at Lawrence, Kan. • Nov. 6 • 11:30 a.m. (MT)
Head Coach: Mark Mangino (3rd year)
2004 Record: 3-5, 1-4 Big 12
Gary Barnett said Tuesday that the CU defensive coaches have a great deal of respect for the abilities of sophomore KU running back John Randle, and said they think he's the second-best back they've faced after Texas' Cedric Benson. That's a big statement, considering CU has faced North Texas RB Jamario Thomas and Oklahoma State's Vernand Morency. CU gave up 247 yards to Thomas and 165 to the Cowboy back, who is third in the Big 12 in rushing. Randle is nursing a lower leg injury, but No. 2 RB Clark Green has also been hobbled with an injury.
Kansas will start junior quarterback Jason Swanson, a Juco transfer (C.C. of San Francisco) in his first year in Lawrence. Starter Adam Barmann is out with a shoulder injury. Swanson has appeared in five games this year and is a threat to run as much as pass. He's completed 18 of 38 passes, and run 20 times for 49 yards.
The Jayhawks will work out of different alignments on offense, from Mangino's spread offense to an option look. But whichever set they've run, or whoever has been under center this season, the Kansas offense has struggled. KU is averaging just 299 yards in offense per game.
Player to watch: Senior wide out Brandon Rideau is solid and leads the receiving corps with five touchdowns.
KEYS for COLORADO
Don't Get Fooled
Kansas will try and mix it up on offense, and disguise what they're doing on certain plays. Barnett called it a "smoke and mirrors" offense, and the Jayhawks like to throw in some trickery, as well. KU is desperate to kick start its offense and could pull some surprises. Colorado's got to play straight assignment defense Saturday to keep an ailing KU unit down.
Kansas has lost five games, but four of them by fewer than six points. While KU's offense has struggled, the Jayhawks' defense has played well this fall.
Senior safety Tony Stubbs is good at coming up and helping out in running situations. Linebacker Nick Reid has been great, and leads the team in tackles from his outside position. Middle ‘backer Gabriel Toomey's production has fallen off from last season, but the junior has five tackles for loss.
Like Colorado, Kansas is not terribly big up front on defense, but the front four, led by DE David McMillan, are active.
Player to watch: Sophomore Charles Gordon switched from wide receiver to primarily playing cornerback this fall. But KU still uses him on both sides of the ball, and on special teams, and Gordon is a playmaker wherever he lines up. He currently has 38 tackles, four interceptions, 13 receptions, four rushes, one pass attempt and 19 punt returns.
KEYS for COLORADO
Find a Way to Control the Line of Scrimmage
The Colorado offense is in dire need of a confidence boost, and the ability to move the ball begins in the trenches. While RB Bobby Purify likely won't play the entire game with two separated shoulders, it's unclear if the Buffs will give the ball to Lawrence Vickers, or one of the two freshmen, Hugh Charles or Byron Ellis, when Purify sits. Also, getting the dormant tight ends, Joe Klopfenstein and Jesse Wallace, involved in the offense seems like a no brainer.
SPECIAL TEAMS Gordon is a dangerous punt returner. Placekicker Johnny Beck has a strong leg, but it inconsistent from 40 yards or longer. Freshman punter Kyle Tucker is fifth in the conference in punting.
KU STATISTICAL LEADERS
Passing: Adam Barmann, 141-262-1,427, 12 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: John Randle, 120-475/4.0 ypc, 4TD
Receiving: Brandon Rideau, 37-409/11.1 ypc, 5 TD
Kickoff returns: John Randle, 11-251/22.8
Punt returns: Charles Gordon, 19-149/7.8
Punting: Kyle Tucker, 36-1,490/41.4
Tackles: Nick Reid, 83
Tackles for loss: Nick Reid, 10-42
Sacks: David McMillan, 4-28
Interceptions: Charles Gordon, 4-29