Who: Kansas Jayhawks 1-9 (0-7) vs. Texas Longhorns 5-5 (3-4)
When: Saturday, November 19th, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. CT
Where: Kivisoto Field (Lawrence, Kansas) on ABC/ESPN2
Odds: Texas (-24)
Although the Jayhawks record wonâ€™t indicate it, this team is getting better. David Beaty has the potential to really turn this program in the right direction, and the statistics show it. Offensively, Kansas has 2 decent quarterbacks in Montell Cozart and Ryan Willis. This season, Cozart appears to have won over the position to this point. Cozart currently has accumulated 1,075 yards passing with a 58.9% completion rate. Willis has thrown for 811 yards and a 61.5% completion rate. Rushing wise, Kansas has a great back in Keâ€™aun Kinner, who is averaging 5.8 yards per carry on a low amount of carries. Defensively, the Jayhawks have improved against the pass and at getting to the quarterback. The Jayhawks currently have 23 sacks on the season, which puts them at 53rd nationally among all teams. In passing defense, Kansas has fared better than Texas this season. Although this isnâ€™t saying much, itâ€™s something that all Texas fans want Charlie Strong to show. Progress. In terms of passing defense, the Jayhawks rank 82nd nationally, as opposed to Texasâ€™ 109th. There are plenty of things the Jayhawks have improved on this season, and Texas cannot take this away game lightly. If you remember, Kansas almost beat TCU on a missed game-winning field goal. Tread lightly, Longhorns.
Overall, Kansas is just not a very good football team. Where things are getting better, other things are not. Behind Texas Tech, Kansas has one of the worst rush defenses in the country. At 225 yards allowed per game on the ground, Dâ€™onta Foreman will be licking his chops at the opportunity to produce another 200+ yard game. I see no reason for him not to. Although the offense has improved in some dimensions, the Jayhawks still have work to do. This unit averages 358 yards/game, whereas the Longhorns average 509. However, we learned last week that total yards donâ€™t matter. If Kansas can convert on key 3rd downs and not turn the ball over, they will be on Texasâ€™ heels all day. That is not something Texas wants. The bad news for Kansas? What Texas is bad at defensively, the Jayhawks are just as poor offensively. On third downs this season, Kansas has only converted on 35% of their third downs (although Texas hasnâ€™t been much better at 40%). Kansas also does not have a premiere rushing game outside of Keâ€™aun Kinner, which will hurt against a rather poor Texas rush defense. Basically, everything that Kansas is bad at must drastically improve on Saturday if they hope to win this game.
Texas has had constant road woes this season, and I truly would not be surprised to see more on Saturday. This team is in dangerous territory, as they will most likely view this game as an â€˜easy win.â€™ Charlie Strong can try all he wants to take that mindset away, but itâ€™s hard not to think it against a 1-9 team. For Kansas, nobody knows who will show up. Thereâ€™s the competitive Kansas that hangs tough with TCU and Iowa State, and the Kansas that gets blown out by OU in the first quarter. For Charlie Strong, one thing is certain. If he loses this game, he will not be the Texas head coach next year. He knows it, you know it and I know it. For that reason, I think Texas handles this game rather easily. They have far superior talent and much more depth than Kansas has. However, watch out for David Beaty in the future. If he begins getting more wins for Kansas next year, he could see himself getting some nicer offers from DI schools.