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Archive for Saturday, November 7, 2009

KU vs. KSU Head to head

November 7, 2009

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When Kansas has the ball

Kansas rush offense vs. Kansas State rush defense

The Jayhawks have managed just 144 rushing yards in their past three games combined, as the offensive line has taken a significant step backward. Hobbled running back Jake Sharp (leg) has been unable to regain his early-season form, while the inability of quarterback Todd Reesing (groin) to scramble for yardage has represented a major hindrance to the team’s run game. Kansas State has been marginal against the run this year — giving up 120.6 yards per game on the ground — but unless Kansas performs significantly better than it has in weeks past, it could be a long afternoon.

Edge: Kansas State

Kansas pass offense vs. Kansas State pass defense

KU coach Mark Mangino said senior Todd Reesing will retain his starting quarterback role despite being removed from last week’s loss to Texas Tech. If Reesing can rebound from the roughest stretch of his career — and if the team’s offensive line can give him time to operate — he could be in for a big day. The Wildcats are ranked last in the Big 12 in passing defense, giving up an average of 302 yards per game through the air, and have given up a conference-worst 16 passing touchdowns.

Edge: Kansas

When Kansas State has the ball

Kansas State rush offense vs. Kansas rush defense

Behind running back Daniel Thomas (93.8 rushing yards per game), the Wildcats’ ground attack has been their bread and butter this season. The team is tied for second in the Big 12 in rushing offense, averaging 171 yards per game, and is first in rushing touchdowns with 13. The Kansas defense has certainly improved in the past two weeks — holding the high-powered offenses of Oklahoma and Texas Tech to 337 and 358 yards of total offense, respectively — but is coming off a game in which Texas Tech running back Baron Batch gashed the Jayhawks for 123 yards.

Edge: Kansas State

Kansas State pass offense vs. Kansas pass defense

After swapping quarterbacks throughout the first half of the season, the Wildcats seem to have settled on Grant Gregory, who threw for 174 yards and an interception in last week’s loss to Oklahoma. The senior has an impressive 64.1 completion percentage, but has thrown only three touchdown passes this season (compared to two interceptions). The Jayhawks, meanwhile, have steadily improved against the pass since a midseason breakdown, holding Oklahoma and Texas Tech to respectable pass-yardage totals of 252 and 253 yards.

Edge: Kansas

Special teams

The Jayhawks will have their hands full with KSU return man Brandon Banks, arguably the conference’s best special-teams player this year. For the third time this year, Banks was named the Big 12’s special-teams player of the week this week after piling up 351 all-purpose yards (156 receiving and 195 kick return) against the Sooners. With four kickoff returns for touchdowns, Banks is just one shy of the NCAA single-season record of five.

Kansas, for its part, has struggled mightily to get its kickoff-return game going. The Jayhawks rank 11th in the Big 12 in kick-return yards, though punter Alonso Rojas (third in the conference in punt yardage) and place-kicker Jacob Branstetter (six for his last seven in field-goal attempts) have been bright spots.

Edge: Kansas State

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