Marcus Johnson

Stock Up: Armanti Foreman

For the first time this season, a receiver other than seniors Jaxon Shipley and John Harris stepped up. Coming into Stillwater, Oklahoma, Foreman had never recorded no more than 12 receiving yards in a  game, but against the Cowboys, the true freshman racked up 74 yards and a touchdown, showing his ability to stretch the field. Texas needs some other receivers to step up and show promise for what appears as though will be a weak receiving corps next season. With his performance Saturday, Foreman showed he has the ability to be one of those guys.

Stock Down: Marcus Johnson

The junior receiver keeps falling further and further down the depth chart. Sophomore Jacorey Warrick and freshman Armanti Foreman both outperformed the junior in the last game and appear ready to overtake him on the depth chart. Johnson needs to earn the trust of sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes in the next couple games if he wants to be a major factor next year. He is struggling to get by defenders on deep balls, which are supposed to be his strength, and is dropping balls on shorter routes. What a disappointment Johnson has been.

Stock Up: Malcom Brown

The junior defensive tackle was absolutely dominant. It’s nothing new, as he has arguably been the best player for Texas this year. He recorded two sacks and forced a fumble in Stillwater. It was his first multi-sack game since the UCLA game. Most important for him was his ability to stuff the run. He got into the backfield quickly and often, helping limit the Cowboys to just 23 carries for 34 yards. That’s a 1.5-yard-per-carry average. While Brown doesn’t deserve all the credit for shutting down the run, he was certainly the biggest reason for it.

Stock Up: Tyrone Swoopes

Mr. Inconsistency is at it again. After back-to-back 300 yard games midseason, the sophomore appeared to have turned the corner. Then he laid three straight eggs against Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia. Against Oklahoma State, however, he was far and away the best quarterback on the field. He completed 72 percent of his passes — his highest rate of the season — en route to yet another 300-yard game. Unlike his other 300-yard outings, however, he didn’t throw a pick. Another performance like that will give Texas a chance against TCU. But who knows what Texas will get out of Mr. Inconsistency?

Stock Down: Malcolm Brown

Brown received zero touches in the second half against Kansas State. Zero. After six carries for 21 yards, he was sidelined for the rest of the afternoon as junior Johnathan Gray and freshman D’onta Foreman got the touches. This is the same running back that got 19 carries in the two previous weeks and looked to be the feature back. Head coach Charlie Strong jumped around the question in his press conference, as he leaves the rotation up to his coordinators. But, even when he gets touches, Brown isn’t doing too much behind the young offensive line. While he is averaging a solid 3.8 yards per carry, he has yet to crack 80 yards in a game and is a non-factor to catch balls out of the backfield.

Stock Up: Quandre Diggs

The Texas secondary had a rough game, especially on third downs, but the senior held his own. His draft stock is rising fast and for good reason. You sometimes forget he’s out there, which is a good thing for a defensive back. Although junior cornerback Duke Thomas struggled mightily against Kansas State’s senior receiver Tyler Lockett, and senior defensive back Mykkele Thompson struggled last week against Iowa State, Diggs has been consistent. There weren’t many bright spots against the Wildcats, but the senior had himself a game.

Stock Down: Marcus Johnson

What a disappointment this guy has been. Johnson came into the year as the No. 2 receiver on the depth chart, but he simply hasn’t produced. Last year, the junior receiver had big-play ability with Case McCoy throwing to him. He had three receptions of over 30 yards. This season, he has just one. He also only has two games with more than two receptions. Without much depth at the wide receiver position, a lot was expected from Johnson. He simply hasn’t stepped up. 

Stock Up: Hassan Ridgeway

It’s hard finding positives after the debacle in Manhattan, Kanasas, but sophomore defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway played a great game. Early on, Ridgeway made his presence felt. He generated solid pass rush and had a sack and three tackles for loss. But, as the game wore on, Ridgeway and the Longhorns got very little pressure on Kansas State senior Jake Waters, which can be partly attributed to the offense’s inability to stay on the field and give the defense some rest. But Ridgeway’s first half was a good one, and, if he can keep that up for a full 60 minutes, he’ll be a nice addition to an experienced Texas defensive front.

