Texas second year head coach Steve Sarkisian wraps up his last regular season game on Friday against the Baylor Bears. Sarkisian is already guaranteed a winning season, as Texas currently sits at 7-4, but eight wins would make things look a lot more palatable from the perspective of the fanbase. A win against the Bears means Texas still has a shot at making an appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game next weekend. This happens if Kansas upsets Kansas State in Manhattan on Saturday night.
Baylor and Texas will square off against one another for the 112th time in history, with the Longhorns holding a 79-28-4 record against the Bears.
It is Senior Day at DKR and the Longhorns will say goodbye to a good number of players that have exhausted their eligibility or choose not to return. One player to keep an eye on is standout running back Bijan Robinson. Robinson, a junior, has eligibility remaining, but likely will opt to leave in favor of the NFL Draft.
What: Texas Longhorns (7-4, 5-3 Big 12) vs Baylor Bears (6-5, 4-4 Big 12)
Venue: Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium
Location: Austin, TX
When: Saturday, November 25th, 2022
Time: 11:00 p.m.
All-Time Series: Texas leads Baylor 79-28-4
Last Meeting: Baylor defeated Texas 31-24 (10/30/2021 - Waco, TX)
The Line: Texas -8.5
Scouting Report: Baylor Bears
Staff Predictions: Texas Longhorns vs. Baylor Bears
Longhorns Recruiting Road Trip: Playoffs Rounds 1 & 2
DISCUSS THE TEXAS vs. BAYLOR GAME HERE
Photo: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
The Texas Longhorns (7-4, 5-3) close out the regular season against the Baylor Bears (6-5, 4-4) at DKR on Friday morning, After a dismal 5-7 season last year under first year head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Longhorns have an opportunity to notch 8 wins for the first time since the 2019 season. Should Texas win, they will sit back and await the winner of the Kansas - Kansas State game on Saturday night. If the Jayhawks can upset the Wildcats, the Longhorns will play TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game next weekend.
Baylor defeated Texas 31-24 last year in Waco, but the Longhorns have won six of the last ten against the Bears and the last three in Austin.
Will the 'Horns finish the season strong and win their regular season game?
The HornSports Staff weighs in with their score prediction and thoughts on the game.
It’s hard to believe the regular season is almost over, but the good news is this program is where most felt they’d be come Thanksgiving with a shot at 8-4. Yes, the good guys let some great opportunities slip through their fingers. However, it’s the first time in years Texas fans can see real growth and culture change as opposed to the seemingly annual discussions about which coaches need to be replaced or failing to make a bowl game. Closing out the season with Baylor is no easy task, but Texas is the better team and checks more boxes than Baylor in this match-up. In order to avoid some long-winded analysis – and because I’m in holiday mode – the blueprint for victory remains the same for this team with the understanding that Dave Aranda will do everything he can to confuse Quinn Ewers while keying on the run game. It’s imperative that Sark and his offensive coaches not be blindsided by this strategy as they were two weeks ago against TCU. Handle your business on Friday morning, or “mow your own lawn” as Sark likes to say, and hope Kansas does you a favor by knocking off K-State.
Score Prediction: Texas 31, Baylor 20.
Ryan Swantkowski (6-4)
The final game of the regular season has arrived for the Longhorns as they take on the Baylor Bears in Austin on Friday... and there's a lot on the line. With a win and a Kansas State loss (playing Kansas) the Longhorns will make the Big 12 Championship game. So, who do I have to win this matchup? Let's take a quick look.
Baylor had a disappointing first half of the season as they went 3-3 and are now coming off a heartbreaking loss to TCU at the buzzer. This Baylor team had some high expectations this season as they beat Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl last year but are now sitting at 6-5. Offensively, RB Richard Reese leads the charge for the Bears with 14 TD's on the year while the overall offense is scoring a respectable 34 ppg. QB Blake Shapen has played well on the road this year with a 7:1 TD to INT ratio. Defensively, the Bears rank 2 spots ahead of Texas (57th) in total defense in the FBS yet have now given up 27+ points in 3 straight games.
With the Longhorns, it seems to be the same story week after week. One week they shine; the next they struggle. Against Kansas, RB Bijan Robinson had a career day with 243 yards and 4 TD's while Quinn Ewers sat back and watched him eat. Defensively, the Longhorns have been terrific over the past few weeks, giving up an average of 19 ppg over their last 3 games.
With the game coming a day after Thanksgiving and an 11am kick, don't expect DKR to be rocking as it usually is. Even with that being said, I think they take care of their business and wait for Kansas to hopefully do the rest. Give me the 'Horns.
Score Prediction: Texas 30, Baylor 24.
Aaron Carrara (7-4)
Dave Aranda brings a solid Baylor team into DKR on Friday and should pose a good challenge for Texas - particularly the Quinn Ewers-led offense. The storyline of this game will be the running game of the Longhorns. If Sark can find a way to get Bijan his touches and limit Quinn Ewers' mistakes, Texas wins this game by a couple of touchdowns. I like the trend of Pete Kwiatkowski's defense - becoming more and more difficult to run against. Baylor will test Texas in the air, where many teams have had success. The Texas corners will need to play efficient football and wrap-up on tackles or the Bears could get into a nice rhythm and do their damage.
This is an important game for a lot of reasons, but none other than a win notches an eighth victory and closes the season out strong and acceptable amongst the fanbase. Eight wins is noticeable progress from last season and sets Texas up for a potential spot in the Big 12 Championship game and/or decent bowl matchup. A loss leaves many scratching their heads and wondering if this thing will get turned around, and when?
Score Prediction: Texas 38, Baylor 24.
Devon Messinger (7-4)
On Black Friday, the Longhorns will host the Baylor Bears in a game which might be Bijan Robinson's last on the Forty Acres. Of course, there is more at stake than just Senior Day, as the Longhorns still (technically) have a chance to earn a trip to Arlington for the Big 12 Championship game as well.
The key for the Longhorns will come down to their defensive front. Can this group force the Bears to rely on throwing the football? If so, Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen has been inconsistent this year and will have to step up to beat Texas on the road.
Meanwhile, Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers will also have to show some progression under center as Baylor head coach Dave Aranda will likely be stacking the box until Ewers proves that he can beat the Bears downfield. If Ewers and his wideouts can get on the same page, Bijan will have ample room to operate with on the field.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, Baylor 27.
One regular season remains as the Longhorns look to secure their 8th win of the season and send their seniors off victorious in their final game at DKR. Texas will welcome in a Baylor team who is coming off a heartbreaking loss to TCU and sits a 6-5 on the season. Let's take a look at what to expect from Dave Aranda's squad.
Aranda made the decision after spring practice to name Blake Shapen his starting QB and let former starter Gerry Bohanon enter the transfer portal. Shapen has had an up and down season as the starter, throwing for 2,423 yards and 14 touchdowns but also tossing 9 interceptions. He is completing 66% of his passes, but has struggled against good defenses and is turnover prone.
A big reason the Baylor offense has taken a step back this year compared to 2021 is the lack of playmakers on the outside. Slot receiver Monaray Baldwin and TE Ben Sims are tied for the team lead in receptions with 30. Baldwin leads the team in receiving TD's with 4. Sophomore receiver Hal Presley has added 29 catches. Baylor throws to their tight end and slot receivers a lot.
At running back, it has been a committee approach for Baylor much of the season. Richard Reese, Craig Williams and Qualan Jones will all see carries and all 3 can be effective. Williams has seemingly taken over as the lead back in recent weeks and is a shifty runner (5.8 yards per carry).
Baylor has one of the best offensive lines in the Big 12, anchored by LT Connor Galvin and transfers Jacob Gall and Grant Miller at C and RG, respectively. The unit has a ton of experience and is very comfortable in the wide zone scheme under offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes.
