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Inside the Numbers: Injury-plagued pass defense continues to struggle

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The Longhorns are both injured and inexperienced in the secondary, a fact Kansas exploited for big gains.

NCAA Football: Kansas at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Most didn’t expect the Texas Longhorns to need a walk-off field goal to beat the Kansas Jayhawks, but after a 50-48 win at home, they have plenty to work on before heading to Fort Worth to take on the TCU Horned Frogs.

Texas defense 310 passing yards allowed:

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the game was the ability of Carter Stanley and the KU offense to move the ball through the air against the Texas defense, granted this is a Texas defense that has been hit hard by injuries. The Longhorns have been one of the worst pass defenses in the country, as their 310 yards per game puts them at No. 126 out of 130 FBS schools.

Kansas was especially potent through the air in the second half of the game, with 195 of their passing yards coming in quarters three and four, which has been a problem for the Texas defense all year. The Texas defense is giving up 176.71 yards per game through the air in the second half, good enough to be ranked dead last in the country, after finishing four spots from the bottom in that same category a year ago.

10-19 (52.63%) Third-down defense:

Perhaps leading to the defensive struggles for the Longhorns was their inability to get off of the field on third down, turning in their worst performance of the season and the third-worst under Todd Orlando. It didn’t look that way early on, as Kansas did not convert on a third down until late in the first quarter, but KU managed to convert on three of their five attempts in the second quarter to finish the first half with an even 50-percent conversion rating.

It got even worse for Texas in the third quarter, as Kansas converted on four of its five attempts, with its only missed conversion coming thanks to a sack by DeMarvion Overshown on 3rd and 16. The Jayhawks were also highly productive on their third downs, with 20 percent of their offensive production coming on the money down, averaging 6.1 yards per snap on third down. On the year, Texas has performed slightly better, holding opponents to 40.8 percent on third downs, but that still puts them at No. 90 in the country.

Devin Duvernay: 8 catches, 110 yards, 2 TDs

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Texas on Saturday, as Devin Duvernay continued to prove why he is one of the most consistent receivers in all of college football. In spite of having his first collegiate drop against the Jayhawks, Duvernay’s performance was good enough to eclipse Texas legend Jordan Shipley for the most receptions to start a season, as well as earning him the top spot in the country in receptions per game with 8.7.

He entered the season with 70 career receptions and his 61 on the season puts him at No. 10 on the school’s all-time list for receptions, passing Eric Metcalf and Lil’Jordan Humphrey. If his yearly average holds, he could finish the regular season at No. 7 all-time.

So now Texas heads out on the road, getting a shot to right the ship yet again against a TCU team that has yet to find its footing in conference play. The Horned Frogs are coming off of back-to-back losses on the road, with their only win in conference play coming against Kansas.