Stock Up: Tyrone Swoopes

He wasn’t perfect, but Swoopes finally looked like he belonged as the starting quarterback as he outplayed Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight in the Red River Rivalry. He was terrible against Baylor at home and admitted to being nervous. That wasn’t a good sign heading into arguably Texas’ most nerve racking game of the season at the Cotton Bowl. The nerves were obvious as he threw a pick-six early on, but he bounced back very nicely, leading Texas to the end zone on the very next possession to keep the game close. And when Oklahoma went up, 31-13, Swoopes played his best football, nearly leading Texas to a come-from-behind victory. He also scampered for 50 yards and a touchdown, and that number doesn’t include the 73-yarder that got called back.

Stock Down: Marcus Johnson

The drops are starting to add up. Johnson’s numbers weren’t that bad: seven catches for 93 yards. But, dig a little deeper, and you can see he hurt Texas with some costly drops. The junior receiver was supposed to be the top deep threat for Texas this year but has fallen behind seniors Jaxon Shipley and John Harris on Swoopes’ go-to list. Even when he finally had a big catch and seemed to break free with a clear path to the end zone, Johnson kept checking over his shoulder and ran diagonally, allowing Oklahoma defenders to catch him before he could score.

Stock Up: John Harris

What a turnaround for Harris from last year. He seems to be the only receiver capable of finding the end zone, having scored six touchdowns for the Longhorns already. No other Texas receiver has a single touchdown as junior tight end M.J. McFarland is the only other player to catch a touchdown this season. After four years in the shadows, Harris is making his final year on the 40 Acres worthwhile.

Stock Up: Duke Thomas

This guy is brimming with confidence right now. After a really rough start to the year, which saw other teams pick on him, Thomas has completely turned his game around. The Sooners only completed six passes to receivers, and four of those were to junior Sterling Shepard, who was being covered by the other corner, senior Quandre Diggs. Thomas was dominant against Kansas three weeks ago and hasn’t slowed down. 

QB

Advantage: UCLA

Redshirt junior Brett Hundley has the kind of athleticism that has ruined the Texas front seven, but his 396-yard and three touchdown passing performance against Memphis last week showed the dual-threat ability that makes him a Heisman candidate.  

Sophomore Tyrone Swoopes did as well as expected with the vanilla game plan that his coaches drew up last week, but his deep passes were inaccurate, and his athleticism was not a factor until the game was out of hand.

RB

Advantage: UCLA

Redshirt sophomore Paul Perkins has put together a solid first two games for the Bruins — averaging 4.6 yards per carry — but he has not yet faced a top-tier defense, and his backups have struggled.

Junior Johnathan Gray and senior Malcolm Brown only averaged 2.7 yards per carry against BYU, but a weak offensive line should take some blame for that. So far this season, neither back has been a factor in the passing game. 

WR

Advantage: UCLA

A strong receiving corps allows Hundley to spread the ball around. Junior Jordan Payton and sophomore Thomas Duarte both had 100-yard games last week, and junior Devin Fuller added
nine catches.

A head injury may keep senior Jaxon Shipley out against the Bruins. Redshirt senior John Harris led the team in receiving for a second straight week, but junior Marcus Johnson has yet to make any impact on offense.

OL

Advantage: Texas 

The Longhorn offensive line will again be without tackles junior Kennedy Estelle and senior Desmond Harrison, both of whom were recently suspended. Texas struggled to run last week, but this unit tops UCLA’s on the basis that the pass protection has been decent through two games.

The UCLA offensive line has allowed nine sacks in two games, and Bruin runners are averaging a scant 3.3 yards per carry. Redshirt junior center Jake Brendel returned to the team last week, but he cannot compensate for the lack of experience around him.

DL

Advantage: Texas

Senior Cedric Reed and Co. put constant pressure on BYU junior quarterback Taysom Hill last week, but they need to focus on containing the quarterback. If the ends get up the field too quickly, Hundley will step up and hurt the team with his legs.

UCLA’s defensive line, led by sophomore Eddie Vanderdoes, dominated in its first game against Virginia but has recorded only one sack this season.

LB

Advantage: UCLA

Sophomore Myles Jack and redshirt senior Eric Kendricks return to what should be one of the best linebacking corps in the Pac-12. It shut down Virginia’s offensive attack but allowed 164 rushing yards
to Memphis.

The linebackers fell apart against BYU. Ball carriers burst through to the secondary at will, and outside linebackers Jordan Hicks and Peter Jinkens struggled to seal off the perimeter. It is hard to imagine them improving against better competition this week.

DB

Advantage: Texas

The secondary has been the Longhorns’ strongest defensive unit. Senior Quandre Diggs grabbed an interception in the end zone last week, and the team has only allowed 196 passing yards all season.