Baylor lost a ton of pieces in the secondary to the NFL last year, and it has showed in 2022. The Bears has taken a noticeable step back in pass defense as they break in new starters at both corner spots and one safety spot. Remaining in the secondary is safety Christian Morgan, who is a multi-year starter and leads the team with 3 INT's.
At linebacker, Dillon Doyle remains in Waco for what feels like his 8th year of eligibility. He leads Baylor in tackles with 71, including 9 TFL's. Fellow LB Matt Jones has chipped in 55 tackles and is a solid player.
The strength of the Baylor defense is up front. Nose tackle Siaki Ika is 360 pounds and dominated Texas during the 2021 matchup in Waco. Defensive tackle Gabe Hall is a good pass rusher who can create havoc. Jake Majors will have his hands full. Defensive end Garmon Randolph stands at 6'7 and has the ability to bend the edge. He leads Baylor in sacks with 4.5.
This is an interesting matchup for Texas. Baylor has some pieces defensively to give the Texas offense some trouble. Dave Aranda has a history of putting together good gameplans that expose weaknesses in opposing offenses. Quinn Ewers is going to have to make some throws in this game. Texas will not be able to run the ball down Baylor's throat like they did in Lawrence last week.
Defensively for Texas, this matchup seems favorable on paper. Baylor likes to run the ball and the Longhorns have one the top run defenses in the conference. The Bears do a good job of layering their run game and creating some interesting counters, so it will be interesting to see if the Texas defense can adjust throughout the game.
Overall, this is the position you want to be in if you are Texas. You have a beatable team at home to end the regular season to potentially position yourself to go to the conference title game if you get a little help.
In a year full of uncertainties in Texas high school football, one thing has remained constant - Westlake knows how to win. In addition to covering Westlake's first round playoff game, I was able to catch other Austin-area powerhouses in Lake Travis and Vandegrift.
Cedar Ridge vs Westlake
Shortly after he flipped his commitment to the Longhorns, 2023 four-star defensive end Colton Vasek was ready to open the playoffs against the Cedar Ridge Raiders. With former teammates (and current Longhorns) Connor Robertson and Ethan Burke in attendance, Vasek was a disruptive force all night as it was readily apparent that the Cedar Ridge coaching staff game planned their offense around avoiding him. Still, Vasek continued to attack the line of scrimmage and came away with a sack.
Offensively for the Chaparrals, junior Jack Kayser illustrated why he is one of the most underrated running backs in the state, accounting for 91 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns (on just 11 carries) against the Raiders. Furthermore, Kayser gives off Deuce Vaughn-vibes, being listed at 5'7" but is always hard to bring down.
Thanks to stout defense and a steady running game, the Chaparrals were able to waltz their way to an easy 58-10 win over Cedar Ridge in round one.
Lake Travis vs Round Rock:
While they not be ranked as high as the Westlake Chaparrals (the state's second-ranked team), the Round Rock Dragons entered the first round of the playoffs as the 22nd-ranked team in Texas. However, they were set to face a sneaky challenger in Lake Travis who have underperformed this year in a tough district.
Through one half of action, the Dragons held a narrow lead 10-7 lead over the Cavaliers. Unfortunately for Round Rock, the second half told a different story as Lake Travis scored an unanswered 28 points, resulting in a resounding 35-10 round one playoff victory.
For the Cavaliers on offense, junior quarterback Kadyn Leon had an efficient game in which he scored a total of three touchdowns (two through the air and one on the ground) behind an offensive line that allowed just one sack on the night.
Two Cavaliers class of 2024 offensive linemen to keep an eye on are Adrian-Izic Oratokhai and Legend Cabello, who have held down the left side of the line and have visited a few schools together such as Baylor.
Judson Converse vs Vandegrift:
On Friday, the Judson Converse Rockets travelled to Round Rock in an attempt to upset the No. 17 Vandegrift Vipers. Despite having a plethora of college-bound athletes, the Rockets ran out of fuel fast as the Vipers struck early and often.
Behind two future Division 1 offensive linemen in 2023 four-star Ian Reed and 2024 four-star Blake Frazier, senior quarterback Brayden Buchanan had a sharp night as he was comfortable in the pocket and made a couple of big-time throws. Additionally, someone who impresses me every time that I get to see him play is junior wideout Miles Coleman, who had a couple of lengthy touchdown receptions on Friday which showcased his breakaway speed.
On the other sideline, for Judson, 2023 four-star wide receiver Anthony Evans had a few decent pickups through the air as well. Unfortunately for Texas fans, Evans might be a name to remember in the coming years as he is committed to joining the Oklahoma Sooners. Furthermore, 2023 four-star defensive lineman Johnny Bowens also made a few plays near the line of scrimmage for the Rockets, however the defense as a whole struggled throughout the night. Similar to Evans, Bowens, who is a Texas target, is likely leaning towards a rival school in Texas A&M.
Along with flipping Vasek, Longhorns fans should keep an eye on Westlake 2023 four-star wide receiver Jaden Greathouse, who was at DKR for the TCU game and spent some time with Texas pledge Arch Manning on the sidelines. With Texas's desperate need for playmakers on the outside, Greathouse would be able to compete for a spot on the field early. Although, in order to win Greenhouse's services, the Longhorns will have to convince the current Notre Dame commit that he should stay home.
Photo: Mikala Compton / American Statesman / USA Today Network
On Saturday, the Longhorns looked to avoid what happened to the team last year, a stunning loss to Kansas, as they travelled to Lawrence in a revenge game. After the team had suffered six consecutive quarters without a touchdown, dating back to the second half of the Kansas State game, the Longhorns answered the bell on offense early and often, resulting in a dominant 55-14 win over Kansas.
Following a dismal performance against the TCU Horned Frogs, in which he rushed for just 29 yards, Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson entered Saturday's game angry and powered his way to a whopping 243 rushing yards and 4 touchdown night. In fact, Robinson's outing was so effective that the Longhorns really did not even need to throw the ball. Evidence of this, Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers finished the game with 107 passing yards and a touchdown, but he did not need to do anything more.
Along with the offense's awakening, the Longhorns defense also continued to roll as they pitched a scoreless first half against the Jayhawks. Additionally, the team only allowed 346 total yards of offense, most of which the Jayhawks were able to tally late in the matchup. Moreover, Texas linebacker Jaylan Ford continued to be a magnet for the football as he tallied a first half interception in Saturday's contest.
Due to Texas's early onslaught of the Jayhawks, plenty of underclassmen were able to appear in the team's win. For example, sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks was able to take advantage of his number being called later in the game as he finished the night with 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Next Friday, the Longhorns will wrap up the regular season against the Baylor Bears with kickoff at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium set for 11 A.M. (CT) in a game which will be aired on ESPN.
QB Quinn Ewers: 12/21, 107 passing yards & 1 TD
RB Bijan Robinson: 25 carries, 243 rushing yards & 4 TDs
RB Jonathon Brooks: 11 carries, 108 rushing yards & 2 TDs
WR Jordan Whittington: 6 receptions, 56 receiving yards
LB Jaylan Ford: 5 tackles, 1 INT
The Texas Longhorns (6-4, 4-3) head north this week to face an improved Kansas Jayhawks (6-4, 3-4) team under second year coach Lance Leipold. Both teams are bowl eligible, but for Texas that means very little. Steve Sarkisian went 5-7 in his first year in Austin, and hopes were high for a successful season in year two under Sark. Sitting at 6-4 with two games left, it will likely take the 'Horns winning out to consider the 2022 campaign a success. The Jayhawks went 2-10 last season, which included a win over Texas at DKR.
Saturday is senior day in Lawrence and the first matchup between the two programs there since 2018. The Longhorns will have their work cut-out for them against a potent Kansas offense that averages a whopping 7.33 yards per play this season. That stat is good enough for second nationally. The Jayhawks tend to struggle on the other side of the ball, ranking 117th out of 131 FBS teams in total defense. They give up an average of 443 yards of offense per game.
