While the defense has been stifling in both victories, the offense exploded with 49 points in the first half. Head Coach Mark Mangino addressed the media Tuesday and felt the offense progressed in comparison to the first game. He also liked the performance out of the defense that held both Tulsa and Toledo to under 300 total yards of offense. Mangino can really see the defense coming together as the season progresses.
"It comes from believing in one another," Mangino said. "I think that unit is becoming a close-knit bunch of kids. I think they have confidence in each other now, I think our coaching staff has done a great job of preparing these kids. I think we are more athletic and better on defense than at any time since we"ve been here."
The Jayhawks will have to put the two non-conference home victories in the rear view mirror as they attempt the first road game of the season this Saturday against Northwestern. Kansas was defeated last season by the Wildcats in a soggy season opener. Mangino is trying to get his team in the right mind set heading into a potentially hostile Big 10 crowd at Ryan Field.
"Mentality - you have to have it. There is 100 yards of field out there. They have 11 (players) and we have 11, and no matter where the game is played, you have to execute. Forget about where you are playing, just concentrate on what takes place on the field," Mangino said.
The headman would like to reverse the struggles the Jayhawks endured on the road in the past.
"I believe that in the past we just have not executed like we should have. I believe that we have the mentality that we are going to execute. And we have the confidence and the mentality now to be successful. In the past, I think we lacked that and it kept us from getting over the hump," Mangino said.
Both Kansas and Northwestern have experienced vastly different starts to the season. The Wildcats are 0-2 with losses to Arizona State last week and TCU in week one. Mangino understands that Northwestern is a better team than their record indicates and they are improved from the last time these two teams met.
"They are much more physical than they were last year," Mangino said. "They are bigger and stronger and thicker than they were a year ago. I think the quarterback has gained a great deal of experience, he"s really maturing each year and right now he is playing with a high level of confidence. Their skilled kids are solid as well."
While Kansas is drawing open eyes from around the nation about their unexpected 2-0 start to the season, they still are the underdog heading into Saturday"s game.
"I'm never surprised that we are underdogs. We use it as motivation and we want to go out and prove them wrong," Mangino said.
The Jayhawks will have the chance to start the season 3-0 for the first time in seven years and a win Saturday could increase its chance and becoming the favorite in the upcoming games.