AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas looked like it had turned things around. Two straight wins, including a physical pounding of rival Oklahoma, had taken the pressure off coach Charlie Strong and had the Longhorns talking about a postseason bowl game.
Then came a Halloween night shutout loss at Iowa State. Even a befuddled Strong had to call that huge step backward.
Next up is Kansas (0-8, 0-5 Big 12). Lose to the Jayhawks on Saturday night and Texas (3-5, 2-3) would face an even bigger crisis than anyone imagined just a few weeks ago, when Strong seemed to have silenced his critics.
"I know the players are just as frustrated as I am," Strong said. "There's more than enough talent on this team to win ... You would have thought that because of the way we had come on the last two weeks that you would walk in and just be ready to go play."
Little was expected of Kansas coach David Beaty's squad in his first year. Strong, however, had promised just a year ago that five losses in a season would never happened again in his program.
Texas got there before October ended.
"I can make those predictions, but it doesn't always happen, so there's not much I can do about it," Strong said.
Texas has just eight shutout losses since 1960, and two of them belong to Strong in the past two seasons.
The running game that dominated Oklahoma disappeared against Iowa State as the offensive line got pushed around. The Longhorns passing game has been almost non-existent over the last four games.
In his first game as a starter, freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard set a school record with 527 total yards passing and running with three touchdowns. In the last five games, Heard has 605 total yards with one touchdown.
Strong said he won't replace Heard with Tyrone Swoopes, who started most of 2014 and was demoted after a season-opening loss at Notre Dame.
"I'm fine with Jerrod," Strong said. "We know this: We've seen him make plays, and we know he's capable of making plays."
Some things to watch for when Texas hosts Kansas on Saturday night:
TEXAS PASSING: Has Texas abandoned its passing game entirely? Heard looked so fluid early in the season, but over the last five games has looked confused in the pocket on the rare times Texas even asks him to throw. His 111 attempts in eight total games don't even qualify him for the minimum 15 attempts per game to be in the NCAA national rankings. The Jayhawks have given up 23 passing touchdowns already this season.
YOUTH MOVEMENT: Both teams have young rosters and the game may turn on who makes more mistakes. The Longhorns have a two-deep depth chart with freshmen sprinkled throughout. They Jayhawks started six freshmen last week in a blowout loss to Oklahoma.
SCORING OPTIONS: Both teams struggle to score and need help from the defense or special teams. In its first four games, Texas scored four touchdowns on special teams or defense and produced nothing in those areas since.
SLOW START: In eight of Texas' 12 losses the last two years, the Longhorns have scored seven or fewer points in the first half. In 11 of those losses, the opponent scored first. Kansas isn't much better, averaging fewer than 17 points per game, but at least the Jayhawks haven't been shut out.
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