FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (50,071) -- Lawrence, Kansas. Television: FSN. Home Record: UT 3-1, KU 1-3. Away Record: UT 2-0, KU 0-3. Neutral Record: UT 0-1, KU 0-0. Conference Record: UT 2-2, KU 0-4. Series Record: Texas leads, 9-2.
GAME NOTES: The Texas Longhorns look to keep pace in the Big 12 standings when they visit Memorial Stadium to take on the struggling Kansas Jayhawks.
Texas snapped a two-game slide with last Saturday's 56-50 shootout win over Baylor. The Longhorns, who were ranked as high as No. 11 this season, sit in the middle of the pack in the Big 12 with a 2-2 league mark. Their two losses came against nationally-ranked foes West Virginia and Oklahoma.
Kansas has not tasted victory since beating FCS foe South Dakota State in the season-opener. In fact, the team's last victory over an opponent from the FBS came against Northern Illinois last September, a span of 17 games. Most recently, the Jayhawks were dealt a lopsided 52-7 loss at Oklahoma this past weekend.
Texas has won nine of the 11 all-time meetings against Kansas.
The Longhorns enter this tilt boasting the nation's No. 6 scoring offense, averaging a healthy 44.4 points per game. They have eclipsed 40 points in five of their last six contests, the exception coming against the eighth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners and their stingy defense two weeks ago. Last week against Baylor, Longhorns running back Daje Johnson set the tempo by sprinting 84 yards untouched into the end zone on the game's first play from scrimmage. Fellow running back Joe Bergeron went on to rush for a career-high five touchdowns and finished with 117 yards on 19 carries. Sophomore quarterback David Ash was 19-of-31 for 274 yards and threw his 12th touchdown of the season.
Not unlike quite a few Big 12 teams, the Longhorns have been rather generous on the defensive side of the ball. They rank 102nd nationally in scoring defense (35.0 ppg) and are 107th in total defense (472.1 ypg). Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz put it graciously when asked for his thoughts on the team's win over Baylor, saying the Longhorns did enough things to get beat. Diaz said consistency has been the main issue for his defense, as the Longhorns will play well in spurts but then take too many plays off. Last week, they emerged victorious despite yielding 29 first downs and a whopping 607 yards of total offense to Baylor. Part of the reason for that is because UT was able to come up with stops in key situations, including third down, as the Bears converted only 3-of-12 such opportunities.
Whereas Texas boasts enough firepower on offense to overcome its defensive shortcomings, the Jayhawks do not enjoy that kind of luxury. Kansas enters the weekend ranked 103rd in passing offense (188.4 ypg) and 114th in scoring (17.3 ppg). In fact, KU has totaled a mere 66 points over its last five games combined, or, only 10 points more than Texas scored last week alone. If the Jayhawks have any hopes of keeping pace in this matchup, they'll need a much better performance across the board on offense. Against Oklahoma last week, they were held to a season-low 309 total yards and seldom crossed midfield. The Jayhawks' only points came in the final minutes of regulation, with the game well out of reach.
KU held the Sooners to a field goal on their opponent drive and recovered a fumble on their third drive. However, Jayhawks fans didn't have a whole lot to cheer about from that point forward, as OU scored touchdowns on each of their next six possessions. Landry Jones picked apart the Kansas defense for 291 yards and three TDs on 19-of-28 passing, as Oklahoma won handily despite losing the time of possession battle by more than 20 minutes. Senior safety Bradley McDougald led Kansas with eight tackles (seven solo) in a losing effort. On the season, he paces the squad with 58 stops to go along with two interceptions.
The only real concern here for the Longhorns is whether they stay focused enough to avoid a letdown game. Still, Kansas will likely need a big play or three on special teams just to keep this one close.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 52, Kansas 17Game Date and Time
Saturday, October 27, 12:00 p.m. (et)