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Texas Preview

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Imagine thinking that Texas losing to Kansas in football will ever not be funny.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 Kansas at Texas Photo by Allan Hamilton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kansas hits the road to take on the most perennially overrated team ever - the Longhorns of the University of Texas at Austin (aka UT-A).

Kansas (1-8, 0-6) comes into the matchup off yet another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day against K-State where the Jayhawks dropped a 35-10 affair. Meanwhile, UT-A (4-5, 2-4) isn’t feeling much better, having left Ames last week on the wrong end of a 30-7 score.

PREGAME

Kansas won the game against UT-A last year in Lawrence, the second time in five years the Jayhawks defeated the Longhorns in American Football.

EDITOR’S NOTE: My mods are telling me that the official record between the two programs remains unchanged by the Big 12 despite last year’s obvious forfeit by the Longhorns. Clearly, the Big 12 is still pandering to the dollar signs, something that has never happened to Kansas in football before as the conference treats all members totally fairly. So officially, UT-A still leads 16-3 all-time, but I think we can safely put an asterisk by it at this point.

KU’s last win in the month of November came on 11-19-2016, when the Jayhawks defeated the Longhorns by a 24-21 score.

Kansas has not won a conference road game since October of 2008.

Kwamie Lassiter needs five more receptions to move into 7th place all-time in KU school history.

FIRST DOWN

Next verse, same as the first...

The recipe for Kansas in this game is the same as it has been really since game two. Once again, that means the Jayhawks need to control the ball and the clock, while being aggressive when the situation calls for it. That means converting on third down, and if not, it means going for it on fourth down. Yes, UT-A is “struggling” but there is a reason the Longhorns are favored by 30 points.

Actually, there are many reasons, but I digress. More than likely, field goals are not going to win this game. Punting, especially once you’ve crossed the 40-yard line, is not going to win this game. We should be able to tell really quickly if KU is trying to win the game or if the Jayhawks are just trying to cover the spread.

SECOND DOWN

UT-A’s Bijan Robinson is in the top-10 in the NCAA so far in rushing yards while averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Considering the issues KU had with Duke’s Mateo Durant (who is even higher on the leader board than Robinson), this does not bode well for the KU defense. Despite being a top-25 scoring offense, the Longhorns lean heavily on the run game (201.1 ypg) as the passing attack (219 ypg) just hasn’t been there this year.

THIRD DOWN

There is a bright spot for KU, and that is the Longhorns’ rush defense. UT-A is one of the worst rushing defenses in the NCAA, allowing over 200 yards per game to opposing offenses. Texas also ranks near the bottom in total defense and scoring defense, so KU should have opportunities to move to ball up and down the field with the Longhorns.

FOURTH DOWN

S&P+ ranks the Longhorns at #38 this week, with Kansas down at #124 (out of 130). It gives the ‘Horns a 97% chance at victory, and predicts a 46-14 UT-A win.

ESPN’s FPI Matchup Predictor is not too much different, giving UT-A a 98.5% chance of victory.

Meanwhile, Sagarin also prefers the Longhorns by a similar margin, giving UT-A a 95% chance to come away victorious. Sagarin has Kansas ranked #148 and Texas ranked #25 (out of 258).

PREDICTION

This series has been shockingly close in three of the last four matchups, and with the way UT-A is playing right now, there is a legitimate chance for Kansas in this one.

Or is there? The opening line for this game favored UT-A by 30 points. That doesn’t make much sense if you’re thinking Kansas will move the ball and score some points, which you could easily talk yourself into doing based on UT-A’s defensive metrics so far this season.

Part of the issue is we don’t know who will play quarterback for Kansas on Saturday. Jason Bean was termed “questionable” by Leipold earlier this week, but it’s probably more likely KU will be down to its third-stringer, Jalon Daniels. If it is Daniels, will he be able to run the offense and find some explosive plays the way Bean has at times this season?

I honestly don’t know where to go with this one. I can see two possible outcomes. One, Kansas comes out and plays like it did in the first half against Oklahoma, takes a lead into halftime, and goes back and forth with the Longhorns in the second half where whoever has the ball last wins. Or two, UT-A uses this as a “get right” game and absolutely shuts down the Jayhawks and cruises to a big victory.

Since I’m a Kansas fan and I’ve seen this movie way too many times over the past 11 seasons, I’ll take the latter. UT-Austin 55, Kansas 17.

EXTRA POINT

It’s true when people say that Kansas is young, as the Jayhawks have 68 players on the roster who have graduated high school since 2020. That’s the highest among P5 programs and fourth highest nationally behind Navy, Northern Illinois, and Bowling Green.