When Kansas has the ball
Kansas rush offense vs. Texas rush defense
The Jayhawks turned in their best rushing performance in five weeks against the Huskers last weekend, rushing for 99 yards against a respectable Nebraska run defense. Still, the ground game has been plagued by inconsistency this season, and today’s game doesn’t appear to be a good day to snap out of its recent funk. The Longhorns feature the nation’s top-ranked rush defense, which is allowing just 50.4 yards per game this season.
Kansas pass offense vs. Texas pass defense
The Jayhawks’ success in the pass game likely will depend on which Todd Reesing shows up in Austin — the one who was among the nation’s leaders in multiple passing categories during a 5-0 start, or the one who has turned the ball over 10 times in a recent five-game losing streak. The Texas native, who grew up five minutes from Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, managed to avoid a turnover in last week’s game, but hasn’t looked the same since reportedly suffering a groin injury against Colorado on Oct. 17. Texas, meanwhile, is giving up just 181.9 yards per game in the air, second in the Big 12, and has tallied a conference-best 19 interceptions.
When Texas has the ball
Texas rush offense vs. Kansas rush defense
The Longhorns enter the game with the Big 12’s fifth-best ground attack, which has been supplemented by quarterback Colt McCoy’s ability to scramble when necessary. Running back Cody Johnson, one of four UT running backs with at least 40 carries this season, is the team’s leading rusher this season, racking up 316 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground while averaging over four yards per carry.
The Jayhawks, who started the season stout against the run, since have suffered multiple late-game breakdowns, giving up more than 200 rushing yards in each of their past two games, including 266 in a loss to Kansas State.
Texas pass offense vs. Kansas pass defense
McCoy is ranked in the top 20 nationally in passing, passing yards per game, total passing yards and total offense, throwing for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions. Top receiver Jordan Shipley has developed into a favorite target, catching 81 passes for 1,096 yards and eight scores while ranking in the top five nationally in receptions per game and receiving yards per game.
As the season has progressed, the Jayhawks have improved steadily against the pass — they’re ranked sixth in the conference in pass defense — but likely will be facing their toughest test of the season in Texas.
The Longhorns have scored six touchdowns on special teams — which is six more than the Jayhawks — as they’ve emerged as one of the nation’s top three teams. Shipley has proven to be a game-changer as a punt returner, averaging 13.8 yards per return, with two touchdowns. Kansas has failed to do much on kick or punt returns this season, though safety Darrell Stuckey showed promise two weeks ago while returning kicks against Kansas State.