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Inside the Numbers: Texas continues to answer offensive questions

After some questionable starts, the Longhorns seem to have found their rhythm on the offensive side of the ball.

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

The No. 3 Texas Longhorns continued to check the boxes on their drive to return to relevance with a convincing win over the No. 24 Kansas Jayhawks for their second ranked win of the season.

While the Jayhawks were without quarterback Jalon Daniels, who was an unexpected scratch due to back tightness, the Texas defense did what it needed to do and kept the Jayhawks relatively in-check. The offense, once again, put up highlight reel numbers and continued to find its groove as they progress through the final season in the Big 12.

Total offense: 661 yards (325 passing, 336 rushing)

It was an offensive onslaught from the Longhorns, turning in their most balanced performance of the year and the second-highest total of his tenure in Austin. For the second year in a row, Texas was able to get it done on the ground, sitting 90 yards shy of last year’s outpouring against the Jayhawks for the No. 2 performance under Steve Sarkisian. In fact, 35 percent of their rushing total for the year came against the Jayhawks this year.

The success on the ground led to success through the air, once again marking the fourth 300-yard passing performance of the year — the only game Texas didn’t reach that total was the sluggish outing against Wyoming. The Longhorns continued their pace to finish among the top-10 passing offenses in school history and now have an outside chance to break the record of set by the 2008 offense led by Longhorn Legend Colt McCoy. They’re on pace to finish the regular season with 3,439 passing yards, which means the record is well within reach if they play in the Big 12 Championship and a bowl game.

Texas got the job done on chunk plays, with 366 of their total yardage coming on plays of 15 yards or longer, the highest number of the season, including four on the ground.

Jonathon Brooks: 20 att, 217 yards (10.9 ypc), two TD

People rightfully questioned what the dropoff would be from Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson departing for the NFL and leaving some untested options in the wake.

Through five games, Jonathan Brooks has answered those questions and more.

His 200-yard performance makes him just one of 11 players in the storied history of running backs at the University of Texas to break 200 yards in a game, among names like Ricky Williams, Cedric Benson, Earl Campbell, and the aforementioned Bijan Robinson. His outing against Kansas this year, mirroring Robinson’s outing from a year ago, becomes the second-best performance by a sophomore running back in school history, behind Chris Gilbert from 1966.

Over the last three games, when Brooks took over the full-time starting gig, he’s amassed 487 yards and three touchdowns on 59 carries — a 8.25 yard per carry clip, bringing his season total to 596. In every year as a head coach, Sarkisian has boasted a 1,000-yard rusher, and if Brooks continues on this pace, he will likely reach the 1,000-yard mark with four regular season games left to play.

Texas: 9-of-15 (60%) third-down conversions

Perhaps the most promising sign of the game was the Longhorns’ ability to get things done on the money down, after struggling to do so in its previous outings this year.

The Longhorns have been downright abysmal on third downs, averaging 37 percent through the first four games of the year and hitting just 40 percent on one occasion — in the opener against Rice. It actually marked the first time in the last two seasons that Texas has gone over 50 percent on third downs, a recurring issue for the offense and a source of frustration, hampering their ability to play complimentary football.

A key to the Longhorns’ success was their performance on first downs, setting them up with just three third-and-longs in the game. The Longhorns averaged 6.1 yards on first downs, a number buoyed by the impressive first-down numbers from Jonathon Brooks. In fact, his two biggest carries of the game — a 67-yard tote and his 54-yard touchdown run — both came on first downs.