Texas football dominates No. 24 Kansas: staff insights on Longhorns' 40-14 victory
Texas Longhorns secure a 40-14 victory over No. 24 Kansas, improving to 5-0 and 2-0 in the Big 12.
In today's top-25 matchup, the Texas Longhorns secured a convincing 40-14 victory over the No. 24 Kansas Jayhawks. At first glance, this win may seem like an easy one for Texas. Quarterback Quinn Ewers had an impressive performance, throwing for 325 yards, while running back Jonathon Brooks showcased his skills with 217 rushing yards. The defense also made crucial plays and forced turnovers. With this win, the Longhorns improved their record to 5-0 and 2-0 in the Big 12.
However, upon closer inspection, there are some concerns for Texas. Despite leading by only one score late in the third quarter, the Longhorns struggled to put the Jayhawks away. They also faced difficulties in finishing drives and continued to struggle on special teams. The question arises: what will happen when the Longhorns can't rely on fourth-quarter comebacks and need to depend on their passing game and kicking?
One standout player for Texas is Jonathon Brooks. The third-year sophomore from Halletsville has reached 100 rushing yards in three consecutive games and became the 14th player in school history to surpass 200 rushing yards in a single game, accumulating an impressive 217 yards on 20 carries. Credit must also be given to the offensive line, which paved the way for a total of 336 rushing yards.
Brooks' performances in the last three games have been remarkable: 164 yards against Wyoming, 106 yards and two touchdowns against Baylor, and now 217 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas.
While Texas cannot be held responsible for their opponents' misfortunes, their recent struggles against backup quarterbacks should make Oklahoma starter Dillon Gabriel nervous. Gabriel will face the Longhorns next week in the Cotton Bowl. It is worth noting that Kansas' starting quarterback, Jalon Daniels, missed the game due to back tightness, making it the third consecutive game in which Texas has faced a backup quarterback. Gabriel will likely be the most accomplished quarterback Texas faces this season, assuming he avoids injury in the Sooners' game against Iowa State.
On one hand, Texas showcased an impressive offensive performance, amassing a total of 661 yards (325 passing, 336 rushing) and overpowering the Jayhawks. The Longhorns were favored by 16 points and won by a margin of 26 points. They also secured a victory in a top-25 matchup, improving their record to 5-0 and 2-0 in the Big 12. As a result, they are expected to maintain their No. 3 spot in the AP poll, trailing behind Georgia and Michigan.
On the other hand, the Longhorns did not completely dominate the game, despite the final score. The Jayhawks, who had previously shocked Texas in overtime in 2021, managed to remain competitive for three quarters with a backup quarterback. Special teams continue to be a concern for Texas, as they have struggled with returns and kicks for two consecutive weeks. Last week, there were issues with muffed returns and a missed field goal, while this week saw two missed field goals from Bert Auburn. Although the missed field goals were from long distances (50 and 47 yards), they still raise concerns. Additionally, Texas had difficulties in closing out scoring drives, often settling for field goals or missing them altogether. Furthermore, injuries to tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders and cornerback Ryan Watts forced them to sit out the second half.
Looking ahead, Texas will face Oklahoma next week. The Sooners were embarrassed in a 49-0 defeat against Texas last year. Ideally, the Longhorns would enter this matchup with momentum and confidence. However, they currently find themselves in "fix-it" mode, needing to address their areas of concern.
Tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders, who has recorded two 100-yard receiving games this season, suffered an injury in the first half and did not return to the game. Cornerback Ryan Watts also left the game due to injury. While their absence did not hinder Texas' victory today, they will be needed in the upcoming game against Oklahoma.
Quinn Ewers' impressive streak of consecutive passes without an interception came to an end at 245 near the end of the first half. Nevertheless, it still stands as the second-longest streak in Texas history. With Ja'Tavion Sanders injured early in the game, Gunnar Helm did not have a significant impact, finishing with no catches. However, eight different Longhorns caught at least one pass. It is worth noting that Sanders had one catch for 10 yards before his injury. Notably, Texas did not punt the ball throughout the game and dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 39 minutes and 41 seconds compared to Kansas' 20 minutes and 19 seconds. In terms of other top-ranked teams, No. 1 Georgia narrowly defeated Auburn 27-20, No. 2 Michigan convincingly defeated Nebraska 45-7, and No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Florida State had a bye week.
Next Saturday at 11 a.m., Texas will face Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The Sooners currently hold a 4-0 record and 1-0 in conference play. They will be playing against Iowa State tonight on FS1.