We’ll start our schedule breakdown in reverse order, building up to the season opener against Nicholls State. That means we’ll start off with The University of Texas
Fighting Steaks Longhorns.
Texas @ Kansas
Nov 23, 2018 (FRI), 11:00 AM
Lawrence, KS: Memorial Stadium
About the Texas Offense
Texas returns 79% of its offensive production from last season, including nine offensive starters. Shane Buechele (131-199, 1350 yds, 6-4 TD-INT) and Sam Ehlinger (147-260, 1803 yds, 10-7 TD-INT) both return for another season of quarterback competition. Ehlinger is more mobile than Buechele, but Buechele completed about 10% more of his passes last year.
Ehlinger was actually UT’s leading rusher last year, but whoever emerges will have sophomores in RB Daniel Young (103 car, 368 yds, 2 TD) and WR Collin Johnson (51 rec, 725 yds, 2 TD) at their disposal. Johnson was UT’s leading receiver as a freshman in 2017, while Young was UT’s second leading rusher as a freshman last year.
About the Texas Defense
I want to cheap out on y’all and just say that whichever Kansas quarterback is still standing at the end of the season probably won’t be by the end of this game, but that’s not fair to you, dear reader. Although Texas returns just 57% of its defensive production, the Longhorns return seven defensive starters.
Unfortunately for KU’s much-maligned offensive line, the Longhorns have a plethora of talent along the defensive line. Whoever emerges from a competition including senior DE Charles Omenihu (27 tak, 4 sk, 7 TFL), senior DE Breckyn Hager (22 tak, 4 sk, 9 TFL), senior DE Chris Nelson (18 tak, 1 sk, 3 TFL), and junior DE Malcolm Roach (33 tak, 2 sk, 4 TFL) will no doubt be looking to pad their stats against this KU offense. It should be noted that some sites are projecting Nelson as the starting DT in UT’s 3-4 scheme.
Senior CB Kris Boyd will headline the secondary after knocking down 15 passes last year, grabbing two interceptions, and getting in on 54 tackles.
Senior LB Gary Johnson came to Texas as the nation’s top Juco inside linebacker in 2017. He worked himself into a starting role by game five last year, and led the team in tackles in the Texas Bowl.
S&P+ projects Texas at #27 and KU at #103 for 2018, giving KU just a 19% chance to win on Senior Day with a projected margin of 15 points. Meanwhile, Athlon has Texas as its preseason #18-ranked team. (KU is #107.)
Could Kansas get six turnovers, nail three pressure-packed field goals, and beat Texas? Unlikely, but I suppose it could happen. However, I’m not buying it. Texas 45, Kansas 17.