LAWRENCE, KS - With just two games left on the 2016 schedule, the University of Texas Longhorns have to win at least one more game to become bowl eligible. The Longhorns, who struggle on the road, should have a good shot at a bowl game with a victory on Saturday in Kansas against the Jayhawks.
The Jayhawks haven’t improved much of any from a disastrous 2015 season and are currently dead last in the Big 12 in scoring at 20 points per game. Kansas’ rushing and passing offenses are next to last in the conference and the school is last in total offense in the Big 12, averaging 357.9 yards per game.
Defensively the Jayhawks aren’t much better, allowing more than 460 yards per game this year and are ninth out of the ten conference teams in scoring defense, giving up nearly 40 points per game, more than a touchdown worse than the Longhorns.
Needless to say, for a team that has struggled defensively as Texas has at multiple points throughout the season, Kansas could be just what the doctor ordered.
The key word there is “could” because the Longhorns have struggled mightily on the road this season, especially on the defensive side. Texas gives up more than a full yard per play and around 50 yards more per game on the road than at home.
More troubling for Longhorns fans is the defense allows more than two touchdowns more on the road than at home to opposing offenses.
The Longhorns’ offense doesn’t take much of any step back on the road and the passing offense seems to be finding its groove again after some struggles in October. In the two November games for Texas thus far in 2016, the team is averaging 281 passing yards per game and has thrown 3 touchdowns to 1 interception.
But the bread and butter of the Texas offense remains running back D’Onta Foreman and the rest of the rushing attack. Texas is averaging more than 240 rushing yards per game this year and in the last two games has averaged more than 300 rush yards and 50 attempts per game.
Much like Foreman, Texas’ running game has gained strength as the season has gone on too. After averaging just under 220 yards per game in October, the Longhorns have exploded for approximately 6.32 yards per attempt in November.
According to the Sagarin Ratings, Kansas is currently ranked 138th in the country among college football teams. Texas ranks 39th in the Sagarin Ratings and if the Longhorns can’t get the win in Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday; the likelihood of a bowl game may evaporate as TCU, Texas’ final opponent is just outside of the Top 25 and is a much tougher team to beat to get bowl eligibility.
Assuming Texas becomes bowl eligible, the predicted bowl games and opponents vary greatly. ESPN.com is projecting the Longhorns to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl against an SEC opponent, as does USA Today.com, while CBS Sports sends the Longhorns to the Cactus Bowl against either a Pac-12 team or a replacement team if the Pac-12 can’t fill the spot.