Apart from two interceptions against Virginia, UCLA’s veteran secondary has struggled through the first two games of the season. The Bruins will be further weakened if junior cornerback Randall Goforth misses this weekend’s game due to a shoulder injury. 

ST

Advantage: UCLA

Placekicker Ka’imi Fairbairn has struggled early on for the Bruins. The junior missed one extra point and his only field goal try. Junior returner Ishmael Adams has been solid in the return game, averaging 11.5 yards per return on punts. 

Texas’ special teams have been disastrous through two weeks. Junior placekicker Nick Rose is 1-for-3 on field goal attempts, and Marcus Johnson made several poor decisions against BYU.

FIX SPECIAL TEAMS

If the Longhorns want to hang with UCLA, their special teams have to improve. Texas’ special teams performance was mediocre against North Texas and wretched against BYU. 

Junior kicker Nick Rose is 1-of-3 on the season despite all his attempts coming from 43 yards or less. His 43-yard try that would have put the Longhorns ahead early in the first quarter against BYU was not even close to the right post. Rose has to improve if Texas wants to win close games against ranked opponents.

The return game has been another huge weakness for the Longhorns. Junior wide receiver Marcus Johnson fumbled once against BYU, and his decision to run laterally, rather than take a touchback, pinned the Longhorns deep in their own territory. Head coach Charlie Strong should have no qualms about replacing Johnson if he cannot perform against UCLA. 

Kick coverage has been solid, but if the Longhorns let erratic kicking and shoddy returns define their special teams, ranked opponents like the Bruins will pounce on the mistakes and make life miserable for Texas. 

DISCIPLINE IN THE FRONT SEVEN

No one doubts the talent on the Longhorn defensive line. Senior defensive end Cedric Reed is bound for the NFL, and the interior tandem of senior Desmond Jackson and junior Malcom Brown swallows up anyone who dares run down the middle. 

The defensive line even got decent pressure against BYU as evidenced by the six sacks recorded by the team. 

However, against mobile quarterbacks like BYU junior Taysom Hill and Brett Hundley, UCLA’s junior Heisman candidate, undisciplined pressure leads to gaping running lanes. When the Longhorn outside pass rushers got up field too quickly, Hill took off running and turned potential sacks into first downs. 

Since last year’s contest against BYU, the linebacking corps has failed miserably in containing all three aspects of the read option. Last week, the quick pass, the quarterback keeper and the outside run all seemed to produce first downs with no resistance. 

A better quarterback in Hundley, and Paul Perkins, a speedy sophomore running back, can make the lack of discipline painfully obvious for a second-straight week. 

The outside pass rush will be helpful against pass-happy teams like Texas Tech, but against mobile quarterbacks, the Longhorns are best off staying conservative with their blitzes and focusing on containing the quarterback.  

TURN SWOOPES LOOSE

Strong hoped to ease Swoopes into the starting gig with the help of some conservative west-coast passing, supported by runs from junior Johnathan Gray and senior Malcolm Brown.  

But, BYU’s defense responded to Texas’ offensive game plan by loading the box and sitting on short routes. 

UCLA’s defense has struggled against two unranked opponents. Virginia hung around into the fourth quarter, and Memphis picked up 469 yards in a 35-point effort. Another conservative game plan may keep Swoopes from making mistakes, but it also puts less pressure on the Bruins’
weak defense. 

The Longhorns can cross their fingers and hope the offensive line improves enough to make the conservative approach viable, or they can shoot for a win by taking advantage of Swoopes’ top-flight arm by bringing back the deep passing game. 

Swoopes has the ability to drive the ball downfield and return Johnson to relevance. More importantly, however, the threat of a deep passing game should push the UCLA safeties further away from the line of scrimmage and prevent them from loading up on short passes and run plays.

Stock Up: QB Tyrone Swoopes

A week after he was on the stock down list, Tyrone Swoopes’ opportunity arose. Redshirt junior quarterback David Ash is out against BYU with yet another concussion, so the sophomore will get his first crack at proving he’s a possible solution at quarterback. Swoopes was a fan favorite last year and is oozing with potential, but in his brief playing time last season, he was less than spectacular. This is his first start at Texas — can he make the most of it?

Stock Down: WR Marcus Johnson

Junior wide receiver Marcus Johnson was supposed to be one of the receivers to step up in the wake of the suspensions earlier this year. The big-play threat, however, was nowhere to be found Saturday against UNT. He had just one catch for six yards. Both redshirt senior John Harris — 110 yards — and sophomore Jacorey Warrick — 30 yards — who were below him on the depth chart, looked better. Johnson will need to turn it around fast.

