The Kansas Jayhawks weren’t able to recreate the magic from last year’s win over the Texas Longhorns in this season’s matchup. Instead of a turning point for the program like that contest was in Austin a year ago, KU played arguably its worst game of the season on Saturday in a 55-14 defeat.
That’s the largest margin of defeat for Kansas since Oct. 30, 2021 when the Jayhawks lost by 52 points to Oklahoma State. It also drops KU to 6-5 overall this season and 3-5 in Big 12 play.
Between the offense never developing any momentum and the defense never finding an answer for the Longhorns’ running game, there’s plenty of blame to go around for why the Jayhawks struggled so mightily on their senior day.
Junior quarterback Jalon Daniels did make his return to the lineup for KU, one month and 11 days after suffering a severe shoulder injury in a loss to TCU. Unfortunately, as coach Lance Leipold alluded to during the week leading up to the game, Daniels was clearly not 100% and he didn’t post the type of performance that became his calling card early in the season, though his numbers did tick up thanks to a few big plays in garbage time.
“There was a little rust, I think you could see that with some throws,” Leipold said. “He knows he needs some more live play.”
Leipold added that Daniels practiced more throughout the week, and that he was set to start as long as he felt good during warmups.
Daniels ended up 17-of-26 passing for 230 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, with both touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Senior quarterback Jason Bean, who went through senior day festivities despite still having a year of eligibility remaining, subbed in late in the game and completed 1-of-3 passes for 12 yards.
The biggest standout for the KU offense over the past two weeks wasn’t able to muster much on the ground, with sophomore running back Devin Neal tallying just 13 carries for 51 yards in the losing effort after racking up 532 total yards from scrimmage in the last two games.
As a team, the Jayhawks finished with 104 yards rushing and 3.5 yards per carry for the game.
“We were out-executed in all three phases,” Leipold said.
On the flip side, the Texas running game was nearly unstoppable throughout the contest, piling up 427 yards as a team on 57 carries.
Texas junior running back Bijan Robinson likely earned himself Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors after carrying the ball 25 times for 243 yards and four touchdowns. He scored another one in the second quarter that was called back due to a penalty, although the Longhorns still scored on that drive.
Robinson didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
“No. 5’s going to be one of the first players drafted,” Leipold said in regard to Robinson.
Freshman Jonathan Brooks was the game’s second-leading rusher with 107 yards, making Saturday’s contest just the second time in Texas history it’s had a 200-yard rusher and 100-yard rusher in the same game.
It was such a dominant day for Texas on the ground that it didn’t need much production at all from its passing game to cruise to victory. Freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers went 12-of-21 passing for the Longhorns for 107 yards and a touchdown in the win.
The Jayhawks’ defense, has been maligned for much of the season, but this was their most porous showing of 2022. UT’s 55 points were a season high allowed by KU, and now in eight Big 12 games the Kansas defense is allowing 36.5 points per game.
“Up front, I think they did a couple things schematically to us we didn’t handle well early in the first half,” Leipold said.
Two games are left this year for the Jayhawks, including the regular-season finale on the road against Kansas State next week. For Leipold, who took plenty of blame for the loss, KU has to accept what happened and find a way to bounce back quickly.
“We’re going to move past this as quickly as we can, we’re going to own what’s on film,” Leipold said.
Kickoff for next weekend’s Sunflower Showdown in Manhattan is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Click below to hear from Kansas coach Lance Leipold after the Jayhawks’ 55-14 loss to the Texas Longhorns.