Texas erupted for 661 yards on offense and turned in one of its patented second-half surges to crush Kansas, 40-14. The Longhorns (5-0, 2-0) led 13-7 at halftime. Then in the second half they exploded for 27 points to bury the Jayhawks (4-1, 1-1). Texas improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2009. So it appears safe to say the Longhorns are officially back.
The Longhorns’ defense faced a backup quarterback for the third consecutive game. However, they showed themselves vulnerable once again on special teams. They were able to wear down an overmatched Kansas defense and cruise to victory. The win sets up a high-stakes matchup next week against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry.
Longhorns Crush Kansas, 40-14
A Tale of Two Quarterbacks
While, Kansas opened the game without starting quarterback Jalon Daniels. He was scratched from the starting lineup moments before the game kicked off because of tightness in his back. Backup Jason Bean was called upon and made his 15th career start. Texas benefited from playing against backup quarterbacks against Baylor and Wyoming in its previous games, raising questions about how the Longhorns would have fared against the starters.
Quinn Ewers was sharp from the opening whistle. He connected with AD Mitchell three times for 49 yards. Ewers then capped the Longhorns’ opening drive with a 30-yard touchdown run to give Texas the early lead, 7-0. Ewers came into the game with 205 passes without an interception and was 13 of 17 for 162 yards before finally getting picked off by Kansas linebacker Cornell Wheeler right before halftime. The Texas sophomore regrouped and finished with 325 yards and a touchdown on 25-of-35 passing for another strong performance.
Can Jonathon Brooks be stopped?
This just in from the Department of Redundancy Department: Jonathon Brooks is legit. His highlight of the day came on a 54-yard scoring run early in the second half while racking up 217 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries for the game. His 1-yard dash into the end zone late in the third quarter stretched the Texas lead to 26-14 and gave the Longhorns some much-needed breathing room.
Brooks now has three straight games with more than 100 yards on the ground. The sophomore has already surpassed his offensive output from last season when he was a backup to Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson. Brooks has rushed for 596 yards and five touchdowns this season and is locked in as the team’s workhorse averaging 17 carries per game.
The kicking game is shaky
Texas kicker Bert Auburn was 7 for 10 entering the game with a 49-yarder against Rice to tie his career high. He missed from 47 and 50 yards against the Jayhawks. The returning starter converted on 21 of 26 attempts last year and was considered to be a reliable performer heading into this season.
Missing a pair of long-range field goal attempts must be a concern for the Longhorns as they look forward to their next five games against Oklahoma, Houston, BYU, Kansas State, and TCU. Texas has yet to find itself in a nail-biter late where it needs a field goal. It will need Auburn to be on his game when that happens.
AD Mitchell is the new secret weapon
Texas Head Coach Steve Sarkisian has said the offensive game plan depends upon what the opposing defense is doing. The Longhorns have an abundance of weapons that make this philosophy possible. AD Mitchell was the primary weapon against Kansas. The Georgia transfer had his breakout game against the Jayhawks. He hauled in 10 catches for 141 yards and a 9-yard touchdown to break the game open, 33-14, early in the fourth quarter.
Xavier Worthy made his presence felt with seven catches for 93 yards. Texas saw its run of relatively injury-free football come to an end when tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders suffered an ankle injury. Sanders left the game and the injury was not serious. Texas will be relying on one of the best tight ends in the nation to recover in time for the Oklahoma game.
Texas won this game on the ground, running for an average of 6.6 yards per attempt. Kansas was hampered on offense without Daniels and was 0 for 8 on third down conversion attempts. Texas dominated the time of possession, ran a whopping 86 plays on offense, and used the running game to wear down an exhausted Jayhawks defense.
Here come the Sooners!
The last time Texas and Oklahoma were both 5-0 heading into their rivalry game was 2011. All Oklahoma had to do was defeat Iowa State on Saturday to set up the biggest rivalry clash in recent memory. Oklahoma came through with the win and has a full head of steam going under second-year Head Coach Brent Venables.
The Sooners are led by quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who has thrown for 1,593 yards and 15 touchdowns and entered the Iowa State game ranked 11th nationally in QBR. Oklahoma will return to the Cotton Bowl while looking to avenge last year’s 49-0 loss to the Longhorns.