The Bears welcome a 1-7 Jayhawk team that puts the term struggling to shame. They have one win on the year, a 31-17 win over an FCS team, South Dakota State. They have losses to Rice and Northern Illinois in non-conference play. They have been outscored 83 to 169. To contrast the Baylor Bears scored just 20 points less than those83 in their first Big 12 game this year, a 70-63 loss to West Virginia.
With a new coaching staff on board this year, there was some hope of improvement from the Jayhawk faithful. While they are 1-7 on the season, the defense has shown glimpses of solid play, especially last week against Texas, a 21-17 loss.
1. James Sims - Junior Running Back #29
Sims is by far the best player Kansas has on offense. He has been their leading rusher all three years as a Jayhawk, rushing for 742 yards as a freshman and 727 yards as a sophomore. He has 622 yards so far this year, so he should set a career high if he continues to play well. He is averaging a career best 4.8 yards per carry and has added 5 touchdowns on the year. He is more of a steady type running back rather than the explosive
2. Michael Cummings - Freshman Quarterback #14
The Killeen, Texas native is the new starting quarterback for the Jayhawks, as the true freshman has played in the last four games, but got the start against Texas last week and Oklahoma the week before. Against OU, he was just 10 of 21 passing for 11 yards and 2 interceptions. Against Texas, he was even worse, being just 3 of 9 for 39 yards. Cummings has been erratic at best as the main guy under center for Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks, and is the second quarterback to start a game this year, with injury and ineffectiveness removing Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist from the position.
Cummings was a 3-star recruit in 2011, and ranked the 73rd best quarterback prospect according to Scout. He has shown a strong arm at times, and has good running ability, though he has not shown much yet in the running game.
3. Ben Heeney – Sophomore Linebacker #31
The leading tackler for the Jayhawks, Heeney has 69 tackles in 2012 in his first real game action in college. The Sophomore from Hutchinson, Kansas primarily played special teams last year before stepping into the middle linebacker position. He is one of three solid linebackers for the Jayhawks that are all good against stopping the run. All three are a little undersized, with none over 227 lbs, but they play well together. Heeney is the leader of the three as all of them are in their first year of significant playing time.
4. Bradley McDougald – Senior Safety #24
The starting free safety for the Jayhawks, McDougald leads an experienced secondary with 3 seniors and a junior. The former wide receiver started 8 games in 2010 on offense before switching over to defensive secondary, and started 12 games there in 2011. He is the second leading tackler for the Jayhawks and has 2 interceptions on the year with 3 passes defended. He is very good with the ball in the air, and has 6 career interceptions to go with 52 career receptions in his freshman and sophomore campaigns. McDougald is living proof of taking a good receiver and moving him to defense where he can excel.
5. Tony Pierson – Sophomore Running Back #3
Pierson is the primary backup at running back to starter Sims. He is primarily used as a change of pace back and is much better out of the backfield as a receiver. He is 3rd on the team in receptions with 15 catches for 198 yards. He only has 85 carries, but has better yards per carry rate of 5.1. He also has 4 touchdowns on the year. He is second on the team in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns, trailing Sims in both.