Saturday, September 30; 2:30 p.m. CT; Stadium Name: Darrell K. Royal Stadium; Austin, Texas
Radio: Jayhawk Radio Network (Brian Hanni, David Lawrence, Brandon McAnderson); Longhorn Radio Network (Craig Way, Roger Wallace, Will Matthews)
Records: Texas (4-0); Kansas (4-0)
Rankings: Texas No. 3, Kansas No. 24 (AP)
Series History: Texas leads, 17-4
Last Meeting: Texas 55, Kansas 14 (2022)
Line: Texas (-17)
Fun Fact: The last time that the Jayhawks took the field in Austin, they took down Steve Sarkisian’s squad in incredible fashion. Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels led his squad to a gusty 57-56 overtime win over the Longhorns in a signature game for head coach Lance Leipold.
QB QUINN EWERS
The expectations for Quinn Ewers are through the roof this season and it’s pretty obvious to see why. Texas has not won a Big 12 title game since the 2009 season, and while Texas has had some incredible quarterbacks during that stretch, none of them were able to get over the hump to win the league championship. Ewers has been impressive in his first four outings of the year throwing for 1,033 yards, nine touchdowns, and no interceptions but when facing a hungry secondary like that of Kansas, he will certainly be a player to watch.
LB JAYLAN FORD
This year’s Texas Longhorn defense is legit and Jaylan Ford is a big reason why. Ford is the best player on the defensive side of the ball for Texas and may even be the best interior linebacker in the country this season. Ford has been spectacular defending the pass and has already recorded two interceptions this season, but with a downhill runner like Kansas’ Devin Neal coming to town, Ford is going to have to elevate his game against the rushing attack.
RB DEVIN NEAL
I’m not sure that there is a better way to describe Devin Neal than saying that he is an absolute dog. Neal is one of the hardest players to tackle in the Big 12 Conference and is staring down a First-Team All-Big 12 season if he can continue on the path that he’s been on over the first four games. Neal is averaging nearly seven yards per carry with 394 yards and five scores on the ground. If the Jayhawks want to pull off the upset against the third-ranked team in the country, it all starts with Neal.
DB COBEE BRYANT
The reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, Cobee Bryant, was sensational against Kedon Slovis and BYU last week forcing two major turnovers in big ways. Bryant started off the game by landing one of the biggest hits of the season to BYU WR Parker Livingstone to force a fumble and take it back 22 yards for a score. Bryant also recorded an interception in that game, and while the Texas WR room is one of the best in the country, Bryant has the big-play capability necessary to make things hard on Quinn Ewers.
Are Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns ready to face another test this week against Kansas’ high-flying offense? Texas has quickly become one of the most hyped teams in the country this season after beating Alabama in Week 2, but as things appear to be rockier in Tuscaloosa than in recent memory, fans have somewhat started to discredit Sarkisian’s Week 2 win. While the idea of Kansas playing spoiler and upsetting the Longhorns doesn’t seem likely on paper, the matchup between Big 12 opponents is set to be a top 25 matchup as the Jayhawks earned the No. 24 spot in this week’s AP Top 25. Kansas is heading into Austin to test the Longhorns; can Texas fend off the Jayhawks to prove they are the real deal?
Can Kansas make history twice? When Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks went to Austin in 2021 we saw the emergence of Jalon Daniels as a player on national television where fans fell in love with his play style. Seeing a team like Kansas which had suffered many years of mediocrity in college football rise to beat one of the elite historic programs was a magical feeling, and with that win fresh in the memory banks for Daniels and company, confidence should be at an all-time high. Do the Jayhawks have what it takes to pull off the upset again?
PREDICTION: TEXAS 41, KANSAS 35
This isn’t your typical Kansas team, but neither is Texas. The Longhorns enter Saturday’s game as 17-point favorites over the Jayhawks but I think that with a newfound culture in Lawrence, Leipold is going to show the world once again what they are capable of. While Kansas does keep this game to a one-score game in my prediction, Texas is primed and ready to defend their home stadium and should be able to sneak out a win in a game that is much closer than experts predict.