The final season in the Big 12 for the No. 3 Texas Longhorns gives them an opportunity to change some of the narrative about their time in the league, especially the matchup against the No. 24 Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin.
In 2016, the overtime loss on the road to a one-win Kansas team brought with it thousands of jokes and effectively signaled the end of the Charlie Strong era. Five years later in Steve Sarkisian’s first year as the head coach, the overtime loss at home not only ended the Longhorns’ hopes at a bowl that year, it was yet another embarrassment in a long series of frustrating games in what was supposed to be the new era of Texas football.
Two seasons later, Texas has a chance to prove that the new era has truly dawned and avenge one of the key stumbles in a period so full of them.
To do that, they will have to stop one of the most potent offenses in the conference, helmed by one of the top quarterbacks in the conference. Jalon Daniels was named the preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and has lived up to the hype through the first four games and is a key reason why the Jayhawks are undefeated yet again. The last time out, the Kansas struggled against Texas in a 55-14 loss in Lawrence, but Daniels was coming off of an injury and has somehow looked better than he did in the season that made him a star.
Thankfully for Longhorn fans, this will be a strength-on-strength matchup, as Texas brings one of the top defenses in the country to the table, led by its line that is already getting a ton of NFL Draft hype. If the Longhorn defense can corral Daniels and the Jayhawks’ spread triple-option attack, it will bode well for the Longhorns not just on Saturday, but for the rest of the year.
Leipold has assembled a roster that can score fast and take the ball away due mainly to its impressive speed on all sides of the ball. The Longhorns should be able to out-muscle them this Saturday, but it will certainly be a footrace to see who remains undefeated leaving DKR after Week Five.
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They’re a good team. Their offense is legit, but it’s going to be their defense that ultimately dictates how far they can go. Last year the Kansas defense got 50+ laid on them by the Longhorns in Lawrence. They will have to put up much more of a fight than last year on that end if they want to pull the upset in Austin.
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Currently, the Jayhawks average 217.8 rushing yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry. Neal comes in averaging just below 100 yards per game on 6.9 yards per carry while Hishaw is slightly above seven yards per carry but sees less volume. This duo has combined for eight touchdowns through four games and sets the tone for the Kansas offense.
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How to watch:
Time: 2:30 p.m. Central
Radio: Texassports.com. Broadcasts are also available on Sirius 132, XM 199, and App Ch. 953
Weather: Mostly sunny, 93 degrees, wind ESE 8 mph, zero-percent chance of rain
*Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.