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Archive for Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tale of the tape: KU vs. Texas

October 29, 2011

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When Kansas has the ball

Kansas rush offense vs. Texas rush defense

Kansas, which ranks 31st in the country in rushing yards per game (188), seems to have narrowed its attack to a three-back approach that includes sophomore James Sims (485 yards, 7 touchdowns) and true freshmen Darrian Miller (320, 4) and Tony Pierson (285, 2). Red-shirt freshman Brandon Bourbon (162, 1) remains in the mix and seems to be ready whenever he’s called upon, but the bulk of the carries in recent weeks have gone to Sims and Miller, with Pierson receiving the change-of-pace touches. KU has 15 rushing TDs so far this year and has run 65 more rushing plays than its opponents this season and is averaging four yards per rush.

Edge: Kansas.

Kansas pass offense vs. Texas pass defense

Quietly, KU quarterback Jordan Webb continues to perform well week after week. Aside from a couple of games early in conference play in which Webb tossed multiple interceptions, the sophomore QB has completed a high percentage (67.1) of his passes and taken advantage of the team’s solid rushing attack setting up the play-action pass. In seven games, Webb has thrown for 1,408 yards and 12 touchdowns. But Webb is facing a different animal this week. With their relentless blitzing and impressive team speed, the Longhorns have limited opposing QBs to 204 yards per game and have surrendered just eight TDs through the air.

Edge: Texas.

When Texas has the ball

Texas rush offense vs. Kansas rush defense

Behind a strong start to the season by true freshman Malcolm Brown, the Longhorns enter this one with the 37th-best rushing attack in the country. Brown is averaging five yards per carry and 86 yards per game. The 6-foot, 217-pound back has rushed for three TDs. Brown’s numbers likely would be higher if not for the presence of senior tailback Fozzy Whittaker, who also averages five yards per carry and has 220 yards and four TDs so far this season. UT’s top two tailbacks lead a unit that averages 182 yards per game.

Edge: Texas.

Texas pass offense vs. Kansas pass defense

Although the Longhorns are working with two rather inexperienced quarterbacks, the UT passing game has been good enough to get the nod in this one. Texas is averaging 204 yards per game through the air, but may have found a lift in freshman QB David Ash. At 6-foot-3, 222 pounds, Ash has good size, good mobility and a good arm. He also has shown he can throw on the run. The Texas wide receivers, though young, also have above-average size and speed. With that going for the Longhorns and Kansas’ 119th-ranked pass defense (319 ypg) going against the Jayhawks, UT should find success when it takes to the air.

Edge: Texas.

Special teams

Last week, Kansas gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown and damaged its own chances at a solid day in the return game with multiple penalties. The Longhorns simply have too much speed and too many weapons not to get the edge here. Experience also is on UT’s side as the kicking game is handled by senior punter and place kicker Justin Tucker.

Edge: Texas.

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