Stock Up: John Harris

While Johnson was nowhere to be found, it was hard to miss Harris. It felt as if every throw went to him. The redshirt senior ended up with 110 yards on seven catches. More encouraging than that he went for over 100 yards was that he did it after dropping two passes to start the game. His ability to stay positive and fight through adversity showed he is a legitimate breakout candidate after spending three years at the bottom of the Longhorn depth chart.

Stock Down: Nick Rose

It seems like déjà vu of two short years ago. Junior Nick Rose missed a 38-yard attempt in a tie game before hitting a 34-yard attempt in a nearly meaningless situation. He showed off his strong leg in kickoffs but in the process, demonstrated that his accuracy isn’t quite good enough. Aside from the missed field goal, he was flagged for kicking off out-of-bounds. Every field goal attempt is a roller-coaster ride with Rose. 

Stock Up: Dylan Haines

His interception meant more than just a turnover — it was him taking advantage. The previously-unknown redshirt sophomore walk-on made a name for himself in his first collegiate game with a pick and was an integral part of Texas’ shutdown secondary against North Texas. 

Junior wide reciever Marcus Johnson fights off a defender during the game against OSU last season. Johnson, who took advantage of his oppurtunities last season, is expected to become one of Texas' top reciever threats, taking the place of Mike Davis. 

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

After a 1-2 start to the 2013 season and an injury to senior wide receiver Mike Davis in the conference opener, Texas needed its younger players to shine. Several candidates were expected to fill the role, but very few signs pointed to sophomore wide receiver Marcus Johnson being the one.

Johnson missed Texas’ previous two games with a knee injury and entered with only one catch in nine career games. However, in the end it was Johnson who took advantage of the occasion, hauling in five passes for 70 yards against Kansas State in the Big 12 opener, including two grabs in Texas’ final scoring drive. 

“I just felt like that first opportunity against Kansas State — I came off the little knee injury, and I went out there and did what I could to step up in the time when Mike was hurt,” Johnson said. “And from then on I think my confidence was there, and from there on everything went well.”

Now a junior, Johnson enters 2014 expected to take over Davis’ old role as Texas’ big play receiver. He showed flashes of potential last season, none bigger than his 59-yard touchdown catch in Texas’ upset victory over Oklahoma last October. 

“That was a major step,” Johnson said. “Going into the game, I wasn’t expecting anything like that touchdown at the time or anything like that. But, when it happened, it just let me know, man, that I could do this. I can be a dynamic player.”

After spending last season as an unknown by opposing defenses, Johnson will now be a team’s defensive game plan to shutdown. Not one to back away from a challenge, Johnson looks forward to taking on opponents’ top corners and facing the most experienced defensive backs.

“You want competition. You want to go against the best,” Johnson said. “Even in practice, I’m constantly calling guys like Duke [Thomas] and Quandre [Diggs] out because that’s who you want. You want the best competition to make you better.”

Johnson’s teammates have even taken notice of the wideout’s urge to compete amongst the best as he continues to improve.

“Marcus is a hard worker, and he wants to go against the best, and we see that,” junior running back Johnathan Gray said. “That’s what we want. We want guys like Marcus to call out some of those veterans and say ‘Come against me.’ That’s what we need, and we love the competitiveness, and we need guys like that to help us win.” 

Because of Johnson’s willingness to challenge himself, it won’t be a surprise if he finishes 2014 as Texas’ leading receiver. 

Ultimately, it will come down to Johnson continuing to take advantage of his opportunities to impact games like he did in 2013.

“It’s funny, because if I would’ve dropped the pass against Oklahoma, it would’ve been a lot different right now,” Johnson said. 

But Johnson hauled in that pass, showing a penchant for making explosive plays that he would repeat on an identical route for a 65-yard touchdown in the next game against TCU. As Texas’ top returning deep threat, the rising junior is poised to take on a vital role in Texas’ passing game.

“When the opportunity or chance comes, [it’s] just [about] taking advantage of it and continuing to build and grow,” Johnson said.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Coming into the season, the Longhorns faced a bevy of questions at the wide receiver position.

Veteran wideouts Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley missed time in training camp with nagging injuries, while sophomore receivers Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson were each inactive for games early in the season. These concerns are nothing but a distant memory now, though, as Texas’ now healthy cast of wide receivers form perhaps the team’s most dynamic offensive unit.

