long pass from Heaps to Rodriguez Coleman set up Ron Doughty’s 21-yard field goal on the last play of the first half.
Kansas started the third quarter with a drive that stalled at the Texas 10. Doughty cut the Longhorns lead to 14-6 with a 27-yard field goal that bounced in off the right upright.
The Jayhawks had quieted the home crowd until Whaley’s fumble return. Heaps, who had started for BYU against Texas in 2011, was flushed out of the pocket and hit hard by Reed.
The ball bounced once and popped up nearly waist high — just right for Whaley to snag it and run untouched to the end zone.
“I thought, ‘Oh is this happening again?’’’, Whaley said. “I couldn’t see anybody in front of me but I knew they were behind me.”
Malcolm Brown closed the third quarter with his third touchdown of the day for a 28-6 lead. His fourth came a few minutes later when McCoy stumbled and barely made the handoff before his knee hit the ground.
“He’s just so powerful,” Mack Brown said. “A great goal-line back obviously, but he’s just so powerful in the fourth quarter.”
Big 12 Conference
At Austin, Texas
Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
Texas 35, Kansas 13
Kansas 0 3 3 7 — 13
Texas 0 14 14 7 — 35
Tex—Malcol.Brown 2 run (Fera kick), 14:19.
Tex—Malcol.Brown 3 run (Fera kick), 2:31.
KU—FG Doherty 21, :00.
KU—FG Doherty 27, 12:48.
Tex—Whaley 40 fumble return (Fera kick), 6:25.
Tex—Malcol.Brown 1 run (Fera kick), :45.
Tex—Malcol.Brown 30 run (Fera kick), 9:07.
KU—Cozart 20 run (Doherty kick), 3:39.
First downs 13 21
Rushes-yards 36-140 44-221
Passing 166 197
Comp-Att-Int 12-23-0 21-32-2
Return Yards 14 25
Punts-Avg. 7-45.7 5-35.2
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 7-44 6-54
Time of Possession 30:34 29:26
RUSHING—Kansas, Miller 9-67, Sims 15-48, Cozart 4-34, Bourbon 4-18, Heaps 3-(minus 12), Team 1-(minus 15). Texas, Malcol.Brown 20-119, Gray 18-68, Swoopes 2-20, Bergeron 1-13, D.Johnson 1-6, McCoy 2-(minus 5).
PASSING—Kansas, Heaps 11-21-0-160, Cozart 1-1-0-6, Team 0-1-0-0. Texas, McCoy 20-29-2-196, Swoopes 1-3-0-1.
RECEIVING—Kansas, Sims 5-51, Coleman 2-85, Bourbon 2-7, Matthews 1-13, Mundine 1-8, Parmalee 1-2. Texas, D.Johnson 7-46, Shipley 6-77, M.Johnson 3-44, Sanders 2-13, Malcol.Brown 1-7, M.Davis 1-5, Gray 1-5.