James Sims

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

RB James Sims (Sr.)

Although the Jayhawks have had trouble finding the end zone this season, they usually find success when the run game is clicking. For his troubles, James Sims is Kansas’ leading rusher, compiling 589 yards on 129 carries with four touchdowns. The senior also has 13 catches for 81 yards this season so he can stretch the field by catching the ball if necessary. Sims is a veteran on this Jayhawks offense and will be ready to play Texas despite the momentum that Texas is currently riding. Sims is powerful enough to break tackles if the Longhorns revert back to their old ways of not wrapping up the ballcarrier, and he has the speed to make defenders miss in the open field. With more than half of the team’s rushing touchdowns this season, Sims is the man in the backfield that Texas will need to prepare for.

 

DB Isaiah Johnson (So.)

Johnson is the leading tackler with 53 stops this season on a team that gives up a lot of points. He is also tied for the team lead in interceptions with two, so he can play well in coverage when he wants to. The Kansas defense ranks No. 92 in the nation in total defense which doesn’t bode well against a hot Texas team, but Johnson can make a difference in the game by making plays he is capable of making.

 

TE Jimmay Mundine (Jr.)

Mundine is not the Jayhawks’ leading receiver but his four touchdown catches leads the team and he is one of the biggest threats in this game. Mundine is an average athlete with average size at his position but he makes plays on the balls that are thrown to him. He has only reeled in 13 passes this season but has made the most of them. If Kansas can use its running game to get red zone opportunities, Mundine will likely be the go-to guy. The Longhorns front seven has the ability to take Mundine in coverage, but should be weary of the fact that he will probably get many looks in this game for a struggling Kansas team.

Players to Watch

Kansas running back James Sims (29) is tripped up by Oklahoma State defensive end Cooper Bassett (80) during the second half of a game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 13. Kansas quarterback Michael Cummings (14) was blocking on the play. Oklahoma State defeated Kansas 20-14.
Photo Credit: The Associated Press

James Sims:
On an offense that ranks No. 117 in the country, consistency is difficult to find. Junior running back James Sims appears to be a source of light however. Sims has rushed for 446 yards and five touchdowns in the four games he has appeared in this season. His 4.4 yards per carry is impressive for a back at any level, but the statistic is bolstered when the competition is considered. Although Kansas is winless in Big 12 play, against three perennial powerhouses in Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, Sims’ 28 carries and 118 yard averages are nothing to scoff at. In a game that the Jayhawks nearly pulled out against Oklahoma State, Sims ran for a season-best 138 yards with a touchdown. Sims has also shown the ability to catch the ball, hauling in seven receptions for 122 yards on the season.

Tony Pierson:
Pierson fits a type that has become prevalent in the players to watch column over the last few weeks: small and elusive. At 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, Pierson is a guy who does a lot of things for Kansas with his quickness. He is second on the team in rushing behind Sims with 386 yards and two touchdowns. He is also one of the leading receivers on the team with 15 catches for 198 yards and a touchdown. Although the sophomore running back isn’t used frequently as the primary option in the Jayhawk offense, his 97 yards from scrimmage per game prove he is a critical part in their scheme. If Sims has a tough time running the football, expect to see Pierson get an opportunity to break off a big run and flash the speed that makes him a big threat in this offense. He won’t be the primary back in this game, but his number will be called and the Longhorns should beware of another little guy who could burn them if they aren’t careful.

Bradley McDougald:
Compact and efficient, small and savvy; whatever you want to call McDougald, he is the most consistent and versatile defender at Kansas. The senior safety has amassed a team-leading 58 tackles on the season to go along with a sack and two interceptions. At 6-foot-1, 209 pounds, he is a smaller defender who uses his technique and speed to make plays. McDougald has a punt return for a touchdown this season, adding some versatility to his decent production on the defensive side of the football. The Longhorns offense hasn’t had much difficulty scoring points this season, but McDougald appears to be a guy who could give them some issues if not respected. In a game that will most likely be a blowout, McDougald seems to be the only defender to keep an eye out for.