“The depth at wide receiver has really helped us,” head coach Mack Brown said. “I’m not sure this isn’t our best group of wide receivers top to bottom that we’ve had since we’ve been here.”

Texas’ starters at wide receiver both played well in the Longhorns first eight games, with Shipley leading the team with 39 receptions for 445 and Davis setting the high mark with five touchdowns. But Shipley and Davis hardly stand as the Longhorns’ only consistent threats through the air.

Sanders racked up 28 receptions for 286 yards and a score in his first seven games this season, while Johnson places third on the team with 301 receiving yards. Adding to the depth are sophomore running back/wide receiver Daje Johnson, who has 14 receptions in six games, and junior wide receiver John Harris, who has two touchdowns.

“I think we’ve really developed two-deep at the wide receiver position, and [wide receivers coach Darrell] Wyatt has done a really good job of getting us blocking and getting us to do all of our assignments,” Shipley said. “We’re really excited about the wide receivers.”

Senior quarterback Case McCoy continues to enjoy the depth at wide receiver, as having a number of viable options in the passing game allows him to spread the ball around without having to zero in on a single target.

“Those guys are stepping in and can play,” McCoy said. “When we have our four wideouts on the field, that’s a good group right there. I can throw the ball to any of those guys and I know where they’re going to be.”

Co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite believes that the injuries to Texas’ veteran wide outs early in training camp prepared the younger receivers for increased playing time, as players like Sanders, Marcus Johnson and Daje Johnson received extra reps with the first team offense.

“Even though it was frustrating when Jaxon and Mike weren’t practicing and then you lose Kendall Sanders with an ankle and then Marcus with a knee, all those other guys started getting reps and now it has started to pay off,” Applewhite said. “Now all those reps that aren’t seen in the stat lines that are given out in August, now all those things are starting to come and you got top-to-bottom depth.”

Brown expects the Longhorns receivers to continue
producing in the upcoming games, as teams figure to stack the box in an attempt to stop a torrid Texas rushing attack that has produced 221 yards on the ground in its last three games.

“Those guys should be in one-on-one situations, because more people are going to be trying to stop the run the next four weeks,” Brown said. “It should leave some one-on-one shots. We need to do a better job of getting the ball in their hands in space or hit some deep shots.”

The Longhorns know that maintaining a balanced offensive game plan is necessary if they hope to remain in the driver’s seat for a Big 12 title. This calls for McCoy to maintain a strong connection with his wide receivers, and unlike at the start of the year, he has plenty of options to throw to. 

STOCK UP:

WR Marcus Johnson (So.)

After managing a pedestrian six catches over the first five games of the season, Johnson burst onto the scene two weeks ago against Oklahoma, hauling in a 59-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Case McCoy. His encore performance last week was even better — he caught three passes for 120 yards, including a 65-yard bomb that gave Texas a 17-7 lead before play was stopped due to inclement weather. Keep an eye out for the sophomore speedster this week, as he should have plenty of opportunities to break out against an overmatched Kansas defense.

 

CB Quandre Diggs (Jr.)

The most talented player in the Longhorns secondary has added another dynamic to his game: rushing the passer. Over the past several games Diggs has coupled his elite coverage skills with an ability to come off the edge in exotic blitz packages, recording a sack against TCU to give him 2.5 sacks in Texas’ last three contests. Although he has yet to haul in an interception this year, that is largely a product of teams fearing him too much to throw in his direction. Despite a lack of play-making opportunities, Diggs is continuing to find a way to help this defense.

 

K/P Anthony Fera (Sr.)

Serving as both the kicker and the punter for Texas, it’s hard to ignore what Fera has done this year. He’s made 11 of 12 field goal attempts, including all four tries of 40 yards or more — not too shabby for a guy who only made two out of four field goal attempts all of last season. Fera has twice set a new career long for field goals this season, making a 47-yarder earlier this year before nailing one from 50 yards out against Oklahoma. Although his longest attempt against TCU was “only” from 43 yards, he still went 3-for-3 while averaging 40 yards per punt.

 

 

STOCK DOWN:

Case McCoy’s Completion Percentage:

Although McCoy has never been known for the deep ball, he’s been slinging it lately: he finished with 208 yards through the air on Saturday despite, completing less than 50 percent of his passes. Considering 120 of these yards came on three completions to Marcus Johnson and he threw two interceptions, it’s clear the senior signal caller wasn’t exactly Mr. Consistency against the Horned Frogs.

