This Saturday evening in Austin, the No. 15 Texas Longhorns will host the Kansas Jayhawks in a Big XII conference matchup. Texas leads the series overall at 15-3. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect against Kansas in our Texas Longhorns Preview.
Texas Longhorns Preview: What to Expect from Kansas
Kansas is 2-4 so far this season and 0-3 in the conference. They are coming off of a bye week which saw Head Coach Les Miles fire his Offensive Coordinator Les Koenning. Koenning was replaced by Kansas analyst Brent Dearmon. While no one knows what to expect with Dearmon leading the offense, we are told he is a run-pass option expert with an up-tempo approach.
Kansas senior quarterback Carter Stanley has a 65% completion percentage this season with 12 passing touchdowns and four interceptions. The Jayhawks top running back Pooka Williams has 90 carries for 445 yards and one touchdown. Their offense ranks 100th in the FBS for total yards.
The Jayhawks defense ranks 119th in the FBS and worst in the Big XII in rushing defense, giving up 236 yards per game on the ground. This should give Texas a chance to flex its muscle in the run game. Adding to this, Kansas will be without their leading tackler in linebacker Dru Prox due to a shoulder injury.
The State of Texas
Now, let’s take a look at the Texas Longhorns and what to expect from them against Kansas. Last week against Oklahoma, Texas posted 310 total yards on offense. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger had two rushing touchdowns and was sacked for a record nine times. Of the loss, Head Coach Tom Herman says, “Everything is fixable. We’ve gotta let our guys play fast; we’ve got to let them play fearless, unafraid to make mistakes.”
The Texas defense also struggled against Oklahoma last week, especially in the secondary. The Sooners recorded 511 total yards of offense. The Longhorns will be without Malcolm Roach for the first half Saturday due to a targeting call. The defense, however, did claim two interceptions against the Sooners and four against West Virginia.
Senior linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch is out for several weeks following a shoulder dislocation against OU. Also injured during that game is senior defensive back Chris Brown who is out for six weeks following a forearm fracture requiring surgery. Freshman running back Jordan Whittington is not ready to return following surgery to repair a sports hernia. Safety Caden Sterns (knee) and cornerback Jalen Green (shoulder) will continue to be out this week.
Keys to the Game
The Longhorns are favored by 21.5 points over the Jayhawks. They have several tools in their offensive arsenal, including slot receiver Devin Duvernay leading the nation in receptions with 53. We can likely expect a slower start, as Texas averages 4.7 points in the first quarter (91st in the country). Texas should take advantage of the Jayhawk’s lack of rushing defense Saturday. If they can control Williams and force Stanley to pass, they can add another win to their conference record.