College Football

No. 20 Texas, Kansas coming off encouraging efforts

Texas Longhorns at Kansas Jayhawks

  1. Texas has won 16 of the 17 meetings with Kansas since the teams first met in Big 12 play back in 1996, with the Jayhawks' lone win coming in Lawrence in 2016. Three of the last four meetings have been decided by one score, most recently a 50-48 Longhorns victory in Austin on October 19 last season.
  2. Texas routed Kansas State, 69-31, last weekend in Manhattan, rushing for 334 yards - its most since September 9, 2017, vs. San Jose State (406). The Longhorns have scored 372 points this season, their most through nine games since 2008 (398).
  3. Bijan Robinson (172 yards) and Roschon Johnson (139 yards) each scored three rushing touchdowns in the win, becoming the first Longhorns duo to rush for 100+ yards and three touchdowns each since Chris Gilbert (212 yards, 3 TD) and Steve Worster (137 yards, 3 TD) did so on November 9, 1968, against Baylor.
  4. Kansas fell to Texas Tech, 16-13, last week to start 0-9. The Jayhawks look to avoid starting 0-10 for the first time since 2015, which was also the last time the program finished a season without a win (0-12).
  5. Daniel Hishaw Jr. ran for 87 yards and scored the Jayhawks' only touchdown in the loss to Texas Tech. The true freshman has 160 rushing yards on 32 carries in his last two games after tallying just 69 yards on 20 carries in his first six games this season.

Texas paused football activities early in the week but still planned to play a game already pushed back by COVID-19 concerns.

The Longhorns (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) shut down their operations after three players and two staff members who previously tested negative and traveled to Kansas State for a victory last Saturday tested positive on Sunday. Still, travel plans for a game this Saturday at Kansas (0-9, 0-8) remained on schedule.

"Everything we are doing right now is merely precautionary," Texas coach Tom Herman said, "and we are wanting to make sure with a couple of extra cases, extra positives, that we haven't had, quite frankly, all year, that this is not a trend throughout the team but a couple of isolated incidents."

The matchup against Kansas originally was scheduled for Nov. 21. That game was rescheduled after issues surfaced whether Kansas could field enough defensive linemen to meet Big 12 protocols based on injuries and COVID-19 concerns.

A Dec. 19 date remains open for both programs if the game must be pushed back again and the Big 12 condones such a move.

Each team is coming off encouraging performances.

Texas blasted Kansas State 69-31 Saturday after being eliminated from the Big 12 title chase in a home defeat against Iowa State on Nov. 27. Bijan Robinson rushed nine times for 172 yards and three touchdowns to pace a Texas offense directed by quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

Nonetheless, last week's performance did little to reduce the heat on Herman. Potential replacements have surfaced for the fourth-year coach, who stands 31-18, though multiple reports say prime target Urban Meyer is not interested because of health concerns.

That could prompt Texas to retain Herman if donors aren't eager to contribute to a $25 million buyout.

Herman has three years left on his contract and reportedly has been told his performance will be evaluated at the end of the season. Among Texas' possible bowl destinations are the Alamo and Liberty.

Kansas has lost all but eight of its past 100 conference games and is facing its third winless season in history. It already is assured of a sixth consecutive last-place finish in the Big 12.

Still, the Jayhawks are coming off their tightest outcome, a 16-13 loss at Texas Tech.

Gaining any effectiveness at quarterback, either from Miles Kendrick or Jalon Daniels, remains a dilemma. Kendrick played the entire game at Texas Tech but passed for just 102 yards and could not capitalize on four takeaways provided by his defense. The Kansas offense managed just 214 total yards.

"We'll look at this week of practice and competition and see how it goes," coach Les Miles said. "(Kendrick) was very good last week (at practices). We'll have to see if he continues that pace."

--Field Level Media

Updated December 9, 2020

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