Game 7: Kansas at Texas – Preview and Prediction

Opponent: Oklahoma

Opponent’s Record: 4-2 (2-1 in the Big 12)

Location: Darrel K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium , Austin, Texas

Game time: Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 6:00 PM

TV channel: Longhorn Network

Radio: 810 WHB

Line: Texas -21.5

Last week, Texas was out-manned from a physical perspective against Oklahoma. For a team that prides itself on its physicality Tom Herman’s squads missed tackles, whiffed on blocks, and were generally bullied by a perceived “finesse” team. While the Longhorns limped out of the Cotton Bowl last Saturday, Tom Herman isn’t taking it lightly this week heading home against Kansas. On the flip side, Kansas is coming off a week of rest and is introducing a new offensive coordinator. Les Miles’ squad will have to capitalize on their freshness against a depleted Texas defense if they want to leave Austin with a win on Saturday (yes, I said win).

When Texas has the ball

Texas has star power on offense. Sam Ehlinger, Collin Johnson (who is cleared to play), Devin Duvernay, Jake Smith (excellent name) and their two headed monsters at running back presents DJ Eliot’s defense with challenges. Up front, the Longhorns offensive line had been solid prior to the Red River Showdown. Oklahoma was able to record 9 sacks against the Longhorns and brought pressure from a number of places. Ehlinger was thrown off by Oklahoma’s ability to disguise pressure and the Sooners were able to find a weakness on the right side of Texas front. 

Sam Ehlinger presents nightmares in gameplanning due to his ability to run the ball. He is a physical runner and smart runner who allows blockers to set him up for the next level. Kansas has to tackle in space well (a familiar theme for this season). With Dru Prox out, this game will be a challenge for true freshman Gavin Potter. Last season, Kansas struggled with big receivers on the outside. While this season, Hasan Defense and Corione Harris have done adequately against possession receivers they haven’t faced anyone like Collin Johnson. If the Jayhawks can match Johnson’s physicality and contain Sam Ehlinger they have a shot to slow down this prolific Texas offense.

When Kansas has the ball

Kansas’ offense is the big mystery heading into Saturday. The buzzword “RPO” has been stated nearly 2,000 times since Les Miles announced the switch to Brent Dearmon at OC. This makes sense when you consider Dearmon has literally written a book on the topic and hosts seminars around the country evangelizing the offensive concept. This is a solid breakdown of what Dearmon ran last season as head coach of Bethel College, but essentially the offense is designed to take what the defense is giving and make things easy for the quarterback. I don’t expect KU to look like the Kansas City Chiefs (prayers up for Mahomes) on Saturday, but I do expect them to play with more tempo and more spread out formations.

From Texas’ side, injuries are the story. Their secondary has been decimated with injuries. Both starting safeties and the team’s top cornerback are dealing with injuries. Kansas will have a chance to attack the Longhorns on the perimeter. I think getting Pooka Williams into space and feeding Daylon Charlot and Andrew Parchment on the outside are the recipe for success on Saturday. Really, avoiding turnovers and keeping Sam Ehlinger with a Gatorade cup in his hand are the keys to the offenses success on Saturday night.

Prediction

It’s a bummer that Brent Dearmon’s first game is on Longhorn Network. After watching the last two weeks of Miles to Go (on ESPN+ you should check it out if you’re a hardcore fan), there is a palpable energy around the program. Dearmon is a natural football coach who seems to have injected some life into this offense. I am excited to watch that unit play even if I have to search to the ends of the earth to find the Longhorn Network. Aside from that, I think Texas comes out motivated to win. Sagarin has the Jayhawks losing by 27, SP+  has the Jayhawks covering. I think KU covers. They play close, but eventually Texas’ talent and home field advantage set in.

Texas 44, KU 27 (KU +21.5)

Season Record: 4-2 (2-4 ATS)

Last week prediction: OU 55 KU 20 (Actual OU 45 KU 20)