If Kansas is to upset Texas and grab their first Big 12 win in almost two years, they’ll have to hope for a number of factors to come together.
The Longhorns defense is surrendering and average of 472 yards and 35 points per game. Kansas is averaging 367 total yards per game, but nearly half of that is rushing yards at 180 per contest. However, at only 17 points per game, one would have to think that something has to give on Saturday.
The Longhorns are hurting after giving up 48, 63 and 50 in their last three games. Strangely enough, one of those was actually a win, which came in a 56-50 victory over Baylor.
Kansas is 1-6, but has been far more competitive under first year head coach Charlie Weis than they were a year ago. Despite, losing 52-7 to Oklahoma last week, the Jayhawks have been in every other game at the half. Against Oklahoma State, they fell 20-14 and had a chance to win late in the game.
One thing to keep an eye out on will be redshirt freshman Michael Cummings getting his first home start. He replaces senior transfer Dayne Crist, who came to Lawrence hoping to finish his college career on a high note.
After struggling the entire season, last week Weis made the switch to Cummings, but alternated quarterbacks at times disrupting any flow KU hoped to get going against the high powered Sooners.
This week, Weis has said that Cummings is the guy, citing him owing it to the team to see what he’s got.
Cummings presents a different dynamic, in that he was recruited by the previous staff to run a different offense, as opposed to Weis’ pro style attack. But, today he will be paired in the backfield with stud running backs James Sims and Tony Pierson and that could present a chance to open things up against the Longhorns defense.
It’s no doubt a winning Kansas formula would be to control the ball for 35-40 minutes. That’s because when Texas has the ball, they’ll be looking to move quick and put up points. The Texas receivers are fast and if they get by Jayhawk defenders could open things up for the powerful Texas running game.
Joe Bergeron, Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown, (if he can go) are as good as any trio in the Big 12. Bergeron reminds some of former Longhorns back Ricky Williams. The Kansas defense will have to be physical and hope to continue its opportunistic ways of earlier in the season.
If they match the physicality up front, that could lead to Texas quarterback David Ash making some mistakes to help the Kansas cause.
With an early start and a cold day in Lawrence, if all of those factors come together, a Kansas upset could be in the cards, because you have to think that at some point, the Jayhawks will grab one of these games after several close calls earlier in the year.