Keys to the Game – Kansas

Payne Williams, Senior Sports Reporter

Re-establish the run game

Bijan Robinson saw his least productive game of the season last week against TCU. The junior rushed for just 29 yards — marking his lowest rushing yardage of the season and his first game below 100 yards since Week 2. Robinson leads the Texas offense, and if the Longhorns want to get back on track, then the star running back needs to gain more yardage. Senior Roschon Johnson, the second half of Texas’ two-headed backfield, matched his lowest amount of carries last week against TCU. The run blocking for the Longhorns is a partial result of the low rushing numbers, offering few running lanes for the running backs. However, the two will have a chance for a big day against a Kansas defense that’s allowing 166 rushing yards per game. 


Get Quinn Ewers on track early

The deep ball just isn’t working this season for redshirt freshman Quinn Ewers, as further proven last week. The connection, or rather disconnection, between Ewers and his receivers, specifically sophomore Xavier Worthy, isn’t leading to any momentum-grabbing plays. But as many are pointing out, Ewers is in his first collegiate season as the lead signal-caller. Head coach Steve Sarkisian and the offense can get Ewers going early in the game with short, simple passes. Not every pass needs to be an endzone shot, and methodical drives may just be what Texas needs to build Ewers’ confidence and consistency.


All gas, all game

Texas continued its trend of second-half slumps last week, but the first half didn’t give the Longhorns much of a safety cushion. Scoring zero points in the first half and one defensive touchdown in the second half isn’t enough to keep Texas in games, despite its stellar defensive performance. In fact, the Texas offense hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in the last six quarters of play this season; the Longhorns’ offense last found the end zone in the second quarter against Kansas State. Even if Texas gets off to a hot start against Kansas this weekend, the Longhorns must keep their foot on the pedal throughout the second half to prevent yet another collapse late in the game.


Continue defensive success

Texas held No. 4 TCU, which has an offense that’s averaging over 40 points per game, to just 17 points last week. The Texas defense has been a force all season, imposing its will on nearly every offense it’s faced. However, the Longhorns will see a tough ground test against one of the nation’s best rushing offenses. Since Jalon Daniels’ injury in Week 5’s loss to TCU,  Kansas averages over 200 rushing yards per game. It’s still unclear whether Daniels will return this week against Texas, but the run game will be a point of emphasis for the Kansas offense, regardless of the quarterback situation.