The Kansas Jayhawks are coming to
QB: Sr. Adam Barmann (27 of 37, 280 yds)
should get the start this week in place of injured Fr. Kerry Meier (47 of 87,
538 yds, 6 TDs, 7 INTs). Barmann
has a sharper arm than Meier at this stage, but lacks the athleticism Meier
possesses. Meier is
RB: Starting at RB is Sr. Jon Cornish
(82 carries, 437 yds, 2 TDs).
Cornish had a big day against the Huskers last year, rushing for 101
yards, including a 72 yard TD run.
Cornish has also been a solid receiver this season, catching 12 passes
for 118 yards. Behind Cornish are
Fr. Jake Sharp (10 carries, 63 yds), a heralded
WR/TE: Sr. Brian Murph (17 catches, 174 yds, 1
TD), Jr. Marcus Henry (13 catches, 175 yds, 3 TDs), and So. Dextron Fields (13
catches, 133 yds, 2 TDs) round out the top of the Jayhawk receiving corps. Murph is a burner, as is Fields, while
Henry's 6'4" frame make him a dangerous deep ball threat. So. Marcus Herford (7 catches, 104 yds)
should also be considered a threat at receiver for KU, he is quickly becoming
more important to this offense. At
TE, Jr. Derek Fine (9 catches, 85 yds) has been solid, however, Jr. Marc Jones
started in his place last week.
Jones did not catch a pass against
OL: Starting at the tackle positions will be Sr. Caesar Rodriguez on the left, and So. Anthony Collins on the right. These are tall and lean tackles that have been fairly solid this season in both pass and run protection. At guard will be Sr. Bob Whitaker at left, and Sr. Travis Dambach at right. Whitaker is the biggest man on the line, weighing in at 317 pounds. He has been successful at blowing holes open in opposing defensive fronts this season. Sr. David Ochoa starts at center, and is also a solid performer. This is one of the better lines in the north division of the Big XII, however, has given up 9 sacks thus far in 2006.
The Jayhawk defense is 52nd nationally in total defense (313.25 ypg), 95th pass defense (231.50 ypg), 20th pass efficiency defense (100.56 rating), 21st rush defense (81.75 ypg), and 55th in scoring defense (20.25 ppg). After losing 8 starters from the 2005 defense, KU isn't nearly as solid against the run or pass.
DL: Seniors Paul Como (18 tackles, 3 sacks,
1 FF, 1 FR, 4 QBH, 2 PBU) and Rodney Allen (10 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 PBU) start on
the ends, while Sr. Wayne Wilder (10 tackles, 3 QBH, 1 PBU) and Jr. James
McClinton (8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, 3 QBH) start at tackle. This is an average sized line, averaging
about 6'2", 276 lbs. Opposing
offenses have averaged just 2.9 yards per carry against this front.
LB: So. Mike Rivera (35 tackles, 1 sack, 4 QBH, 4 PBU) starts as middle linebacker, while So. Joe Mortensen (26 tackles, 1 sack, 1 PBU) and Eric Washington (30 tackles, 1 FR, 3 QBH, 1 PBU) start on the outsides. All three are new starters, however, all saw action in nearly every game in 2005. Fr. backup at MLB, Brandon Duncan (7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF) has also had a good showing this season. This group has done a good job at picking up where Kevin Kane, Nick Reid, and Banks Floodman left off last season.
DB: In the defensive backfield, So. Aqib
Talib (8 tackles, 1 INT, 4 PBU) and Jr. Blake Bueltel (14 tackles, 1 QBH, 3 PBU
are expected to start at corner, while Sr. Jerome Kemp (21 tackles, 2 PBU)
starts at SS, and Jr. Sadiq Muhammad (13 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 PBU) starts at
FS. Expect to see a lot of Fr. CB
Anthony Webb (6 tackles, 2 PBU) , So. S Raymond Brown (9 tackles), and Fr. DB
Justin Thornton (13 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU). This is a decent group with Talib being
the top prospect of the bunch. They
will face their biggest test this week against
The Jayhawks special teams have been outstanding in the return game, while the kicking and punting have been slightly shaky.
K: Jr. Scott Webb is 2 for 4 this season in field goals, with a long of 42. 8 of his 22 kickoffs have been touchbacks.
P: So. Kyle Tucker has had a drop-off in production from his 2005 campaign when he averaged 42.9 yards per punt. This season he is averaging 36.9 yards per punt, with 7 of his 17 punts being downed inside the opponents' 20.
KR/PR: So. Marcus Herford has been dominant at kick returner, averaging 30.5 yards per return on 10 returns. At punt returner, Sr. Brian Murph has been a force, averaging 21.8 yards on 5 returns, with one return for touchdown.
Coverage: The Jayhawks opponents are averaging 22.5 yards per kick return (14), and just 5 yards per punt return (5).
