- If the offensive line provides solid run blocking and adequate time for sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes to throw the ball. Swoopes has exceeded expectations during his first two starts, despite an inexperienced offensive line. The biggest problem with Texas’ youthful line is that it has struggled to open up holes in the running game. For the Longhorns to win, the line will need to create lanes for the running backs and give Swoopes an opportunity to stretch the field with the deep ball.
- If its defense is able to keep the Jayhawks off the field. Kansas’ offense hasn’t looked good this season, and if the Longhorns are going to win, they’ll need to force the Jayhawks to continue that trend. If Texas allows Kansas to gain momentum, it might struggle, but, if it is able to shut down the Jayhawk offense before it has a chance to get going, it should win easily.
- If the special teams unit is able to get the job done. This means no missed field goals from junior kicker Nick Rose, no bad punts from redshirt senior punter Will Russ, good kickoff and punt coverage and an improved return game. If the Longhorns can just avoid mistakes on special teams, they’ll be in prime position to win the game.
- If it overlooks Kansas. Last time the Longhorns traveled to Lawrence, it was a mess. Former starting quarterback David Ash threw two interceptions before Case McCoy entered the game and saved Texas from a humiliating defeat. Although the Longhorns are coming off a bye week, they may be looking toward the two games following their matchup with Kansas — against Baylor and Oklahoma. If Texas doesn’t take the Jayhawks seriously, the Longhorns may find themselves on the losing end of a major upset.
- If the offense fails to generate points. Swoopes led the offense against both BYU and UCLA, and although the outcomes were the same in both games, the offenses varied significantly. Against BYU, the Longhorns only put up seven points. But, the following week, Texas only scored 17 points against UCLA. If Texas doesn’t continue to grow offensively and doesn’t find the endzone on several occasions, it may be in trouble.
- If the defense allows big plays. After Texas forced a late game fumble against UCLA, the Longhorns failed to convert a first down and took very little time off the clock. Texas then allowed a huge punt return and followed that up by being fooled on a double move, which led to the game-winning touchdown. If the Longhorns allow Kansas to convert big plays and gain momentum, they may add a third game to their current losing streak.