A year later in 2010, KU (2-2) starts fresh and begins Big 12 play at Baylor (3-1) on Saturday with high hopes of making a strong run and competing for a conference championship.
Kickoff at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas, is 11 a.m. (CT) on FSN.
"I'm excited to start playing all the Big 12 teams," KU junior receiver
Daymond Patterson said. "When conference (play) starts, it's like a new
season is starting. You get a chance to get ready to get the wins in
conference and try and fight for that Big 12 North title and try and
make it to that Big 12 Championship. The excitement level does rise.
You go out to every game being excited and being confident but I think
when conference (play) comes you turn it up a level."
The Jayhawks look to "turn it up a level" against Baylor, which is off
to a fine start and loaded with playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Like Kansas, the Bears are coming off their best showing this season
last Saturday in a 30-13 victory over Rice. Baylor racked up 456 total
yards, while limiting the Owls to 296 yards. BU posted three sacks and
forced two turnovers as well.
The Bears also have wins this year over Sam Houston State (34-3) and
Buffalo (34-6), while losing their only game at TCU, 45-10, on Sept. 18.
KU, meanwhile, is looking to win consecutive games for the first time
this season after an impressive 42-16 victory last Saturday over New Mexico State. The Jayhawks will be searching for their first Big 12
victory since beating Iowa State last year on Oct. 10 and also aiming
for their their first conference road win in seven tries. KU's last Big
12 road victory also came against the Cyclones, a 35-33 thriller in
Kansas coach Turner Gill knows his team will be severely tested in
their conference opener at Waco. Baylor, which hasn't won a Big 12 home
opener since 2006, features star dual-threat quarterback Robert Griffin
III, who spearheads the Bears' spread offense. Griffin had his best
game this season against Rice, completing 20 of 28 passes for 268 yards
and three touchdowns. The sophomore is also an explosive runner; he's
already rushed for over 1,000 yards during his young career and is the
only 1,000-yard rushing quarterback in BU history. Griffin, who needs
just one more rushing touchdown to become Baylor's quarterback career
leader with 19, is also BU's career leader in touchdown
responsibilities with 45 pass/rush TDs.
The Jayhawks must contain him in a similar manner as they did standout
Georgia Tech QB Joshua Nesbitt in KU's 28-25 victory on Sept. 11.
"You have to have a lot of people around the ball," Gill said. "They're
going to try and get (Griffin) in a situation where he is one-on-one
with somebody, and I'd say that more times than not, he's going to win
that battle on-on-one. We have to try and prevent him from having that
opportunity. We have to have at least two, three or four guys around
the ball and make tackles. When we have an opportunity to make that
tackle, we need to make (it)."
Gill stressed that tackling their "whole football team" will be a
critical key to the game.
"I think this team has some good, skilled people," Gill said. "I think
this game is going to give our guys a good opportunity to make some
good open field tackles."
In addition to Griffin, head coach Art Briles' Bears feature an
1,000-yard career rusher in senior Jay Finley and All-Big 12 wide
receiver named Kendall Wright. He had seven receptions for 106 yards
against Rice, including a 40-yard TD.
Defensively, Baylor is led by senior safety Byron Landor, who's
recorded 33 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, three pass breakups and one
fumble recovery. BU has allowed just 7.3 points per game, five field
goals and one touchdown in its three wins this year.
"That tells me something about some things they are doing defensively,
so we're going to definitely have to be very, very efficient on our
offensive side of the ball," Gill said.
Another big key for Kansas will be holding Baylor under 30 points. BU
is 3-0 this season when scoring at least 30 points, and 0-1 when
scoring under 30.
KU defensive coordinator Carl Torbush said Baylor's offensive talent
reminds him of potent Southern Mississippi. The Golden Eagles beat KU,
31-16, on Sept. 17.
"They have the same type of people that Southern Mississippi had in the
skill positions and that is something we need to make sure everybody
understands. I thought Southern Mississippi had excellent people in the
skill positions," Torbush said. "Baylor's offensive line is a very
physical, nasty bunch and they will get after you. I have known Coach
Briles and his offense for a long time and they will spread you out and
move you around and try to keep you off-kilter with a multitude of
things. But we need to go back and stop good football players from
making big plays."
KU, which is ranked No. 5 in the nation in pass defense, seems up for
"As a group, if each of us takes care of our responsibility, we will be
OK," senior safety Olatian Oguntodu said.
The Jayhawks, who have 38 players from Texas, would certainly like to
make a great showing in the Lone Star State at Baylor. It didn't
work out the last time in Waco, when KU fell to BU, 36-35, in 2006
despite leading by 18 points less than 10 minutes remaining in the
But that's the past and Saturday is the present. A victory will help
recruiting in Texas, and most important, give the team a great road win
as they look to move on and win a Big 12 North title and conference
"Winning the conference is just like everyone else, that's a goal of
ours and this is our first step to get the opportunity to do that,"
Jayhawks Open Big 12 Play in Waco
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