When Kansas has the ball
Kansas rush offense vs. Colorado rush defense
Even if Kansas University running back Jake Sharp can’t go today, the Jayhawks have a solid backup in true freshman Toben Opurum. In his two starts this season, he has rushed for a combined 207 yards and two touchdowns against Southern Mississippi and Iowa State and is averaging 83.6 yards per game despite coming off the bench in the team’s first three games. The Buffaloes, meanwhile, are giving up 170.4 yards per game on the ground, 11th in the Big 12, and a conference-worst 4.5 yards per carry.
Kansas pass offense vs. Colorado pass defense
Quarterback Todd Reesing jumped to second in the Big 12 in passing yards per game (315.8) following last week’s career-high 442-yard performance. Receivers Kerry Meier (43 catches, 477 yards, five touchdowns) and Dezmon Briscoe (30 catches, 517 yards, three scores) have emerged as two of the nation’s top receivers this season. Colorado has been decent against the pass this season, ranking sixth in the conference in pass yards allowed per game, but Texas’ Colt McCoy completed 32 of 39 passes last week for 265 yards, and the team has struggled mightily with inexperience thus far.
When Colorado has the ball
Colorado rush offense vs. Kansas rush defense
Behind starting running back Rodney Stewart, the Buffaloes are averaging just 83.4 yards per game on the ground, 112th out of 120 FBS teams. The team averaged just 1.2 yards per carry against the Longhorns and has scored just six rushing touchdowns so far this season.
With the exception of last week’s game, in which they gave up 219 rushing yards, the Jayhawks have been stout against the run, holding teams to just 91.2 yards per game this season. Before the Iowa State game, they had held opponents to just 59.3 yards, third best in the country.
Colorado pass offense vs. Kansas pass defense
The Buffaloes enter today’s game with a unenviable situation at quarterback. Tyler Hansen, who will replace Cody Hawkins as the team’s starter, it was announced last week, completed just three of five passes for 17 yards against Texas and will be seeing his first extensive action since last season. But the Jayhawks are coming off their worst defensive outing of the season, giving up 293 passing yards to Iowa State’s Austen Arnaud and ranking just 118th nationally in pass defense.
The Buffaloes feature two dangerous return men in Darrell Scott (27.2 yards per kick return) and Brian Lockridge (26.6), though kicker Aric Goodman has connected on just four of eight field goals this year. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, rank among the middle of the pack in the Big 12 in kickoff returns and coverage, punt return average and field goals percentage, while lacking a big-time playmaker on special teams. Kicker Jacob Branstetter has hit three of five field-goal attempts this season, but missed an extra point in the first quarter of last week’s game against the Cyclones.