A Closer Look: KU/West Virginia

News, notes and quotes about Kansas' showdown at West Virginia Saturday at 3 p.m.

News, notes and quotes about Kansas' showdown at West Virginia Saturday at 3 p.m.


WVU leads the series with KU, 2-1. The teams first met in 1941 in Morgantown when KU lost, 21-0. West Virginia then beat Kansas, 59-10, in 2012 at home before KU won, 31-19, last season at Memorial Stadium.


KU is 14-3 all time in games played on Oct. 4. The Jayhawks have won five straight contests on this date with a 35-33 win at Iowa State in 2008 marking its last time playing on Oct. 4.


KU junior running back De’Andre Mann, who leads KU with 295 rushing yards through four games, is the consummate team player who is driven by one goal.

“No matter if you have a great individual game, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get the win,” Mann said after rushing for 83 yards in KU’s 23-0 loss to Texas on Sept. 27. “I just want to win. That’s all I care about is winning. That’s all I care about.”


Kansas ranks third in the Big 12 and 30th nationally in red zone defense, holding opponents to just a 75 percent scoring rate. KU has allowed foes in the red zone 12 times, holding them to six touchdowns and three field goals.


KU interim head coach Clint Bowen called Jayhawk football a “sleeping giant” at his introductory press conference. He elaborated on this topic Tuesday.

“If you take all the things that we have to offer at Kansas for recruits that want to come here, for people to be a part of it, I mean, the most obvious one is the tremendous university that we're a part of, the academic reputation of Kansas University, the opportunities that exist there, part of an unbelievable community of Lawrence, Kansas, that always offers the ability for recruits and student athletes to have an environment that's a true college environment, lots of stuff to do but not too much to do to have the dangers of different universities, a football program with tradition that has the support of an administration that's willing to put everything into it, a fan base, a central location within the United States to be able to do things, but there's so many countless, great things about this job and this situation that it is what I said it is. It's a sleeping giant. It wakes up, we're going to take this thing off and keep it going.”


West Virginia has won 103 of its last 146 regular season games and 108 of 157 overall games...The Mountaineers are No. 14 all time in college football winning percentage...WVU has outrushed its opponents in 77 of 111 games; its record is 77-34 during that span...West Virginia’s 114 first downs in its last three games are the most in a three-game span in school history.


WVU senior QB Clint Trickett 511 passing yards at Maryland on Sept. 13 were career highs. The 511 yards were the second-most in a game in school history.


KU senior linebacker Ben Heeney is off to an impressive start this season. Heeney leads the Big 12 and ranks No. 12 nationally in solo tackles, averaging 6.8 a game. He ranks second in the Big 12 in tackles per game (10.8) and No. 17 nationally. Heeney has three double-digit tackles this season and 14 in his career.

Bowen raved over the captain.

“People all the time kind of label Ben Heeney as a throwback linebacker, and I keep saying that he's not a throwback linebacker,” Bowen said. “The guy is every bit the modern-day spread offense-type middle linebacker that there is out there. People don't give him enough credit for how athletic and fast the guy can move on the football field. In my mind people say old-school linebacker, you think of the big blockhead guy standing in the middle, plug and run all day, and Ben is more than willing to do that, but the guy can run.

“... I can't go back forever on where he fits in the legacy of Kansas linebackers. We've been fortunate to have some really, really good players here, as a kid going back to the Willie Pless type guys to -- and I don't want to leave guys out... He's definitely one of the better linebackers we've had in the time I've been here.”


The Jayhawks’ mission to win took on greater meaning when Bowen was named interim head coach. The players want to have great success and see him get the permanent job.

“We’ve all been talking about that,” Heeney said. “Coach Bowen has been a huge help for me since I’ve been here. Everyone on the team just likes him a lot, and we definitely want to win for him.”

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