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Some key notes and things to watch out for from the Kansas Jayhawks

The 1-4 Jayhawks come to Waco, TX this weekend to be the sacrificial homecoming lamb. What do the Bears need to watch out for to get their 6th win of the season and assure a bowl game?

1.  Baylor fans should know how this feels. They should how it is being the homecoming opponent for almost every team on the schedule.  The assumed extra "bye-week" that is a joke, but really isn't. Kansas is that right now, and fit that description perfectly, well for anyone not TCU.  The Kansas Jayhawks come into this game at 1-4, losers of their last four games and all games against FBS team.  They won their opener against Rhode Island (which is still strangely neither a road or an island....) 55-6.  That win snapped a 15-game losing streak and was Kansas' 8th win in the last 4+ years of football.  

It was also David Beatty's first win as a college head coach after that 0-12 campaign in 2015.  He has just 1 win in 17 tries and his teams have been outscored 718-308 over his tenure.  The Jayhawks are bad. Baylor in the early 2000's bad.  Kevin Steele era bad, but they are showing signs of improvement.  For the third consecutive season, they gave TCU a fight till the bitter end, losing 24-23 after leading for most of the game and missing a last second field goal to win.  

Beatty is known as an excellent recruiter, and needs time to get his guys and scheme up to speed. Simply put, this is a 5-7 year rebuild. This isn't Art Briles taking over a bad football team from Guy Morris.  This is what Guy Morris got from Kevin Steele.  

2. The Jayhawks will be the second team in a row that the Bears have seen rotating their quarterbacks. Against Iowa State, there was no rotation with Joel Lanning going the entire way for ISU.  Kansas has Ryan Willis and Montell Cozart. Willis is the nominal starter, with Cozart being the change of pace threat. Both have attempted around 90 passes, with Willis completing a few more but getting the ball down the field better. His 7.4 yards per attempt is solid, while Cozart's 6.4 is just not very good.  

This is a passing attack that has carried the offense, mainly due to the deficits that they have faced this year.  They are 32nd in the nation in passing yards per game at 279.2.  However, they are 84th in yards per attempt as a team with just 6.9.  They have 10 touchdown passes to go along with 8 interceptions, but 6 of those came in the opener against Rhode Island.  

Willis has turned the ball over too often, and takes a snap on 1 of every 10 pass attempts.  On an efficiency basis, the passing attack is a bottom thirty unit with very little big play ability. 

3. Where the Jayhawks are simply awful is on the ground, averaging a paltry 97.20 yards per game on the ground. For reference, the Texas Tech Red Raiders average over 105 yards per game.  However, it gets even worse if you take the Rhode Island game out they average just 78.75 yards, which would easily be the worst in the nation. 

On their depth chart, they have the very rare 4-man starting "or" lineup.  Senior Khalil Herbert is listed first, with Ke'aun Hunter, Taylor Martin and Denzell Evans listed as co-starters alongside him.  Herbert is their leading rusher with 215 yards, almost 100 more than any other rusher. He is averaging over 5.3 yards per rush and has a touchdown.  He is only getting 8-carriers per game though, with no one player getting more than 10.  It is an odd system the Jayhawks are running, the definition of a pure committee with all four running backs between 3 and 9 carries per game. 

4. The issue on the other side of the ball is also the run game.  They allow 187 yards per game on the ground, 88th in the nation, and 91st in the nation in yards per attempt at 4.64 yards.  Kansas has allowed 6 rushing touchdowns so far this year an actual Top-25 effort, with Ohio rushing for 2 of them along with 329 yards on the ground.  Teams might not be getting into the endzone much on the ground, but they are able to move the ball and then finish through the air (13 touchdowns, 107th in the nation).  

Safety Anthony Smithson is the leading tackler for KU with 24 tackles.  Courtney Arnick is the best front-7 player for KU, playing linebacker and getting 22 tackles and a sack.  

5. Look, the Bears should win this game easily.  Kansas is not as talented as Iowa State, which gave Baylor all kinds of issues 2 weeks ago. However, this game is in Waco.  There is a 34.5 point spread according to Las Vegas, a massive number in-conference.  This a get-well game for Baylor, one that will allow the Bears to rest several injured players such as Bravvion Roy, and bring back guys like KD Cannon slowly.  Should is a dangerous word though, and one the Bears should force out of their minds. 


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