While Kansas has their issues defensively, it will take efficient play from the Texas offense to exploit them. Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers has struggled as of late and it has had an impact on the Longhorns' ability to both generate positive plays and score points. The Longhorns convert just 38.7% of their third down opportunities and must do a better job if they intend winning on Saturday and finishing the season strong.
Bijan Robinson ranks seventh nationally in all-purpose yards and had seven striaght games of 100+ yards rushing before ending that streak last week in the loss to TCU. Texas will likely need Robinson to carry the load against a Kansas rushing defense that gives up an average of 167 yards on the ground each game.
The weather will likely be a factor, with temperatures hovering around freezing at kickoff and winds ranging from 15-17 MPH.
What: Texas Longhorns (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) vs Kansas Jayhawks (6-3, 3-4 Big 12)
Venue: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
When: Saturday, November 19th, 2022
Time: 2:30 p.m.
All-Time Series: Texas leads Kansas 16-4
Last Meeting: Kansas defeated Texas 57-56 OT (11/13/2021 - Austin, TX)
The Line: Texas -9
Scouting Report: Kansas Jayhawks
Staff Predictions: Texas Longhorns vs. Kansas Jayhawks
"Couldn't Get Out of Our Own Way:" Key Takeaways from Steve Sarkisian's 11/14 Press Conference
DISCUSS THE TEXAS vs. KANSAS GAME HERE
Photo credit: Mikala Compton/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
The Kansas Jayhawks did a number on former Texas head coach Charlie Strong and his team in 2016, dealing the Longhorns a 24-21 OT loss in Lawrence. That win was the first for the Jayhawks against the Longhorns since 1938. Five years later, Kansas rolled into Austin and dealt first year Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian a 57-56 OT loss. Texas has improved since last season, how much remains yet to be seen, but so has Kansas. Lance Leiopold's team holds a 6-4 record and are bowl eligible for the first time since 2008.
The Longhorns are clinging to a hope that they can still somehow slip into the Big 12 title game if they win out and some other things happen, but they must first take care of business in Lawrence.
Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers has played erratic in his last few starts, but the hope is he can turn it around on the road and lead his team to a much-needed win. That won't be an easy task against a capable, well-coached Kansas team that has a solid offense that can move the ball and score points.
After the disappointing loss to TCU in Austin last weekend, does Texas have the capability to bounce-back and win a true road game against the Jayhawks? Will the Texas offense finally get clicking?
The HornSports Staff gives their score predictions and thoughts on the Texas vs. Kansas game.
Jameson McCausland (6-4)
Here we are again. Texas had another opportunity to get a signature win under Steve Sarkisian and once again the Longhorns came up short. Now they have to make a trip to Lawrence to play Kansas in a game that will be very cold and windy. Who knows what Texas team we are going to get on Saturday.
Kansas is a much improved team from last year and the potential return of Jalon Daniels at QB is worrisome. The Texas defense has taken steps forward, but they have yet to string together back to back dominant games this season.
I *think* Texas will be able to move the ball this week and they will figure some things out offensively, so it's actually the defense that gives me the most concern this week. I will reluctantly take Texas in a close game but my confidence level is very low.
Score Prediction: Texas 35, Kansas 28
Aaron Carrara (6-4)
The Longhorns are staring at an underwhelming season under Steve Sarkisian in year two if they lose this game. Seems like every week is a "must win" for the 'Horns, but it couldn't be more true this week. Ask anyone who follows this team what a fair expectation for the season would be and they will tell you eight wins. The talent is there, the coaching has potential, but the ability to improve remains to be seen.
That brings us to the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday and Sark's 6-4 record. Texas is going bowling, but so is every other Division I program. Heck, Kansas is already bowl eligible. The Longhorns have another opportunity to win on the road this weekend and inch closer to that eighth win. Temperatures will be freezing in Lawrence during the game, and the wind will be strong, so it might not matter how effective, or lackthereof, Quinn Ewers is. Feed the ball to Bijan 35 times and keep the Jayhawks honest with a few throws. And mix in a little Roschon... The Texas defense has proven their ability to stop the run which makes this an interesting matchup. Kansas QB Jalon Daniels is still questionable for the game and hasn't played in five weeks. Texas may see him on Saturday or they may see Jason Bean, who has played under center in Daniels' absence. Either way, Texas will make the Jayhawks beat them in the air.
The Longhorns are favored by nine points and I think win by two touchdowns to improve to 7-4 with Baylor left.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, Kansas 24
Devon Messinger (6-4)
Saturday's game against Kansas will serve as a sneakily important game for Steve Sarkisian as the narrative of his coaching tenure can dramatically swing with either a win or a loss.
It is still to be determined whether Jason Bean or Jalon Daniels will get the start at quarterback for the Jayhawks, as both are dealing with injuries, however both options have been solid for Coach Leipold this season. However, the game ultimately will hinge on the performance of Bijan Robinson, who was held to just 29 rushing yards last weekend against TCU. If Quinn Ewers can connect with receivers enough to keep Kansas' secondary honest, Robinson will be put in a position to succeed. If Robinson can get in the ballpark of 150 rushing yards, or if Roschon Johnson proves to be a major contributor, the Longhorns will be in the driver's seat on Saturday.
Score Prediction: Texas 27, Kansas 20
After their fourth loss of the season by a TD or less, a victory against Kansas is critical for the culture and confidence of this program going forward for multiple reasons. Yep, I actually typed that. The Jayhawks embarrassed you at DKR last season on a historical level. The road win at K-State can’t be an anomaly. Sark and the offense need to find themselves after a horrible performance against TCU on a national stage. A decent shot – albeit with help from other teams – at a Big XII title berth is still on the table if you win the remaining two on your schedule. The list goes on. This will be no easy task with Kansas potentially returning QB Jalon Daniels, close to freezing temperatures in Lawrence and the understanding that you will undoubtedly get KU’s best shot. The formula for victory, however, remains the same as it has all season. Use all of the offensive tools in your bag and focus on first downs, limit the big play on defense and be disciplined in all phases as to not rob yourself of opportunities or give life to the other team. I don’t like Texas to cover 8 to 10 points, but I think they’ve grown enough in ’22 to show resiliency and grab a bounce back win over Rock Chalk.
Score Prediction: Texas 32, Kansas 26
Ryan Swantkowski (5-4)
After another one-score Texas loss, the Longhorns will travel to Kansas to take on the Jayhawks on Saturday. There seems to be a common theme of Texas having to prepare for 2 different quarterbacks, and that remains true this weekend as the Kansas starter could be Jason Bean or Jalon Daniels. Both are capable of running that dynamic Jayhawk offense, while for Texas, QB Quinn Ewers has struggled in recent weeks. Let's take a quick look at both offenses and teams overall.
With Kansas, they started off 5-0 on the season with their first loss coming against still unbeaten TCU. Their QB Jalon Daniels also got hurt in that game and since then, it has been all Jason Bean. Running back Devin Neal adds a nice touch of physicality to the offense while their receivers and tight ends all get mixed around a bit. Defensively, the Jayhawks rank 117th in the FBS in overall defense and allowed 43 points last week to Texas Tech.
Looking at Texas, star running back Bijan Robinson was held to only 29 rushing yards against TCU and quarterback Quinn Ewers had only a 43% completion rate (17-39) along with an interception as well. They are still a star-studded offense, but the production has been inconsistent. Defensively, the Longhorns played one of their best games this season, holding TCU to only 17 points and seemed to be finding their rhythm.
