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Texas seeks bowl eligibility on the road against 1-9 Kansas Jayhawks

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This one could get ugly in a hurry with the eyes of Texas set upon bowl eligibility.

NCAA Football: Kansas at Texas Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been nearly 80 years since the Kansas Jayhawks outscored the Texas Longhorns on the gridiron and a height that’s yet to be reached in 13 meetings since the formation of the Big 12.

The Jayhawks currently sit at 1-9 on the season and considering their 2016 displays, it seems highly unlikely that Kansas steals its first win against the ‘Horns since 1938. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, Kansas has only an 8.7 percent chance to secure its second win of the season, and for good reason.

Kansas is among the nation’s bottom-feeders in the vast majority of meaningful statistics categories. As a unit, the Jayhawks offense is tied for 104th in total yards and tied for 108th in yards per game with 3,579 and 358, respectively. Kansas’ passing offense can be placed in the middle of the pack portion of the rankings with 236.3 yards per game, but that’s not necessarily a strength for an offense that ranks 21st in attempts (378) and 20th in completions (233).

As seen by Kansas’ 6.3 yards per passing attempt — 114th nationally — an offense now throwing the ball around to match the Big 12’s new identity is lacking the explosive potential so many around the league feature.

To make matters worse for the Jayhawks, the offense’s success will be dependent on the arm of a freshman quarterback in Carter Stanley, who has throw only 70 passes this season. Stanley will set up shop behind an offensive line that’s allowed only 21 sacks this season while facing an improved Texas defense ranks fourth nationally with 36 sacks. Meanwhile, the nearly non-existent Kansas rushing attack will allow Texas to attack a fairly one-dimensional Jayhawks team.

With junior quarterback Montrell Cozart questionable due to a concussion, Kansas may be forced to rely upon its two running backs, Ke’aun Kinner and Taylor Martin. The two have combined for 953 yards and seven rushing touchdowns this season. As a team, Kansas has rushed for 1,216 yards — 397 fewer than D’Onta Foreman.

The result of the lack of an explosive passing attack and a reliable running game are glaringly evident with the Jayhawks’ 120th-ranked scoring offense (20 PPG) and 112th ranking in first downs gained (180). Converting only 24.9 percent of third downs (105th) hasn’t done much to bolster either of the aforementioned efforts.

Things on the defensive side of the ball aren’t much more fruitful for Kansas. Ten games into the season, the Jayhawks are allowing 39.3 points per game (120th) and rank 109th in total yards allowed and yards per game allowed with 4,630 and 463, respectively.

Against Texas, Kansas will meet an offense that now has seven 500-yard performances in only 10 games — a feat that already serves as the most in school history. More concerning for Kansas is likely what the defense will see from Foreman — arguably the nation’s top running back.

The Jayhawks rush defense ranks 112th in yards allowed this season with 2,257 and 110th in yards per game allowed with 225.7 — Foreman leads the nation with 179.2 rushing yards per game. The wise would expect the Longhorns star running back to break Earl Campbell’s 100-yard rushing record with a 12th consecutive performance cracking triple digits.

If numbers never lie, they’d say the chances of Kansas stealing its first victory over Texas as a member of the Big 12 are slim, at best. Whether it’s Kansas’ weaknesses aligning with Texas’ strengths, or the sheer talent aspect, it shouldn’t take long for the Jayhawks to become completely overwhelmed a clawing to prevent a blowout on Senior Day.

Series History

· Saturday will mark the 16th meeting between Texas and Kansas.

· Texas has won all 13 meetings since the formation of the Big 12.

· The Longhorns are 6-2 all-time in Lawrence.

· Texas defeated Kansas 59-20 last season in Austin.

Jayhawks to watch

· Fish Smithson — The senior safety leads Kansas with 70 total tackles and has hauled in three interceptions this season.

· Steven Sims Jr. — A sophomore from Houston, Sims leads the Jayhawks in receptions (60), receiving yards (739) and receiving touchdowns (7).

Texas Tidbits

· A Texas win would make the ‘Horns bowl eligible for the 54th time in school history.

· Shane Buechele became Texas’ all-time freshman passing leader vs. West Virginia with his 318-yard performance. The true freshman now has 2,575 yards. Colt McCoy’s 2,570 yards was previous record.

· D’Onta Foreman tied Earl Campbell’s 100-yard rushing record with his 11th consecutive 100-yard performance against West Virginia.

· The Longhorns have held each of their last five opponents under their season scoring average entering the game.

· Texas’ seven 500-yard offensive performances is the most during a single season in school history.

· The defense has forced 16 turnovers in last six games after forcing just one in first four games.

· 120 starts by freshmen and sophomores are the most in Power Five.