Bits and Bytes: WVU - Kansas

Our last items of import as West Virginia looks to even its Big 12 football conference record against Kansas


Kansas is famous for its “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk” cheer. To what do the first two words of the chant refer?


While Kansas recently fell under the .500 mark in all-time football winning percentage, it has been quite successful on Oct. 4. Kansas is 14-3 all-time in games played on that date, including the last five in a row. Most recently, the Jayhawks nabbed a 35-33 win at Iowa State in 2008, which marks the last time KU won a Big 12 Conference road game. Kansas hosted Abilene College on Oct. 4 1896 in the first game played on this date in KU history, winning 6-0.


Over the past couple of years, early Mountaineer opponents have had very good success in converting field goal attempts. Last year, the trend did even out over the course of the season, with opponents finishing with a 21 for 29 mark, but this year the September foes are off and running again. Through four games, opponents are a perfect 8-8 on placekicks.


With the announcement that next week's game against Texas Tech will be televised on Fox Sports 1, WVU will play its first six games on six different networks. ABC, Root Sports, Big Ten Network, Fox, Fox Sports Net and Fox Sports 1 make up West Virginia's broadcast retinue over the first half of the year.


West Virginia's Nick O'Toole and Kansas' Trevor Pardula are two of the top punters in the league, and each will be fighting on Saturday to give his team an advantage in the hidden yardage category of net punting. That's not the only face-off they will have, however.

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Both punters feature catch nicknames that serve to heighten the appreciation they receive as outstanding booters of the ball. O'Toole's "Boomstache" moniker was established early in his Mountaineer career, owing to his impressive array of facial growths that have ranged from 1980s Tom Selleck homages to a Rollie Fingers/Snidely Whiplash curlicue look. Pardula, aided by the KU sports information office, has been tagged "#Legatron" -- one of two Transformers takes in the Big 12 in recent seasons. (Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was labeled "Optimus Klein" for his imposing physical presence.)


West Virginia has given up just a pair of field goals in the first quarter this year, while scoring 34 of their own. That advatnage melts away in the second, though, where the Mountaineers have yielded 58 points – the most of any quarter this year. In fact, WVU has surrendered more points in that quarter than the other three combined.

While it might be tough to draw any conclusions from this, it would seem to work against the theory that the West Virginia defense is wearing down as the game goes on. Putting a finger on the exact cause of the second quarter explosion is a bit more difficult.


According to the University's website, “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” morphed from the originial Rah Rah Jayhawk, which was first coined in 1886, and singularly lacking in creativity. That was fixed however, with the substitution of “Rock Chalk”, which refers to the chalk rock limestone outcroppings that are present in Mount Oread, where the school is located.

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