Overall, I expect a needed bounce-back performance from Ewers come Saturday in an intense game and Jayhawk atmosphere. Give me the Horns.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, Kansas 24
The potential of a berth in the Big 12 championship game is hanging on by a thread following a 17-10 loss to TCU. The Longhorns no longer control their own destiny as they head up to Lawrence this weekend to take on Kansas. The Jayhawks, who have spent the last decade as the worst P5 team in the country, have turned a corner this year and find themselves with an identical record to Texas (6-4). Let's take a look at what to expect from a scrappy Kansas team.
Texas fans remember what Jalon Daniels did to the Longhorns last year in Austin. Daniels carried the momentum from the end of last year into the beginning of this year and helped Kansas jump out to a 5-0 start. He suffered an injury against TCU and has not played since. In his place, Jason Bean has thrown for over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. Bean, a transfer from North Texas, opened last year as the starter and is a very solid passer. The issue Kansas has for this week is Bean went out late last week against Texas Tech with an injury. Lance Leipold said on Monday that Daniels is getting "close", but that Bean did not do much in practice. It remains to be seen who will take the first snap on Saturday, but the chance of Daniels making his return seem to be a real possibility.
Sophomore Devin Neal is one of the more underrated running backs in the Big 12. The Lawrence native has 951 rushing yards on the season to go along with 7 touchdowns and is averaging 6.7 yards a carry. He is the primary ballcarrier and will carry a heavy load on Saturday with the QB uncertainty.
The Jayhawks have 5 primary pass catchers: 3 receivers and 2 tight ends. Slot receiver Luke Grimm leads the team with 36 receptions, but outside receiver Lawrence Arnold is the player to watch. Arnold is averaging over 17 yards a catch and is someone the Texas defense will need to gameplan for. Mason Fairchild and Jared Casey are the tight ends. Fairchild has 20 catches and 5 touchdowns on the season. People will remember Casey as the guy who got the game-winning two point conversion in last year's game. Casey only has 11 receptions on the season but 3 of them have gone for touchdowns. They will leak him out if the defense isn't paying attention.
The Kansas coaching staff does an excellent job of protecting their offensive line. You will not see many situations where they ask their QB to drop back to pass and go through progressions while the offensive line is asked to hold up 1 v 1. They have only allowed 8 sacks on the season and are playing a good enough level considering the talent at the skill positions. LT Earl Bostick Jr. is someone will get a shot in a NFL training camp in 8 months. Good player.
The defense is still a work in progress for Kansas. The Jayhawks have been shredded at times this year on the ground while also being vulnerable in the passing game. Miami-Ohio transfer Lonnie Phelps leads the team with 6 sacks, but 3 of those came in the season opener against Tennessee Tech. The interior of the Kansas defensive line is experienced, but they can be pushed around. Another thing working is Texas' favor is the Jayhawks run a traditional 4-3 defense, which will be a welcome sight for Texas after 4 straight games of facing the 3 high safety defense.
Ohio State transfer Craig Young is an active player and holds down one of the starting LB spots. Middle linebacker Rich Miller is second on the team with 75 tackles.
In the backend, safety Kenny Logan might be the best player on the defense. Logan leads the team with 80 tackles and has also pulled down 2 interceptions. Corner Cobee Bryant had a pick 6 against Texas last year and is a promising young corner. Fellow corner Ra'Mello Dotson leads the team with 5 pass breakups.
Who knows where the Texas team is mentally after last Saturday. Lawrence has not been kind to Texas over the years, and the weather calls for a cold and windy day on Saturday. Conventional wisdom has Texas should be able to establish the running game and ride their two running backs to victory, but after last week it's tough to speak in absolutes. The only absolute right now is Texas is an inconsistent football team.
Keeping with the common lay of the land, Texas HC Steve Sarkisian gave a quick recap on his thoughts from Saturday's 17-10 loss to TCU. He first thanked the fans for the "fantastic atmosphere" that they created and then touched on how well the defense played "against a very explosive offense." Offensively, Sarkisian stated how they "just didn't play well... we all just kind of took our turns to where we couldn't get out of our own way and I think at times we showed a little bit of our immaturity, a little bit of our youth..."
Moving to the overall theme of today's conference, Sarkisian was asked persistently about the offense, its struggle to put up points in the 2nd half of games, the inconsistency in QB Quinn Ewers and much more. Here's a breakdown: starting with the overall passing game, Sarkisian stated that it's about "precision, timing and execution..." and says how they have to "overall execute better in the passing game, but overall, collectively, we need to execute better offensively." Focusing on the running backs, Sarkisian was asked if he was comfortable giving Bijan Robinson and Roschon a heavy workload. His response: "We just did it two weeks ago. So very comfortable". When asked about his thoughts on Ewers footwork and mechanics, Sarkisian simply stated "he is doing a nice job." When asked about Quinn reading the field, he responded by mentioning how the offense is "all progression-based" and how he wants keep working the shot's down field to "loosen up things in the run game." Later on, Sark was asked for names of who he thought played "winning football" offensively on Saturday. His one answer was WR Jordan Whittington as he was "providing a spark for us [Texas] offensively... really bounced back the other night and played well."
Shifting gears to Kansas, Sarkisian mentioned how it's a "very meaningful game against a very good opponent." He pointed out how they are "running the ball extremely well" and how Kansas HC Lance Leipold "has done a great job." Looking at the offense, he stated how they use "a very unique style of offense with a lot of triple option components... they still force you to play discipline football..." Overall, Sarkisian states it's a "great challenge for us [Texas]."
The Longhorns will try to not only get redemption from Saturday's loss to TCU but also from the loss to the Jayhawks themselves last year in Austin. Can the Longhorns keep their Big 12 championship hopes alive, or will Kansas pull off the upset for the second straight year?
On Saturday, the Longhorns hosted the fourth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs in what might have been the biggest game at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in over a decade. With a chance to determine their own Big 12 Championship destiny, both teams were set to wrestle in this weekend's top game with the lights of College GameDay shining bright. However, despite the bright spotlight, both teams looked rather unattractive - particularly the Longhorns who failed to score a touchdown on offense, ultimately losing 17-10 to the Horned Frogs.
Offensively, the Longhorns were ineffective to say the very least. In fact, the team only mustered 199 total yards. Moreover, redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers struggled to connect with open receivers all night - especially in the first half. However, Texas's wideouts also did not do a great job of helping the young gunslinger as there were multiple drops throughout the game. Additionally, junior running back Bijan Robinson was held to a dismal 29 rushing yards on 12 carries. Of course, it should be noted that it is not particularly easy to have a successful day running the football when the opponent is able to stack nine guys in the box as well. Either way, the Longhorns had every opportunity to capitalize on Saturday and failed to do so.
Following Saturday's contest, Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian spoke upon his disappointment in his team's offense as he said: "Offensively, zero rhythm in this game... we kind of took turns just not executing."
At halftime in Saturday's contest, TCU led the Longhorns 3-0, which truly proved to be a testament of Texas's defensive effort. Time and time again, the Longhorns defense was sent out onto the field and held strong against a TCU team that had excellent field position repeatedly. Eventually, it was the defense that brought the team back into the game when junior defensive back Jahdae Barron recovered a scoop and score touchdown for 48-yards to cut TCU's lead to just 17-10 with 4:25 left in the game.
However, despite a solid performance from the defense, the team's lack of production on the offensive side of the ball ultimately plagued their chances of winning against their conference foe. Adding insult to injury, it did not appear that the Horned Frogs were even at the top of their game as senior quarterback Max Duggan had his fair share of misfires as well. Although the Horned Frogs did what the Longhorns could not - break through the ceiling and find their way to the end zone. Against Texas, the Horned Frogs scored only two touchdowns, however both took the air out of the stadium as junior running back Kendre Miller gashed the Longhorns defense on a 75-yard rush and junior wide receiver Quentin Johnston snagged a wide open 31-yard touchdown pass from Duggan thanks to broken coverage from the Longhorns.
