AUSTIN — Texas needed a spark.
Clinging to a 10-point, third-quarter lead against winless Kansas, the Longhorns were struggling to maintain momentum against a team they had not lost to since 1938.
Then, D’Onta Foreman ignited the offense.
Texas’ sophomore running back recorded two touchdowns, including one for the third-longest rush in school history, in less than five minutes, propelling the Longhorns to a 59-20 victory.
After the game, Texas head coach Charlie Strong said Foreman’s run was the turning point.
“We gave the ball to D’Onta,” he said, “and I watched him just roll it. He made a big run, and then we got explosive as a team. After that, we just started making plays after plays.”
One week after a disappointing shutout loss at Iowa State, Texas was on the verge of allowing the Jayhawks to erase a 17-0 deficit, recovering a fumble and forcing two punts after engineering a 12-play, 59-yard scoring drive to pull within 24-14.
It took just one play, however, to turn things around.
Foreman received a first-down snap and weaved around a couple defenders before bursting up the sideline 93 yards for a touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, Foreman, who finished with a game-high 157 rushing yards on 12 carries, found the end zone once again, scoring on a 9-yard run as the Longhorns capped off five consecutive drives with touchdowns in the second half, transforming a close contest into a blowout.
Foreman’s performance complemented a strong outing from Texas backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, who completed 6 of 7 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 59 yards and scoring on each of his four carries.
While Foreman’s run changed the complexion of the game, it was not the Longhorns’ only big play.
Texas (4-5, 3-3 Big 12) needed just one play to get on the scoreboard as Jerrod Heard completed an 84-yard touchdown pass to John Burt on the team’s first snap.
Heard finished with 201 yards on 13-of-23 passing, while Burt produced a game-high 113 receiving yards on four catches.
Moments later, Nick Rose added a 29-yard field goal before Swoopes made the first of his multiple touchdown runs, giving the Longhorns a 17-0 advantage with 6:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Kansas (0-9, 0-6) responded by sandwiching a pair of touchdowns around a turnover on a botched punt return attempt that led to a 1-yard touchdown for Swoopes. Then, the Jayhawks held Texas to minus-1 yard on its final two drives of the quarter and went into halftime down just 24-14.
Once the teams returned to the field, though, it did not take long for Foreman to help put Texas in complete control and keep its hopes of becoming bowl eligible alive, needing to win two of its final three games.
Despite the lopsided victory, Strong believes his players will be focused Saturday, when the Longhorns travel to West Virginia.
“The guys are not going to get overly excited about this win,” he said, “because I told them, ‘We have to go out and dominate this team.’
“Next week is going to be critical for us.”