5-Things: Baylor vs Kansas

The Bears are coming home for just the second time since early September. This time, the Kansas Jayhawks stand in their way as their homecoming opponent.

1. The Kansas Jayhawks at the bottom of the Big 12 standings, with just 2 wins on the year, and no Big 12 wins in 2014. They are 0-3 under interim head coach Clint Bowen, who took over after Charlie Weis was fired after their 23-0 loss to Texas. However, the Jayhawks have been much better under Bowen, losing by “only” 19 points against West Virginia, 7 points against Oklahoma State and 13 points against Texas Tech. Under Bowen, the Jayhawks offense has been much improved, scoring over 20 points in two straight games.

2. Kansas’ offense has been awful for most of the year. They are second worst to only SMU in yards needed per point and points per play. They are 5th worst in scoring per game. They are below average as a rushing offense, netting only 151 yards per game (80th in the nation), while they are a bad passing attack at 185 yards per game (104th in the nation) getting only 6 yards per attempt (110th in the nation). True freshman Corey Avery is their best running threat, averaging over 4.3 yards per carry.

3. Their best offensive player might be Tony Pierson, who Charlie Weis moved outside to wide receiver for some odd reason. Under the new coaching staff, Pierson has moved back to running back where the Jayhawks can get their most talented player the ball easier. He is averaging 7.75 yards per carry, albeit with only 20 rushes on the year. Pierson might have been needed outside due to the complete lack of talent at the wide receiver position for Kansas, with Jimmay Mundine being their leading receiver as a tight end.

QB Michael Cummings

However, with the horrible quarterback plays the Jayhawks have gotten from the duo of Michael Cummings and Montell Cozart, there isn’t much there for the wide receivers to work with. Cummings should get the start against Baylor, and he is at least completing more than half of his passes, and only has 2 interceptions in 7 games. The Jayhwaks are by far the worst offense in the Big 12, netting only 1.08 points per offensive possession (compared to the Bears 3.11 points per possession).

4. The Kansas defense is not nearly as bad as the offense. In fact, they do some good things. They are one of the best goal-line defenses in the Big 12, allowing a touchdown on just 54.5% of their goal-to-go situations. They are 71st in both yards per play and points per play. The Jayhawks are led by linebacker Ben Heeney, a tackling machine for the Jayhawks. The strength of the Kansas defense is its linebackers, with Heeney joined by junior Jake Love and senior Michael Reynolds.

LB Ben Henney

The Jayhawks also do a good job of taking away the deep ball in the passing game, allowing just 6.4 yards per pass attempt, good for 25th best in the nation. Where the Jayhawks struggle is up front against the run, allowing over 5.1 yards per carry. Teams are able to get leads and then milk the clock with their running attack with ease against Kansas.

5. Make no mistake, Kansas is the sacrificial lamb on the later of Homecoming. This is a worst case scenario for Kansas, with the Bears coming off of a loss with an extra week to rest up and prepare. The Bears will be looking for blood on Saturday, ready to wash away the bad taste of Morgantown out of their mouths. The Bears are a 33.5 point favorite right now according to the fine folks in Vegas, but you could add another 10 points to that spread, and I would still like the Bears in this circumstance.


Bears Illustrated Top Stories