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