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Defensive Preview: Kansas

With Sam Ehlinger back in the saddle, the Texas offense looks to capitalize against a frequently struggling Kansas defense

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Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line

Defensive tackle Daniel Wise may be the best player on the Kansas defense. Wise has 4 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss on the season. Zach Shackelford, Patrick Vahe and Elijah Rodriguez held up very well against a tough Iowa State defensive line, so it’s hard to imagine Wise giving them too much trouble.

Whenever the Kansas defensive line is matched up against at least an average offensive line, they have played poorly. Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas Tech imposed their will at the line of scrimmage. It would be surprising if Texas wasn’t able to do the same.

Linebacker

Senior linebackers Joe Dineen Jr. and Keith Loneker Jr. have combined for almost 200 tackles and are very active around the ball. Both players have been forced to make a lot of plays at the second level. An important thing to note when it comes to the Kansas run defense is when it rains, it pours. Whenever teams have success against the Jayhawks on the ground, it comes in bunches and the yards start to pile up quickly. Even an 80% healthy Tre Watson and Keaontay Ingram should be enough for Texas to get up around the 200-yard rushing mark.

Defensive Back

No. 1 corner Shakial Taylor has had a very solid year, recording 2 interceptions and forcing a fumble. Where Texas will really have an advantage is the other side of the field, where freshman Corione Harris holds down the other corner position. Harris made headlines during his recruitment as being one of the first 4-star recruits to ever commit to Kansas. Teams tend to target Harris more than his senior counterpart, and that trend should continue on Friday afternoon. Hasan Defense and Mike Lee hold down the two safety positions. Both are solid players.

Regardless of who starts at quarterback for Texas, the Longhorns should have success moving the ball through the air. Lil’ Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson were freshmen when the Longhorns visited Lawrence in 2016, with neither recording a catch. Both receivers are now playing at a high level, and Texas will need to take advantage of the mismatches.

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Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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