Texas looking to avoid another scare against last-place Kansas

Posted Friday, Nov. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Kansas has not beaten a Big 12 team in nearly three years, but one of its closest calls came last year against Texas.

The Longhorns didn’t take the lead for good until Case McCoy’s 1-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Grant with 12 seconds left to play. Texas escaped with a 21-17 victory, one of Kansas’ 25 consecutive losses to conference opponents, a streak the Jayhawks (2-5, 0-4) will be looking to snap when they face the Longhorns (5-2, 4-0) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

“Kansas nearly upset a lot of people in this league and we were one of those that were fighting for our lives,” Texas coach Mack Brown recalled. “Case came in and saved the game for us right at the end. Kansas is going to get it done. I just hope it’s not this weekend.”

Coming off two convincing wins over Oklahoma and TCU, games in which Texas was an underdog, the Longhorns play their first home game in six weeks as four-touchdown favorites over a Kansas team that has lost its four Big 12 games this year by an average of 27 points per game.

Texas, on the other hand, has won three of its four games in conference play by double digits, including a 30-7 thumping of TCU in Fort Worth last weekend. Much of its success on offense can be attributed to McCoy, who has passed for 662 yards and four touchdowns in his past three starts, all wins.

“Now that it’s his team, you can see that the kid is well-liked and well-respected,” Kansas coach Charlie Weis said. “It’s tough, as a backup quarterback, to assume that leadership role. In McCoy’s case, it’s pretty obvious now that he’s been able to step up and assume that leadership for their offense.”

McCoy has gotten plenty of help from his offensive line, which has only allowed four sacks in four Big 12 games, and his running game, led by Aledo’s Johnathan Gray, who is averaging 111.8 yards per game in conference play.

That opens things up for McCoy to take shots downfield. After completing only five passes of at least 20 yards over Texas’ first five games this year, McCoy has connected on nine such throws in his past two games, three for touchdowns.

“With Case, he’s not going to run it or make plays with his feet other than scrambling,” Brown said. “Case is a guy that needs to throw it downfield.… We were fortunate to hit some deep balls on TCU.”

The defense has also made McCoy’s job much easier, allowing a Big 12-best 19.5 points per game in conference play this season. The Longhorns held TCU to seven points, its lowest point total in a game in seven years, and have notched 16 sacks in conference play, the most in the Big 12.

“There’s so much talent on our defensive line,” said senior Jackson Jeffcoat, whose team-high six sacks have all come in Big 12 play. “There’s no one they can really just double the whole time. Everyone can get loose at times.”

If Texas plays the way it has in its past couple games, it’ll pick up another lopsided victory. After what happened last October, the Longhorns know what complacency can do to a talented team, even if it’s facing an overmatched last-place squad.

“They were all at our game last year,” Brown said of the narrow 21-17 victory in Lawrence last season. “I’ll just pull out last year’s film.”

Texas vs. Kansas

2:30 p.m. Saturday, Darrell K Royal — Texas Memorial Stadium

Records: Texas, 5-2, 4-0; Kansas, 2-5, 0-4

TV: Longhorn Network

Radio: KRLD/1080 AM

Head to head

CategoryTexasKansas
Points per game32.617.7
Total offense450.7290.6
Pass offense250.3157.3
Rush offense200.4133.3
3rd down conv.42.9%29.1%
Points allowed24.131.6
Total defense405.1450.7
Pass defense202.7246.9
Rush defense202.4203.9
Def. 3rd down conv.39.5%40.7%

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