Like this year, Texas went into last season with Big 12 title hopes. Early October losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma prevented the Longhorns from capturing their third conference championship under head coach Mack Brown. But they had a chance to deny Kansas State the Big 12 crown last year when they wrapped up their regular season in Manhattan.
The Wildcats reeled off four straight touchdowns at one point, beginning with a John Hubert two-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first half, to beat Texas, 42-24, and win the Big 12. Linebacker Tre Walker said at Big 12 Media Days that Texas "laid down" in that game and implied that Kansas State did a better job of playing with a chip on its shoulder.
"Texas sometimes lets their name get them in a pickle," Walker said. "We fight like we have something to prove. We don't have the players but, at the end of the day, we fight. If it comes down to it, we'll roll our sleeves up and get with it."
The Longhorns, who are looking to snap a five-game skid against the Wildcats, responded to Walker's comments this week.
"It stings, man," defensive end Cedric Reed said. "It's a hard thing to hear knowing the tradition of this defense, knowing this is one of the toughest defenses. It's tough to hear."
Texas has lost two of its first three games for the first time since 1988, in large part because of its lackluster defensive performance. The Longhorns have allowed the third-most rushing yards in the country and are dead last in the Big 12 in total yards allowed and points allowed.
"He's not here with us every day," linebacker Jordan Hicks said of Walker. "He doesn't see what we do. He doesn't know. Anybody who's not around has their own opinion and that's his opinion. We're not worried about him."
"I try not to pay attention to all of that," defensive lineman Chris Whaley said. "We know what we do. We know how hard we work. I really don't listen to what anyone else has to say."