QB: Sr. Zac Taylor (63 of 89, 872 yds, 8
TDs, 2 INT) continues his solid 2006 campaign. Zac hasn't had to throw much through
four games, but will likely see a larger role as the season goes along and the
competition stays in game longer than two quarters. Against
RB: So.'s Marlon Lucky (51 carries, 365
yds, 5 TDs) and Cody Glenn (24 carries, 135 yds, 3 TDs) still stand as co-number
ones at running back, however,
Glenn hasn't touched the ball since game two against Nicholls State. Jr.'s Kenny Wilson (62 carries, 291 yds,
3 TDs) and Brandon Jackson (23 carries, 133 yds, 2 TDs) have seen their roles
become larger in his absence, especially in the case of
WR/TE: Jr. Terrence Nunn (14 catches, 209 yds) and So. Nate Swift (6 catches, 125 yds) lead the Huskers' receiving corps. Surprisingly, neither of them has caught a touchdown pass this year. Jr. Frantz Hardy (4 catches, 54 yds, 1 TD) is a threat in the open field, as his agility makes him tough to bring down. Jr. Maurice Purify (5 catches, 134 yards, 1 TD) is a home run hitter, standing at 6'4", 210lb. He will present match-up problems for opposing defenses all season long. So. Todd Peterson (4 catches, 89 yds) is another tall receiver that rarely drops a ball. At TE, Sr. Matt Herian (8 catches, 135 yds, 2 TDs) has played well through four games after a year and a half away due to a broken leg. Jr. J.B. Phillips (7 catches, 41 yds, 2 TDs) is a solid second option at tight end, seeing most of the action last week as Herian did not catch a pass.
After playing four games, the Blackshirts rank 21st
nationally in total defense (257.75 ypg), 17th pass defense (146.75 ypg), 47th
pass efficiency defense (116.15 rating), 49th rush defense (111 ypg), and 15th
in scoring defense (11.25 ppg). The
Husker defense played an inspired game against
LB: Starting at MLB is Jr. Corey McKeon (21 tackles, 1 FR, 1 PBU). On the outside, Jr. Bo Ruud (18 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF) starts at weak side, with Jr. Steve Octavien (9 tackles) backing him up, while Sr. Stewart Bradley (21 tackles, 1 FF, 2 FRs, 1 PBU, 1 QBH) starts on the strong side. Back-up Jr. Lance Brandenburgh (5 tackles) has looked good filling in at all three linebacker positions when needed. This is an excellent crew that has great ball hawkers.
DB: Jr. Cortney Grixby (17 tackles, 2 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR) is a three year starter at WCB, while Jr. Andre Jones (12 tackles, 2 PBU) will be starting his fifth game at SCB after transferring from the JUCO ranks. Grixby has typically been picked on because of his 5'9" frame, which this season has worked in teams' favors if they possess a 6'4"-plus type receiver. Jones is a big, physical, cover corner that has done well in making a clean transition from JUCO to 1A football. Aside from having trouble covering the all-American caliber wide outs of USC, the corners have been solid. At safety is Jr. Tierre Green (21 tackles) at SS and Sr. Andrew Shanle (12 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 QBH) starts at FS. True freshmen Major Culbert (1 tackle) and Rickey Thenarse (2 tackles) are starting to get experience, moving up and around in the depth chart. Depth is a big concern as injuries have left the defensive backfield bare.
K: So. Jordan Congdon is 1 for 2 on field goals, with a long of 38. On kickoffs, he averages just 55.8 yards on 24 attempts (1 touchback), while So. Jake Wesch has four kickoffs for a 60 yard average. Failing to get kickoffs through the endzone will give opponents an immediate advantage in field position.
P: So. Dan Titchener has been fairly solid through four games. He is averaging 39.4 yards on 11 punts with a long of 53, having 3 punts downed inside the opponents' 20. He has also thrown a pass on a fake punt for a 28 yard gain.
KR/PR: Jr. Tierre Green has returned three kickoffs for an average of 19.7 yards, while Jr. Kenny Wilson looked impressive on his sole return, taking it for 27 yards. Jr. Terrence Nunn is averaging 8.2 yards on 13 punt returns. So. Nate Swift has returned 2 punts for an average of 24.5 yards. Nunn tends to catch punts with his body, which has resulted in ball handling problems on the returns. He can be explosive, but not if he doesn't hold on to the ball.
Coverage: So far the coverage team has been solid
Keys to the Game
1.) Shut down RB Cornish.
2.) Score early, don't leave the door open for KU.
3.) Establish ground game, creating openings on passing downs.
4.) Depending on QB - Barmann: blitz him to force mistakes. Meier: disguise blitzes, confuse him, forcing mistakes.
5.) Minimize "stupid" penalties. Penalties are killing drives for this team.
1.) No turnovers.
2.) Cannot get into a hole.
3.) Continue rush defense success.
4.) Must get takeaways.
5.) Eliminate penalties.
Latest Line -
Special Teams: Even
CB - Zack Bowman - knee - out for season
CB - Isaiah Fluellen - knee - out for season
MLB - Phillip Dillard - knee - out for season
OLB - Nick Covey - knee - out for season
C - Kurt Mann - virus - out indefinitely
QB - Kerry Meier - shoulder - questionable
DE - John McCoy - suspension - questionable
DB - Darrell Stuckey - ankle - questionable
S - James Holt - leg - out indefinitely
Game Breakdown & Prediction
40-15 was awfully sweet for the Jayhawk faithful in
40-15 was awfully bitter for the Husker faithful in
After that fateful day in November of 2005,
Coming into Saturday, the media has been making much of
the revenge factor the Huskers may be looking for this weekend against the
Jayhawks. The coaches and team have
denied it playing any role, as they are looking at it as just another game. They were embarrassed by their play last
season, as they never really seemed to look alive against the Jayhawks. The truth is that this is a game
No one wants to start (0-1) in conference play, so I