 

Johnathan Gray’s touchdown total:

No, his number of touchdowns didn’t drop against TCU, but they didn’t go up either. Despite averaging 19 carries and 94 yards a game, Gray only has four touchdowns this entire season and has been held out of the end zone in four of the Longhorns’ seven games. While this isn’t so much of a knock against Gray as it is a product of Texas choosing to spread the ball around, he’d like to see that number go up against the Jayhawks. 

Quarterbacks

Jake Heaps has thrown exactly one touchdown pass in every game this season and this will not be Heaps’ first encounter with Texas. He was the starting quarterback for BYU in 2011, when the Cougars almost stole one in Austin, falling to the Longhorns, 17-16. Case McCoy made a few stellar throws against TCU before the three-hour weather delay, but seemed as eager as a child after a thunder delay at a public pool, throwing two ill-advised interceptions. Texas also revealed a new weapon: Tyrone Swoopes.

Advantage: Texas

 

Running Backs

James Sims is on pace for his second 1000-yard season, and had his best game of the season against Oklahoma two weeks ago, with 129 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Johnathan Gray was six yards away from his third 100-yard game of the season last week against a TCU team that has only allowed two players to reach the century mark all season. Kansas has allowed four, and is allowing 204 rushing yards a game this season. Gray and Malcolm Brown should excel.

Advantage: Texas

 

Wide Receivers

Tony Pierson has provided the Jayhawks biggest spark offensively, but a head injury has sidelined him the past three weeks and he likely won’t play this week. Marcus Johnson has emerged as Case McCoy’s main target with long touchdown catches in each of the last two games. Mike Davis, Jordan Shipley and Kendall Sanders also had catches of more than 20 yards against TCU. Throw Daje Johnson into the mix, and the Kansas secondary has their toughest matchup of the season.

Advantage: Texas

 

Offensive Line

Kansas is in the bottom 20 in the FBS in sacks allowed, tackles for loss allowed, and third-down conversion percentage. Much of that responsibility falls on the offensive line, which will have its hands full with a Texas defensive line that has five sacks in its last two games. The Longhorns offensive line did not surrender a sack for the second straight week against TCU and paved the way for Texas to run for 187 yards against the Horned Frogs’ Big 12-best rushing defense. Johnathan Gray could have a record day.

Advantage: Texas

 

Defensive Line

Kansas lost some depth after dismissing junior transfer Chris Martin in June and Marquel Combs, who transferred. They allowed 306 rushing yards last week against Baylor and 235 the week before to Oklahoma. Kevin Young leads the Jayhawks with 1.5 sacks on the year. The Texas defensive line is led by Jackson Jeffcoat, whose six sacks have all come in the last four games. This unit has accounted for a third of the team’s total tackles in the last two games and has helped Texas average six tackles for loss per game this year. 

Advantage: Texas

 

Linebackers

Without Ben Heeney, who has been sidelined with a knee injury the past two weeks, the Texas run game will be even more difficult to stop. Junior Steve Edmond came up with his first interception on the year last week against TCU and leads the linebackers with 10 tackles apiece in the last two games. The Longhorns are allowing 153 rushing yards per game under Greg Robinson but have accounted for only 25 percent of the team’s tackles in the last two games.

Advantage: Texas

 

Defensive Backs

The Kansas secondary was torched by Baylor’s Bryce Petty, who had a career-high 430 passing yards and three touchdowns. The game was uncharacteristic of a defense that had only given up 216 yards per game through the air entering last week, but Baylor has been lighting up the scoreboard all year. The Jayhawks will have their hands full again against a very deep and talented Texas receiving corps. The Longhorns are allowing 202 passing yards per game this year and have not given up a touchdown pass in either of their last two games, holding both Oklahoma and TCU to less than 140 passing yards.

Advantage: Texas

 

Special Teams

One nudge separated sophomore Daje Johnson from his second punt return touchdown of the season, as a block in the back penalty was called on Johnson’s would-be 85-yard score. Johnson has sparked what was a quiet return game but the Longhorns kick-coverage team is still the fourth-worst in the NCAA, allowing 27 yards per kickoff return, including a 40-yard return by TCU’s B.J. Catalon. Kansas allows 20 yards per kickoff return and six yards per punt return. Special teams is the Jayhawks’ silver lining as sophomore kicker Matthew Wyman has hit just five of nine field-goal attempts but did connect on a 52-yard game-winner against Louisiana Tech.

Advantage: Kansas