Opponents to Watch: Kansas

Christina Huang, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the November 12 Double Coverage flipbook.

Despite all of Texas’ recent struggles, a win over a 1–8 Kansas team is more than doable for the Longhorns. Texas will need to focus on four Jayhawks to bring the Longhorns one step closer to bowl eligibility:

Jason Bean

Even though Kansas has yet to win a conference game this season, the Jayhawks rattled the Oklahoma Sooners when they held them scoreless for a half. Although the lead over Oklahoma was temporary, Kansas was able to look relatively put together for two quarters thanks to junior quarterback Jason Bean. Bean passed for 246 yards in the Oklahoma game, surpassing Sooner quarterback Caleb Williams’ 178 yards. Despite the loss, Bean was able to get the ball through the Oklahoma defense and give the Sooners a scare. Bean’s ability to lead the Jayhawks to a 10-0 score heading into the half over the No. 4 Sooners shows that the Kansas quarterback has the potential to execute at a high level. Low level mistakes by the Texas defense could give Bean all the momentum he needs for another good performance.

Devin Neal

Freshman running back Devin Neal is the future of Kansas’ offense. Neal was named Co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Week two weeks ago after he rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns against Oklahoma. The duo of Bean and Neal could be incredibly dangerous in the run-pass option if the two are maximized to their fullest potential, as shown briefly against the Sooners. However, the Bean and Neal combo is completely dependent upon Bean’s health this week. Regardless, Neal is a solid receiver. Kansas’ current offense is made up of slower, methodical drives that eat up large chunks of time. The Jayhawks’ offensive pace essentially allows Neal less room for mistakes and fewer chances to score. However, he has proved himself as a solid target for Bean when attacking opposing defenses. Neal leads the Jayhawks with 505 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Cutting off Neal will be crucial to stifling the Kansas offense.

Kwamie Lassiter II

Super senior and former walk-on Kwamie Lassiter II also had a pretty solid performance against Oklahoma. Lassiter played a monumental role on the Kansas offense as the Jayhawks outplayed the No. 4 Sooners. All seven of Lassiter’s receptions went for a successful first down. He also leads the Jayhawks in receiving yards with 439 total yards on the season. Lassiter is tied for ninth place in all-time career catches in the Kansas Jayhawks program. The senior is a true leader for the Jayhawks and focuses on playing quality football while ignoring the score. Lassiter’s story from walk-on to one of the Jayhawks’ all-time leading receivers demonstrates his drive and work ethic. The Longhorns will not only have to keep the ball out of Lassiter’s hands, but they will have to throw him off his mental game as well.

Kenny Logan Jr. 

Junior safety Kenny Logan Jr. leads the 2021 Kansas team in tackles with 70 total. Logan Jr.’s best performance of the season also occurred against the Sooners in Week 7. Logan had 14 tackles, 10 of those being solo tackles. His presence on the field heavily contributed to Kansas shutting out Oklahoma 10-0 at the half. Logan Jr. is one of the best defenders in the Big 12, leading the conference in average solo tackles with 5.6 a game. Logan has shown that he is more than capable of shutting down a talented offense, so making offensive moves quickly and efficiently will be key for Texas minimizing his effect on the game.