Next weekend, the Longhorns will travel to Lawrence, Kansas to take on the Kansas Jayhawks as they look to salvage what is left in the rest of this season. Kickoff in Kansas is set for 2:20 P.M (CT) in a game which will air on FS1.
QB Quinn Ewers: 17/39, 171 passing yards & 1 INT
RB Bijan Robinson: 12 carries, 29 rushing yards
WR Jordan Whittington: 6 receptions, 78 receiving yards
DB Jahdae Barron: 11 tackles, 1 INT & 1 TD
DL Barryn Sorrell: 11 tackles & 1.5 sacks
The Texas Longhorns (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) are coming off Steve Sarkisian's biggest win as head coach on the 40 Acres, defeating then-ranked #13 Kansas State in Manhattan last weekend. Sark and the Longhorns hope to carry that momentum into Saturday as they welcome fourth-ranked TCU into Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium.
Under first year TCU head coach Sonny Dykes, the Horned Frogs have their sights set on a berth in the College Football Playoff. Boasting a perfect 9-0 record and the #4 ranking in the country, they will need to win in a loud, rowdy and cold DKR stadium this weekend to continue their run.
After a slow start to the season Steve Sarkisian and the ‘Horns goal of a Big 12 Championship is still intact as Texas controls their own destiny. Keep winning and that goal gets closer and closer.
TCU and quarterback Max Duggan have given the Longhorns trouble as of late. On Saturday Duggan will attempt to beat Texas for the third time in four attempts. The Texas defense has a tall task ahead.
Another storyline worth mentioning is the meeting between Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs. Patterson, special assistant to Steve Sarkisian, will stand on the opposite sideline against TCU for the first time since the two parted ways last year. Patterson is the winningest coach in TCU history, where he served for more than 20 years.
This is a game that means the world for both programs but only one can win.
The Longhorns are favored by 7 points.
What: #18 Texas Longhorns (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) vs TCU Horned Frogs (9-0, 6-0 Big 12)
Venue: Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium
Location: Austin, Texas
When: Saturday, November 12th, 2022
Time: 6:30 p.m. (ABC)
All-Time Series: Texas leads TCU 64-27-1
Last Meeting: Texas defeated TCU 32-27 (10/2/2021 - Fort Worth, TX)
The Line: Texas -7
Scouting Report: TCU Horned Frogs
Staff Predictions: #18 Texas vs. #4 TCU
"We're Not Done Yet:" Key Takeaways from Steve Sarkisian's 11/7 Press Conference
How important is the TCU game for the Longhorns?
DISCUSS THE TEXAS vs. TCU GAME HERE
Oct 2, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) throws during the second quarter against the Texas Longhorns at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The #18 Texas Longhorns (6-3, 4-2) host the undefeated #4 TCU Horned Frogs (9-0, 6-0) in a marquee matchup at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday. First year Horned Frogs head coach Sonny Dykes has his team playing at an elite level, with TCU boasting one of the most prolific offenses in the country. The Texas offense is is equally formidable. It has the capability to torch offenses, especially if quarterback Quinn Ewers and running back Bijan Robinson get things going. ESPN's College Game Day will be on-hand for the second time this season in Austin, in what amounts to the biggest game of the season for both programs.
The Horned Frogs made their way into the Top-4 of the College Football Playoff rankings this week and need a win in order to keep their hopes of playing for a national championship alive. The Longhorns are seeking their biggest win in Austin in over two decades. Should they defeat TCU, they will be two wins away from an appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game in Dallas.
The stakes are high and the crowd will be loud, but will Texas and Steve Sarkisian follow last week's road win over a ranked team with a home win over a top-5 ranked TCU program?
The HornSports Staff gives you their thoughts and predictions on Saturday's matchup between #18 Texas and #4 TCU.
Jameson McCausland (6-3)
Last week I said Texas had not earned the benefit of the doubt and needed to prove to me they could win on the road. They did. Now, they return home for one of the biggest conference home games in recent memory. While I don’t think the Texas pass defense matches up well against Max Duggan and the weapons he has, I also believe the Texas offense will be able to put up some points against a shaky TCU defense.
As usual, this will be another close one but I have a hunch Texas will find a way to get it done.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, TCU 35
Aaron Carrara (6-3)
Last week's win against ranked Kansas State in Manhattan was a turning point in the season for this program and for head coach Steve Sarkisian. The Longhorns almost "had" to win that game or things could have gone south really quick. Instead, the season still has a lot of light left in it. The road monkey is off their backs and they welcome a really good TCU team to DKR this weekend. TCU is ranked in the Top 5 nationally in total offense and they have an array of offensive weapons to use (Max Duggan, Kendre Miller, Quentin Johnston, etc). If you look at their previous games this season though, they have had to come from behind in roughly 2/3 of them. Texas has the opposite problem. They typically jump out to a lead, sometimes a really big lead, and then have to rely on a gassed defense to stop their opponent.
Both teams have issues in the secondary and that will likely be on full display in this game. TCU ranks 95th nationally out of 131 teams in passing yards allowed per game. The Longhorns are worse, tied with Nebraska at 103rd. Bijan will get his yardage and TCU star running back Kendre Miller will keep the Texas defensive line and linebackers on their toes.
Bottom line is, this will be a game full of offense and it's a matter of who can make the critical defensive stop or stops when they need to. DKR will be electric and there will be a host of recruits and prospects visiting for the big game. I think Texas dials up a game plan on both sides of the ball in front of a home crowd that allows them to squeak a win out over the Frogs.
Score Prediction: Texas 40, TCU 37
Devon Messinger (6-3)
To say that the stakes are high for this one might be an understatement. With the bright lights of College Gameday being centered in Austin, the Longhorns will have to prove that they can overcome the fourth-ranked team in the country on Saturday.
The key for the Longhorns on defense will come down to stopping Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan from moving the chains. So far this year, Duggan has tossed 24 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions. Additionally, the defense will have to be alert of Duggan's running ability. If the Longhorns can limit the senior quarterback's damage, expect good things.
Of course, the final results for the Longhorns will ride on the shoulders of their running back room as Bijan Robinson will look to sneak his way through the backdoor of the Heisman conversation.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, TCU 34
After finally slaying the road beast in Manhattan last weekend, Sark and the Horns have set themselves up for a golden opportunity to take control of their destiny in the Big XII race. This one has a very similar feel to the build-up of the Alabama game with College GameDay making its way to Austin, blue-chip recruits preparing to hit campus and fans salivating at the thought of returning to college football elite status. I wasn’t super confident in this team’s ability to finish ’22 strong before playing K-State, but it feels as if they’re on the cusp of putting it all together. I envision this match-up being a battle of which team can establish the run game, and I believe Texas does so with the support of a defense that’s been excellent against the run while also managing to limit big plays. TCU’s Quentin Johnston being labeled as questionable could be a major factor here as well. Regardless, I like Sark to get the biggest win of his Texas tenure on Saturday night and knock the “cockroaches” off of their playoff perch. A Top 10 ranking beckons.
Score Prediction: Texas 42, TCU 34
Ryan Swantkowski (5-3)
Many people thought, including myself, that the Alabama game would be the most important Saturday of the season for the Longhorns. At the time, it was. Now, Sarkisian looks to beat a top-5 team in DKR for the first time since 1999 and further control their own destiny to the Big 12 Championship. Can they do it? Let's take a look.
Starting with unbeaten TCU, they are, as Sarkisian put it, "good in all three phases" of the football game. Offensively, QB Max Duggan has been on a tear this season with 24 TD's and only 2 INT's. WR Quentin Johnston already has 650 yards this season (more than his previous two already) and has elite playmaking ability, while the TCU run game is led by Kendre Miller who has over 1,000 yards and 12 TD's. Defensively, they rank 86th in the FBS but have only given up a respectable 30 TD's. Their special teams is something to note, and the Horned Frogs have had a few highlight plays in that area this year.
