With a trip to the Big 12 Championship on the line, Texas travels to Lawrence to turn an opportunity into reality. Last time the Longhorns traveled to Lawrence… well, we don’t need to get into that. With Sam Ehlinger back at quarterback, Texas is surely feeling confident about its chances. The Longhorns must be careful, however, as Kansas truly has nothing to lose. Our staff predicts the result of the final regular season game:
Daniel Seahorn (5-6)
This one is pretty straight forward. Win on Friday and the Longhorns are heading to the Big 12 title game and are a step closer to re-emerging on the national stage. It’s all right in front of this Texas team, and all that stands in their way is a revenge game in Lawrence.
The fact that this game is any sort of revenge game probably makes Longhorn fans cringe, but here we are. The last trip to Lawrence doesn’t need any rehashing and I’m sure this group doesn’t need any reminders. Many of them were there and witnessed the debacle first hand, and now have a chance to not only make it right, but to move the program a step closer to a Big 12 championship.
While this Jayhawk team has only notched one conference win, they won’t be taken lightly in Austin. They just put up 40 in Norman (while also giving up 55) and running back Pooka Williams Jr. had a monster day. He is now north of 1,000 yards on the season. Slowing him down will be the tallest task for the Texas defense heading into the matchup.
With Sam Ehlinger likely starting at quarterback, I still feel confident in saying this chapter will end much more favorably for Texas than the previous one in Lawrence. On top of that the Longhorn defense is fresh off one of their best performances of the season against Iowa State, and that confidence will be huge heading into this one. I’m predicting a double digit win for the Longhorns and a trip to the Big 12 Championship.
Prediction: Texas 38, Kansas 21
Jameson McCausland (7-4)
I don’t expect this to be an easy game for Texas at all. Kansas has nothing to lose. Their coach has already been told he will be let go, and they won’t be going to a bowl game. I fully expect to see Kansas empty out the playbook with every trick play imaginable, because why not? Teams are typically dangerous when they play with the mindset of having nothing to lose.
If Sam Ehlinger is able to play in this game, I feel confident the Longhorns will be able to pull away in the second half. I think Todd Orlando made the necessary adjustments last week after several bad games and it will carry over into Friday afternoon. This one may be closer than most think, but Texas will notch its 9th victory of the season and punch their ticket to the conference championship game.
Prediction: Texas 31, Kansas 17
Aaron Carrara (9-2)
Texas hits the road in its regular season finale to face an improved Kansas Jayhawks team. Sam Ehlinger has a banged up shoulder but is expected to start. A win gets Texas into the Big 12 Championship Game next weekend to face wither Oklahoma or West Virginia. The Longhorns found their stride on defense last week against Iowa State and they will need another stout performance on Friday. Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. ripped Oklahoma’s defense for 252 yards on the ground last week, and Texas will need to be prepared to stop the run.
The Longhorns are banged up as a whole, but this is a must-win for Tom Herman and Texas. The weather forecast calls for cold and rain in Lawrence, but Texas pushes through and holds on to win their 9th game of the season.
Prediction: Texas 35, Kansas 24
Harrison Wier (4-7)
I’ve been adamant this season about Texas proving they are an improved program. They’ve done that this year. All that stands in the way of a trip to the Big 12 Championship is a road trip to Lawrence to face the Kansas Jayhawks. With Sam Ehlinger likely starting at quarterback, much of the worries about facing Kansas should be subdued. The Jayhawks defense leaves much to be desired, and is especially subject against the run.
The only big concern is how the Texas defense will fair against freshman phenom running back Pooka Williams Jr. The freshman torched Oklahoma for 200+ rushing yards last week, and has more than 1,000 on the season. If Texas can limit Williams Jr., the Kansas offense is extremely one dimensional. Todd Orlando showed that he could make positive adjustments last weekend, and I expect more of the same on Friday.
With several players on the roster that know how the trip to Lawrence in 2016 turned out, Kansas will not be taken lightly. Ultimately, Texas should pull away in the second half and notch their first trip to the Big 12 Championship since 2009.
Prediction: Texas 38, Kansas 28
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