Season hangs in the balance for Texas, Kansas State

Updated: October 3, 2003, 3:09 PM ET

AUSTIN, Texas -- One team is rolling, the other is reeling.

After Saturday, either Texas or Kansas State will remain in the national title chase. The other will have to wait until next year.

Both teams go into their Big 12 Conference opener with a loss and knowing another one all but ends any chance of a national championship.

"We want to run the table," Texas receiver Roy Williams said. "It doesn't matter who is in the way."

The 13th-ranked Longhorns (3-1) have the advantage of having played two easy games since losing to Arkansas on Sept. 13. Sixteenth-ranked Kansas State (4-1) hasn't played since losing to Marshall two weeks ago.

"We have a lot to prove after the Marshall game," K-State nose guard Jermaine Berry said. "Playing Texas this weekend is an opportunity for us to go out and correct the things we have been doing wrong against a great team."

The roles are somewhat reversed from last year's meeting.

Texas had lost to Oklahoma a week earlier and the desperate Longhorns rebounded to play one of their best games of the season in a 17-14 win in Manhattan, Kan.

"You never want somebody to come in your house and beat you," Texas wide receiver B.J. Johnson said. "That's what we did to them last year. They're probably still upset about that."

This year, the Longhorns responded to the Arkansas loss -- which snapped a 20-game home winning streak -- by posting wins of 48-7 and 63-18 over Rice and Tulane.

Quarterbacks Chance Mock and Vince Young direct an offense that leads the nation in scoring at 51.3 points a game.

Mock, the starter, is the second-ranked quarterback in the nation with a 177.0 pass efficiency rating with 724 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. Young is the fleet-footed freshman whose ability to run keeps defenses off balance. He's led the Horns to nine touchdowns in 11 drives.

Kansas State expects to get a spark from its quarterback as well. Senior Ell Roberson, a Baytown, Texas native, returns to the lineup after missing two games with an injured left hand.

Roberson confounds defenses with his ability to run and throw. The Wildcats use play-action passes to draw defenders in and the option to keep him on the move to find open space to run.

In three games, Roberson passed for 502 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 251 with four TDs. Texas contained Roberson last year, holding him to 125 total yards.

"When you look at everything that's at stake, this is my biggest game," Roberson said. "There's the matter of getting respect for this football team and getting respect for when I go back home. If you lose, everyone will be like, 'Y'all didn't beat Texas and all that."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index