With Texas, they are coming off their first true road win of the season (at Kansas State) and looked pretty sound on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Ewers was able to find star WR Xavier Worthy for 2 TD's and rebounded well after his poor performance against Oklahoma State. The Horns did fumble twice though and lost both of them against the Wildcats. Defensively, the Longhorns lead the nation in QB pressures and seem to be punching the ball out at a high rate.
With numerous big-time recruits coming to ATX this weekend, I expect the Longhorns to play one of their best games of the season. Give me the Horns to take down the unbeaten.
Score Prediction: Texas 44, TCU 38
Mitch Lovell (5-3)
Bert Auburn kicks the game winner as the remaining seconds tick off the game clock to give Texas their biggest victory in a long, long time. Quinn Ewers and Bijan Robinson have huge games and the defense does just enough to hold on.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, TCU 35
Following a road win in Manhattan, Texas will return home for their biggest game of the season as they prepare to welcome TCU to Austin. The Horned Frogs are a perfect 9-0 on the season under first year coach Sonny Dykes and feature one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Let's take a look at what to expect from TCU.
Dykes opted to open the season with Chandler Morris as his starting QB, but an injury in the season opener opened the door for long time starter Max Duggan to re-take the reins and Duggan has not looked back. The senior is completing 66% of his passes for 2,407 yards and 24 touchdowns. He has also added 282 yards on the ground with 4 rushing touchdowns. Duggan has taken a big step forward this year when it comes to pushing the ball down the field with accuracy. He has cleaned up some things in his mechanics and is playing the best football of his career.
Duggan's life has also been made much easier by throwing to the best receiver group in the Big 12. Future NFL first round pick Quentin Johnston, who was committed to Texas at one point in his recruitment, has caught 42 passes for 650 yards despite being dinged up in a couple of games. Johnston barely played last week against Texas Tech, but was supposed to return to practice during this week. It would be surprising if he did not play on Saturday. Derius Davis and Taye Barber operate primarily out of the slot and have combined for 51 catches and 8 touchdowns. 6'5 Savion Williams will see targets as well and has 3 touchdowns on the season.
The TCU passing game is lethal, but their running game has been very good all season as well. Kendre Miller is the workhorse back and has over 1,000 yards on the season and is averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Emari Demercado will see carries as well.
The TCU offensive line is all upperlcassmen (feels like we write this every week about Texas' opponent). They are a big group who has a ton of experience. RT Andrew Coker has started close to 30 games in his college career and is having a good season. Transfer Alan Ali followed Dykes from SMU and has settled in nicely as the starting center. The unit has allowed 17 sacks on the season.
TCU made the switch from Gary Patterson's famous 4-2-5 scheme to a 3-3-5 scheme under new defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie. Gillespite had the fortunate of inheriting some talent at LB and CB but has had to piece things together at other positions.
The TCU defensive front isn't super intimidating. True freshman Damonic Williams took over the starting nose tackle job quickly when he arrived on campus and will be a really good player in a few years, but his production has limited this year (3.5 TFL's, 1 sack).
LB Dee Winters has been at TCU forever and leads the team with 6.5 sacks. Fortunately for Texas, he was ejected for targeting in the second half against Texas Tech and will miss the first half on Saturday. Navy transfer Johnny Hodges has been a solid addition and leads the team in tackles with 55.
Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson is a future NFL player at corner and has started at TCU forever. Transfer Josh Newton holds down the other corner spot and has 2 interceptions on the year. He can be beat though. Colorado transfer Mark Perry is another solid player who does a good job in the run game.
This game is likely to come down to the ability of Texas to slow down the TCU offense. The Longhorns should be able to put up points against the Horned Frogs, but the Texas defense has some holes that do not much up well with what TCU likes to do. If Texas is able to limit explosive plays, hold TCU to field goals in the redzone and prevent Duggan from running wild, they will have a good chance of coming out with a victory. If they can't do all 3 of those things, this game will be another nail-biter in the 4th quarter that can go either way.
The Longhorns got their first true road win of the season on Saturday as they defeated Kansas State 34-27. Per usual, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian started off his Monday press conference today with a quick recap of the game. He stated how there were some real "highlight things," such as the Horns not allowing any sacks, not having any turnovers, minimizing the Wildcat's run game and "creating the two turnovers." He also thought the "coverage units were really good" and overall stated it was a "really good win in a great environment".
Looking ahead now to 4th ranked TCU, Sarkisian pointed out that the Longhorns haven't beaten a "top-5 team here in DKR since 1999" and mentioned how excited he is for the team and the fans about the opportunity. Sarkisian was then asked about former TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson and his role with the Longhorns this season as Special Assistant. "We are lucky to have him on our team" and Sark highlights how "Gary works 24/7 to beat anybody... he does a great job relaying his thoughts and information ... for me, he's a great sounding board... we are very fortunate to have him". Sark was then asked about TCU QB Max Duggan: "He's making the throws to make... but yet he's using his legs" and overall says he is a "really cool competitor." Looking at the Horned Frogs as a whole, Sarkisian states that they are "good in all three phases" and says his team is working on a lot of things this week as they have their "work cut out" for them.
Shifting back over to the 'Horns, Sark was asked about players such as Quinn Ewers, Ja'Tavion Sanders, Keondre Coburn, and others. With Quinn, Sarkisian stated that he thought he "responded well" after his performance against Oklahoma State and how he "stood in there and really kind of controlled the game for us" when referencing Kansas State. Overall, Sark "loves the growth" of his young QB. Regarding Sanders, Sarkisian pointed out his maturity yet believes "he's got the play making ability to go along with the maturity." He also added how Sanders has become "one of our (the team's) leaders." Sark was also asked about DL Keondre Coburn's excitement about the win: "As a coach, that's why we do what we do...we have a real responsibility to develop these young men into grown men... happy for him." Sarkisian also talked about the red-zone efficiency this season and said it's "something we put a lot of emphasis on."
The Horned Frogs bring quite the challenge to the Longhorns this week, and Sarkisian seems to recognize that even after the big Kansas State victory. "We've got more work to do... I think our guys recognize that. They're hungry..." Let's see if frog legs are on the menu for the 'Horns come Saturday, or if the Horned Frogs can remain unbeaten this season.
- Twitter: @RSwantkowski
(Photo: USA Today)
It wasn't pretty in the second half and caused Longhorn fans a lot of heartburn, but Texas found a way Saturday night to secure a key road victory in Manhattan. The win, coupled with an Oklahoma State loss to Kansas earlier in the day, means Texas controls their own destiny the rest of the season as they chase an appearance in the Big 12 championship game.
As usual, Texas was extremely hot coming out of the gates. The Longhorns quickly built up a 21-10 lead and seemed poised to run away with things in the second quarter until a Roschon Johnson fumble deep in Kansas State territory prevented the Longhorns from going up 3 scores early. Texas was still able to head into halftime with a 31-10 lead, but points were left on the field and it ultimately almost came back to bite the Longhorns.
The second half followed the usual script. No need to continue to harp on it because everyone knows at this point. Kansas State was able to string together several quality drives, several of which were helped out by penalties, to cut the Texas lead to 34-27. They appeared to be on their way to tying the game until.....
Keondre Coburn made the biggest play of his career to seal the game, stripping Adrian Martinez around midfield on a sack. The fumble was recovered by Jaylan Ford, who also finished the game with 10 tackles and an interception.
The inability for Texas to recover fumbles is almost funny at this point. The Longhorns stripped Kansas State ballcarriers 3 different times, with the first two somehow finding their way back into the hands of a Wildcats player or bouncing out of bounds. The third time was finally the charm as Ford wasn't going to let another one slip away.
