- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Kansas State beating Texas: A tradition unlike any other, albeit a ridiculous one.
There’s no easy way to wrap one’s head around how the Wildcats have had Texas’ number ever since the 2006 season. There are no obvious answers in this unlikely rivalry, as Kansas State comes to Austin on Saturday aiming for its sixth consecutive victory over Texas.
The Wildcats won in 2006 with 23 passing yards. They won in 2010 with 9 rushing yards. They won in 2011 with 121 total yards of offense.
Failed KSU coach Ron Prince went 0-3 against Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska but was somehow 2-0 against Texas.
Colt McCoy graduated with more wins than any quarterback in NCAA history. He went 0-2 against Kansas State.
The curse is real, isn’t it?
This disclaimer shouldn’t be ignored: Texas played for national titles in 2005 and 2009 and BCS bowls in 2004 and 2008. Due to the Big 12’s two-division schedules, the Longhorns didn’t face Kansas State in any of those four seasons.
All week long, Texas players and coaches were asked why K-State keeps winning this game. Long story short: They honestly don’t know.
None of this is meant to slight what Bill Snyder and the Wildcats (and Prince) have achieved. They’ve won the turnover margin 16-3 and have outscored Texas by a combined 70 points in these past five games. They’ve earned each and every win, and they’ve been winning the same way all these years.
“They are the same team they were when I came into this league 16 years ago,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “If you go back and look at every defensive call that was made by Kansas State in 1998, it's the same ones today. If you look at their offense, it's the same today.
"So you know where these guys are; they just get you in a fight. And they take care of the ball and they have a great kicking game. It's been that way for years.”
The last time Texas tasted sweet victory against Kansas State was 2003, when a young Vince Young came in and saved the day with a game-winning score.
The circumstances aren’t too similar to today, though Texas was out to prove itself after an early-season home loss to Arkansas. You can’t help but chuckle at some of the postgame quotes from that Oct. 4 matchup. They seem far more fitting for the problems today’s Longhorns face.
“This brings back the swagger,” Texas running back Cedric Benson said. “We can get rid of the ‘soft’ talk.”
Added Brown: “We needed a tough win. We needed a come-from-behind win. I’m proud the guys did what they needed to do to win.”
Texas needs this year’s win a whole lot more. Pick up a third consecutive loss on Saturday and who knows what would come next for this season and this Longhorns program.
Brown has chalked up some of his team’s problems in the past two weeks to a lack of confidence. That just might be the missing ingredient for Texas. Beating KSU would bring back plenty of it.
But that five-game streak -- including wins in each of the past three seasons -- all but guarantees Kansas State will take the field at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium this weekend knowing it can beat Texas, no matter how good either team is or how different they are from a year ago.
“K-State has had our number for a while,” Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks said. “We’re taking it upon ourselves to change that.”
All the Longhorns have to do is, well, exactly what Kansas State does year after year in this series. Despite all numbers and logic, they just need to find a way to win.