Matchups: vs. Kansas State

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Photo Credit: Emmanuel Briseño | Daily Texan Staff
  • Quarterback
  • Advantage: Texas

Freshman Shane Buechele wasn’t clicking on all cylinders in the first half against Iowa State last week. But he came alive in the second half, finishing the game with 296 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Junior Jesse Ertz was injured last week against Oklahoma but will start against Texas. Ertz is not a great threat as a passer, but he has been very effective running the ball for the Wildcats this season.

 

  • Running Back
  • Advantage: Texas

Junior D’Onta Foreman has continued his torrid stretch, leading the nation with seven consecutive games of at least 100 yards rushing. Foreman faces his toughest challenge yet against Kansas State’s No. 1-ranked rushing defense in the Big 12.

Senior Charles Jones saw success in last year’s game against Texas, rushing 18 times for 122 yards. Jones is having a respectable season so far and is averaging five yards per carry.

 

  • Wide Receiver
  • Advantage: Texas

Freshman Devin Duvernay has caught fire recently, totaling 177 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. Junior Dorian Leonard and sophomore Jerrod Heard also continue to impress in the passing game.

Sophomore Dominique Heath is coming off his best game of the season against Oklahoma, hauling in seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. The Wildcats are not a passing team, and it’s a rare occurrence when they have a 100-yard receiver in a game.

 

  • Offensive Line
  • Advantage: Texas

The Longhorns’ offensive line has been as steady as they come this season. Texas ranks second in the Big 12 in rushing offense and third in sacks allowed.

Sophomore right tackle Dalton Risner is the only returning starter for the Wildcats from last year’s offensive line. Kansas State ranks fifth in the Big 12 in rushing offense.

 

  • Defensive Line
  • Advantage: Tie

After a slow start to the season, the Texas defensive line finally appears to be turning the corner. Last week, junior defensive end Naashon Hughes registered 2.5 sacks and sophomore tackle Chris Nelson had 1.5 sacks.

The Wildcats are led by senior end Jordan Willis, who leads the Big 12 in sacks and tackles for loss. Kansas State has been excellent in stopping the run, only allowing 90.3 rushing yards per game.

 

  • Linebacker
  • Advantage: Tie

Freshman Jeffrey McCulloch saw substantial action against Iowa State and left his mark, finishing with four tackles and a sack. And of course, sophomores Malik Jefferson and Anthony Wheeler are always ready to create havoc in the box.

Junior Elijah Lee is a force to be reckoned with at the linebacker position for Kansas State. Lee ranks third in the Big 12 in tackles, averaging 8.5 per game, and has one interception this season.

 

  • Defensive Back
  • Advantage: Texas

The Longhorns allowed only 182 passing yards against Iowa State as the secondary made significant strides last week. Whether the Texas secondary is fixed for good remains to be seen.

Kansas State’s secondary fell victim to the explosiveness of the Oklahoma passing attack last week. It faces another tough test against multiple dynamic Texas perimeter players on Saturday.

 

  • Special Teams
  • Advantage: Kansas State

Kansas State has been very strong on special teams this season and has a dangerous return man in sophomore wide receiver Byron Pringle. Pringle is averaging 31.6 yards per kick return, which leads the Big 12.

Texas has not had much to show for itself on special teams this season, other than the continued success of sophomore punter Michael Dickson. Dickson leads the Big 12 in punt average.