Preview: No. 24 Kansas football at No. 3 Texas
Austin Eckert | @AustinCEckert Matchup: No. 24 Kansas Jayhawks (4-0, 1-0) at No. 3 Texas Longhorns (4-0, 1-0) Date: Saturday, September 30 at 2:30 p.m. Place: Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX Spread and Over/Under (According to FanDuel): 16.5, O/U: 62.5
Two of the remaining three undefeated football teams in the Big 12 conference are set to face off at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Both teams also come into this matchup as ranked teams. This will likely be the final time these two teams meet in football for the foreseeable future, with the Texas Longhorns making their move to the Southeastern Conference next year.
The Kansas Jayhawks are looking to pull off a big upset on the road, while the Longhorns seek for the best start that they have had in the Steve Sarkisian era.
Last week, Kansas opened up conference play at home, and took down the BYU Cougars in a hard-fought gritty win, 38-27. This was BYU’s first conference game as a Big 12 member, as the Cougars joined the conference over the summer.
All three sides of the ball for the Jayhawks played complimentary football, with the defense accounting for two of the touchdowns scored off of junior cornerback Cobee Bryant’s fumble return, and senior safety Kenny Logan Jr.’s pick-six. Junior quarterback Jalon Daniels threw for three touchdowns, two to junior wide receiver Luke Grimm, and one to junior tight end Trevor Kardell. Creating and capitalizing off of turnovers on defense with the offense taking care of the ball and efficiently driving up and down the field against the Cougars, led to success for the Jayhawks on Saturday.
The win gave the Jayhawks a spot in the AP top 25 poll on Sunday afternoon, coming into this week as the 24th best FBS team in the country. This is the first time that the Jayhawks have made the top 25 poll in back-to-back seasons since 2007 to 2009. It was also the first time in 110 seasons that they have started off 4-0 in back-to-back seasons.
On the other side, Texas is coming off a dominating win in front of a sold-out crowd at Baylor, 38-6. Sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks rushed for two touchdowns and 106 yards on 18 carries. The Longhorn defense was able to stop the Bears offense on four out of five fourth down attempts. The only flaws for the Longhorns were the two fumbles and missed 26-yard field goal. The success in the running game, and stopping the Bears on fourth down was the key to success for the Longhorns in their conference opener.
Both teams are looking to compete against each other with complimentary football. The Jayhawks are looking to continue last week’s successes, while the Longhorns look to replicate that particular game plan. The adjustment that Kansas needs to make this week, is tightening the secondary. The Jayhawk defense gave up 357 passing yards against the Cougars. This game features two teams with talented rosters on both sides of the ball.
The main key for both teams, is taking care of the ball.
On paper, Texas is the better team overall. They have more depth at key positions than the Jayhawks do. However, Kansas remembers what happened last season when they were demolished at home by the Longhorns on Senior Day, just like Texas remembers what the Jayhawks did to them the last time they visited Austin. There are many factors that will be motivating both teams for this matchup. To reiterate, this ball game will be decided on ball security. It will also come down to which team creates more turnovers on defense, and which team will be able to respond the best in certain situations. Both teams have to put the successes of their seasons behind them for this game. This game should be close, and will be decided by a possession.
The Jayhawks take on the Longhorns this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on KJHK 90.7 FM with Austin Eckert and Kolten Kennon on the call.