FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (50,071) — Lawrence, Kansas.
Television: FS1. Home Record: Texas 1-1, KU 2-0. Away Record: Texas 0-0, KU
0-1. Neutral Record: Texas 0-1, KU 0-0. Conference Record: Texas 0-0, KU 0-0.
Series Record: Texas leads. 11-2.
GAME NOTES: The Texas Longhorns and the Kansas Jayhawks will meet up at
Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon to kick off their respective Big 12
The Charlie Strong era of Texas football has not gotten off to a great start,
as the team went just 1-2 in its non-conference slate of games. The Longhorns
got things started off right with an easy 38-7 home win over North Texas in
the opener but has since dropped a pair of games to nationally-ranked teams
BYU (41-7) and UCLA (20-17) before going on bye last weekend.
Meanwhile, Kansas is off to a promising start to the year at 2-1, as it is
already just one win shy of matching its total from a poor 2013 campaign
(3-9). The Jayhawks suffered a tough road loss to Duke on Sept. 13, 41-3, but
they have won both of their home bouts, downing Southeast Missouri State in
the opener (34-28) before beating Central Michigan last Saturday (24-10).
Texas has a stronghold on the all-time series with Kansas, winning 11 of 13
matchups, including last November in Austin, 35-13.
The Longhorns’ offensive attack has been stagnant thus far, putting up only
20.7 ppg and 311.0 ypg while converting third downs at just a 27 percent rate.
The unit has been hurt by the absence of quarterback David Ash, who recently
retired after battling concussions over the last few seasons. Tyrone Swoopes
has completed 67.7 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and just one
interception, although he has failed to top 200 yards passing in either of
his two starts.
Texas employs a two-headed monster at running back with Johnathan Gray (178
yards) and Malcolm Brown (162 yards, two TDs), although neither averages more
than 4.8 yards per carry.
Jaxon Shipley has a team-high 20 receptions but they have only resulted in 144
yards. John Harris has been much more productive with 19 catches for 247 yards
and three touchdowns.
Texas has actually played very well defensively, holding opponents to just
322.0 ypg, but its scoring defense (22.7 ppg) isn’t quite good enough to
support its underachieving offense.
Jordan Hicks has made plays all over the field with 40 tackles, 5.0 TFL and an
interception, marking one of the team’s seven takeaways. Malcom Brown has been
an outstanding edge rusher with 8.0 TFL and 3.5 sacks, with Hassa Ridgeway
racking up 3.0 sacks opposite him.
Much like Texas, Kansas has had an underwhelming first month of the season
offensively, scoring just 20.3 ppg on 374.3 ypg.
Montell Cozart has had an up-and-down go of it under center through three
games, completing under 55 percent of his passes for 511 yards with five
touchdowns and three interceptions. He finished off the CMU win hot, however,
by tossing a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Tony Pierson is the offense’s top playmaking threat. He has a team-high nine
receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown in addition to 121 rushing yards and
a score on just six carries.
Corey Avery (213 yards, TD) and De’Andre Mann (212 yards) are major
contributors for a rushing attack that piles up more than 200 yards per game.
The Jayhawks’ defensive stats this season are middle of the road (26.3 ppg,
403.7 ypg), although they are coming off their best performance of the year in
allowing just 10 points and 279 yards to CMU.
With 33 tackles, Ben Heeney has nearly twice as many stops as anyone else on
the team. Dexter McDonald has a pair of interceptions, and Jake Love is also
off to an impressive start with 17 tackles, 5.0 TFL and a sack.
Kansas has been the more impressive team in the early going, but it has also
had the much softer schedule. The Jayhawks should be able to make it a game on
their home field, but the Longhorns are the far more talented team and will
find a way to pull off the always-cherished road conference victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 34, Kansas 24