The story of the game offensively was Bijan Robinson, who carried the ball 30 times for 209 yards and a touchdown. He had over 150 yards in the first half and had the Kansas State defense on its heels. Another outstanding game from #5.
Quinn Ewers had a relatively quiet night, finishing 18 for 31 for 197 yards and 2 TD's. He only threw 8 passes in the second half.
His two touchdowns were beautiful throws to Xavier Worthy in the endzone. Worthy finished with 4 catches for 42 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also had a costly fumble to open the second half on a 3rd down catch that would have been a first down.
JT Sanders led all Texas pass catchers with 5 catches for 54 yards and had a solid all-around game.
The Texas OL had a decent night, opening up plenty of holes for Robinson and Johnson in the first half. Kansas State started loading the box in the second half and inflicting negative plays, but the unit as a whole did a solid job.
This game should not have been as close as it was. Texas did a poor job protecting their second half leads and it falls both on the players and the coaches. The Longhorns just seem to stack up uncharacteristic mistakes as games go on and it makes things more difficult than it needs to be.
Texas controls their own destiny. If they win their final 3 games, they will play for a Big 12 championship. The next test is a tough one as they welcome undefeated TCU to DKR. The Longhorns continue to have all their goals in front of them, and that's all you can ask for with 3 games left in the season.
The Texas Longhorns bring a five game winning streak against the Kansas State Wildcats into Saturday's contest at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium in Manhattan. The 'Horns have won the last two in the Little Apple and hope to replicate that success under head coach Steve Sarkisian. Sark is 1-6 in true road games with his lone win coming in Fort Worth last season against the Horned Frogs. Both Sarkisian and the program need the win against the Wildcats to prove they are still a contender for a Big 12 crown but it won't be easy. Kansas State sits in second pace in the Big 12 and the 'Cats are coming off a 48-0 thrashing of Oklahoma State last weekend.
The Longhorns are game planning for both quarterbacks Adrian Martinez and Will Howard, and Pete Kwiatkowski's defense will have their hands full with either. Martinez missed last week with a knee injury and his status for the game is unknown. Howard started last week in the win against the 'Pokes, throwing for 296 yards and 4 touchdowns. Elusive running back Deuce Vaughn is another weapon Texas will have to contend with on the Wildcat side of the ball. The Wildcats rack up a whopping 228 yards rushing per game, and the Longhorns need to plug the holes and control the line of scrimmage if they expect to contain Vaughn.
For the 'Horns the hope is quarterback Quinn Ewers plays an efficient game after struggling last week in Stillwater. Ewers threw three interceptions against the Cowboys and struggled to hit his receivers most of the day, particularly on the deep throws. Expect running backs Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson to fight for yards against a rushing defense that gives up just 133 yards on the ground per game.
It's a night game on the road, with big implications for the Texas season and program. A win silences the critics about Sarkisian's inability to win on the road and makes the Longhorns bowl eligible with three games remaining. A loss furthers the chatter about the future of the program and whether or not true progress is being made.
What: #24 Texas Longhorns (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) vs Kansas State Wildcats (6-2, 4-1 Big 12)
Venue: Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium
Location: Manhattan, Kansas
When: Saturday, November 5th, 2022
Time: 6:00 p.m. (CST)
All-Time Series: Texas leads Kansas State 12-10
Last Meeting: Texas defeated Kansas State 22-17 (11/26/2021 - Austin, TX)
Scouting Report: Kansas State Wildcats
Staff Predictions: #24 Texas vs. #13 Kansas State
"Hit the Reset Button:" Key Takeaways from Steve Sarkisian's 10/31 Press Conference
DISCUSS THE TEXAS vs. KANSAS STATE GAME HERE
After enjoying a much-needed bye week to heal and get their heads mentally prepared for their next opponent, the #24 Texas Longhorns (5-3, 3-2) travel to Manhattan, Kansas this week to face a formidable Kansas State (6-2, 4-1) team that is ranked 13th in the country.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian has trouble winning on the road and until he wins a true road game, the Texas critics will remain vocal. This is a business trip for the Longhorns in what is, in our opinion, a hinge-game for the program. A loss ensures no better than a 7-5 season which may or may not be seen as progress under the second year head coach. The Wildcats are a solid team, but the Longhorns are talented and have the capability to win this game with smart play and smart coaching.
The outcome will be dictated by a variety of factors, but the play of Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers will be paramount. Ewers struggled in his last outing in Stillwater, failing to find his rhythym with his receivers on most of his deep passes. The hopes of the Texas offense rely on a bounce-back game for Ewers, who will face a WIldcat defense that ranks 44th in the country and allows 221 passing yards per game.
Kansas State's quarterback situation is fluid and the Longhorns should expect Wildcats coach Chris Klieman to potentially play both Adrian Martinez and Will Howard. Howard started last week in place of Martinez, who has an injured kneee, and led the Wildcats to a 48-0 drubbing of Oklahoma State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The stakes are high on Saturday evening for both programs. Kansas State hopes to maintain their stranglehold on second place in the Big 12 with a win, while Texas would keep themselves in the mix for an appearance in the Big 12 Championship game with a victory.
The Longhorns have won five straight against the Wildcats including the last two in Manhattan. Do they have what it takes to deliver Sark a true road win and become bowl eligible with three regular season games remaining?
Our staff weighs in with their thoughts on the game's outcome.
Jameson McCausland (6-2)
I have to see it to believe it at this point. Texas has not earned the benefit of the doubt with how they've played on the road under Steve Sarkisian and this week presents another difficult matchup in Manhattan. I expect this to be a close game in the 4th quarter, but it's hard to have any type of confidence in Texas making the necessary plays to win. I expect Quinn Ewers to bounce back and have a much better outing than he had in Stillwater, but Kansas State still presents some tough challenges defensively and I question if Texas will be able to run the ball effectively enough for 60 minutes. Defensively for Texas, they have to find a way to get Kansas State into 3rd and long AND then get off the field. The Wildcats passing offense is questionable at best and allowing them to extend through the air is going to make for a long evening.
There is absolutely a path for Texas to win this game, but they need to show they can go down that path.
Score Prediction: Kansas State 31, Texas 27
Aaron Carrara (6-2)
Texas hasn't proven that they can win on the road and the coaching staff hasn't proven that they can make the necessary adjustments to hold leads or come from behind to win football games. Texas has a nice five game winning streak against K-State but that streak will be put to the test on Saturday night in the Little Apple. The Longhorns will face a solid Wildcat team on both sides of the ball, a really good football coach in Chris Klieman, and likely multiple quarterbacks that possess diverse skillsets in Adrian Martinez and Will Howard. Throw in the uncertainty of how starting quarterback Quinn Ewers will play in a hostile environment and the health of injured starters to your secondary makes me not comfortable with this game. The Texas players held their second players-only meeting following the loss to Oklahoma State and we will see if they have the hunger or a rekindled sense of fight to get the job done in Manhattan. I just don't see them winning a game of this magnitude on the road.
Score Prediction: Kansas State 34, Texas 27
Devon Messinger (6-2)
On Saturday, the Longhorns will travel to the Little Apple to take on a Kansas State Wildcats team that had no problem putting the Oklahoma State Cowboys to bed - something that the Longhorns were not able to do in their last game.
Even if Kansas State's typical starting quarterback Adrian Martinez is not able to play, due to an injury he sustained against TCU, backup quarterback Will Howard has kept the Wildcats offense firing on all cylinders. Additionally, with a banged up Longhorns secondary that may potentially be without defensive backs Ryan Watts and Anthony Cook, Texas might have to lean on its youth in Saturday's game.
While the Longhorns certainly have a shot in this game, it is impossible to know which version of the team will show up on Saturday. Furthermore, Texas will need to see the emergence of a new receiving threat to help out quarterback Quinn Ewers, who has not been able to get on the same page with guys not named Jordan Whittington, Xavier Worthy, or Ja'Tavion Sanders. If one of the younger receiving targets takes advantage of his opportunity, and running backs Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson are able to carry much of the load offensively, the Longhorns could very well end up being in the driver's seat in Saturday's game.
Score Prediction: Kansas State 37, Texas 34
I don’t like this match-up for Texas. At all. The funny thing is, though, it’s games like these where you struggle as a fan to find small positives and the Horns ends up pleasantly surprising you. Maybe this is Sark’s statement game. Maybe Saturday evening sees this program’s incredibly frustrating road woes come to an end. K-State’s absolute shellacking of Oklahoma State last weekend shows you simply never know what’s going to happen. But as I said before the Oklahoma State game, and for the sake of making predictions, I’ll continue to fade the good guys’ chances against any team away from DKR until they prove otherwise. Much like in Lubbock and Stillwater, this is a winnable game that requires Texas getting out of its own way. I’m not convinced they’re ready to make that leap, but the time for that is now if they want to keep their conference title hopes alive.
Score Prediction: Kansas State 34, Texas 30
Ryan Swantkowski (5-2)
The Longhorns are coming off their bye week that they desperately needed in order to get healthy and overall, as Sarkisian says, "hit the reset button". The Kansas State Wildcats last weekend beat Oklahoma State, who Texas fell to two weeks ago, 48 to 0 (!) and look as hot as ever. Let's take a quick look at both teams.
Sticking with Kansas State, they have one of the best running backs in the nation in Deuce Vaughn but have a question mark at quarterback as both Adrian Martinez and Will Howard could see action in this game. Defensively, the Wildcats are obviously coming off their best performance of the season and rank 44th in the nation in total defense.
Looking over to Texas, the Horns should be fresh and ready to roll as they have had 2 weeks to prepare for this tough Kansas State team. Offensively, QB Quinn Ewers looks to bounce back as he went 19/49 with 3 interceptions against Oklahoma State. Also, the offense is obviously full of weapons that can help him out. Defensively, the Horns have struggled on the road heavily and need to limit penalties if they have any shot at truly competing with this well-rounded K State offense.
I like the Longhorns to keep it close, but being favored on the road with no true road victory on the season AND playing against a red-hot team, I have to take the Wildcats here.
Score Prediction: Kansas State 30, Texas 27
(Photo: USA Today)
The bye week has passed and it is time for Texas to get back on the field as they look to stay in contention for an appearance in the Big 12 title game. The Longhorns for face another tough test on Saturday as they travel to Manhattan to face a Kansas State team coming off a 48-0 beatdown of Oklahoma State, who beat Texas the week prior. Despite some injuries, the Wildcats are playing their best football of the season right now and will test the Longhorns in a number of different areas.
The Kansas State offense has taken a big step forward this year under new offensive coordinator and former player, Collin Klein. Klein, who was previously on staff as QB coach, brought in some fresh ideas for the Wildcats offense and has the unit playing good football. Interestingly enough, the best offensive output of the season came last week against Oklahoma State with backup QB Will Howard at the helm for injured Adrian Martinez. Howard has thrown for 6 touchdowns in 2 games since taking over for Martinez and has shown the ability the push the ball down the field with more regularity than he has done in previous years when pressed into duty. It is unknown if Martinez will be healthy enough to play Saturday, but it would not be surprising to see Kansas State choose to roll with Howard regardless.
RB Deuce Vaughn is the most dangerous player on the Kansas State offense. The junior has 902 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns to go along with 23 receptions. They get Vaughn the ball in a variety of different ways and he is the workhorse of the offense. WR Malik Knowles has been in Manhattan for seemingly 8 years and is a good player (32 catches for 447 yards). Slot receiver Phillip Brooks is another player who possesses good ability in the open field and can make guys miss. Kade Warner, son of Kurt Warner, leads the team with 4 touchdown receptions.
Kansas State is very solid up front along the offensive line. The Wildcats start 3 redshirt seniors, a redshirt junior and a sophomore. LG Cooper Beebe is one of the better guards in the Big 12 and does an excellent job in both run and pass blocking. The unit is experienced, physical and does a good job of opening up holes for Vaughn. They can be somewhat shaky if forced into obvious passing downs, but overall they are a good unit.
Another week, another team with a very good pass rusher. Felix Anudike-Uzomah is a future NFL player who has 7.5 sacks on the year and has given opposing teams fits. Nose Guard Eli Huggins is an experienced player who gives them quality snaps.
Linebacker is an interesting position for Kansas State heading into this game. Starting middle linebacker Daniel Green missed the Oklahoma State game due to injury, and Chris Kleiman said earlier this week that he was making progress towards a potential return. Green is an extremely active player who knows the defense inside and out. Fellow linebacker Austin Moore leads the team in tackles with 55 and had a great game against Oklahoma State.
In the backend, Iowa transfer Julius Brents serves as the Kansas State version of Ryan Watts. Brents stands at 6'4 and uses his length well. Opposite of Brents is Ekow Boye-Doe. Kansas State is probably about league average at the safety position. The Wildcats will run a lot of the 3-safety looks that have given Texas some problems against Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
It's tiring to say at this point, but this is another matchup where if Texas plays up their ability they should be in position to win the game in the 4th quarter. It's wild to think that Texas has held 4th quarter leads in all 3 of their losses. Kansas State has the experience at key spots to give Texas some issues, but the Longhorns have shown the ability to shut down some of what the Wildcats do well.
As usual with this team, it likely comes down to a possession or two in the fourth quarter. Can Texas finally find a way to win one of these games?
The bye week for the Longhorns has come and gone, yet the effects of it last.
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian mentioned how he wanted to utilize the bye week and said today that the team "took advantage of last week in one, getting healthy... two, starting some preliminary game planning on Kansas State and three, really working on our developmental players". He also touched on being able to go out and do some recruiting while also giving his players the chance to "hit the reset/recharge button..
Looking ahead to the Kansas State game on Saturday, Sarkisian was asked if he'd ever been to Manhattan (Kansas), if he watched the Oklahoma State versus Kansas State game over the weekend and about some of their big-time players, such as RB Deuce Vaughn and QB Adrian Martinez. Sark said he has been to Manhattan more than once and almost went to school there, while mentioning how there's "a lot of integrity in the way they go about their business." With the game last Saturday, he said he watched the game with his son and noticed how the Wildcats "capitalized on the opportunities they got in the game" and took advantage of their crowd and the momentum they created.
With Kansas State's key players, Sarkisian noted that the team is "preparing for both" Kansas State quarterbacks in their planning: "whichever guy plays, they're both good players... we got to be ready for both". For Deuce Vaughn, Steve mentioned how he's "got a great body and balance control... yet he has the versatility to take it the distance." Vaughn has 6 total TD's this season along with over 1,000 total scrimmage yards. Overall, Sarkisian stated that "from a coaches perspective, I would much rather that the outcome was that way rather than the other way around going to play that opponent... I think to a man anybody that watched the tape that got their attention". The Wildcats defeated the Cowboys on Saturday 48-0.
Looking at his team as a whole, Sarkisian mentioned how he thought all of the younger players had improved throughout the past week or so and mentioned names like RB Jaydon Blue, QB Maalik Murphy and many others who have "all made steady progress." Later being asked about the offensive line and the run game, Sarkisian stated his confidence in his team to be able to run the football and mentioned how he has "a lot of belief in those guys" on the offensive line, in the tight end group and everyone who helps in the running department. He also blamed himself for some of the running plays called in the loss to Oklahoma State two weekends ago, stating he "would've liked to have maneuvered the runs a little bit better...".
The Longhorns, who are currently favored in Saturday's game at Kansas State, are looking for their first true road win of this season. Will the bye week and hitting that "reset button" allow them to accomplish this, or will the Wildcats keep on rolling?