Archive for Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tale of the tape: KU vs. Texas A&M

November 19, 2011

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When Kansas has the ball

Kansas rush offense vs. Texas A&M rush defense

With 296 yards rushing on 64 carries against Baylor last week, the Jayhawks got their rushing game going again. Repeating that feat won’t easy against Texas A&M’s front seven this week, but the Jayhawks should find some success. Freshman Darrian Miller’s 147 yards against BU were the most by a KU rookie since 2003. In getting there, Miller received a season-high for carries (24) and a first-team mention on this week’s depth chart. Miller and sophomore James Sims are listed as co-starters. Add to their presence the big-play potential of Tony Pierson and you’re looking at an attack that should continue to be tough to stop.

Edge: Kansas.

Kansas pass offense vs. Texas A&M pass defense

While the Aggies give up an average of more than 300 yards through the air each week, they’re also known to make life miserable for opposing QBs. Much like Texas, which blitzed about 50 percent of the time and shut out KU, 43-0, the Aggies are known to bring pressure all game and make things uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks. For the Jayhawks, that could spell trouble. Although QB Jordan Webb continues to show improvement from last season, he has leveled off after a hot start.

Edge: Texas A&M.

When Texas A&M has the ball

Texas A&M rush offense vs. Kansas rush defense

Think Darrian Miller with more size and experience. That’s who Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman has running the ball in senior tailback Cyrus Gray. So far this season, Gray has rushed for 951 yards and nine TDs on 189 carries. Gray’s average of 5 yards-per-carry came while splitting time with junior Christine Michael (899 yards, 8 TDs, 149 carries). With Michael out for the season because of injury, the load has fallen squarely on Gray’s shoulders. It doesn’t appear that he minds much. Last week, in a 53-50, quadruple-overtime loss at Kansas State, Gray ran 30 times for 218 yards and two TDs.

Edge: Texas A&M.

Texas A&M pass offense vs. Kansas pass defense

When the season began, senior quarterback Ryan Tannehill looked to be the player who was ready for a breakthrough performance. Everyone knew about Big 12 stars Robert Griffin III, Brandon Weeden and Landry Jones, and many expected that we’d soon talk about Tannehill in that same breath. So far, we haven’t, but that’s mostly been because of the Aggies’ bad luck in the win-loss column. While A&M has dropped four of its five losses by a combined 14 points, Tannehill has completed 62.4 percent of his passes and thrown for 2,911 yards, 23 TDs and 11 interceptions. He has great size, can make all the throws and relies on a deep and talented group of receivers to help him.

Edge: Texas A&M.

Special teams

Neither team has a return touchdown yet this season, and the Jayhawks’ average of 18.8 yards per return is slightly higher than that of A&M, which averages 16.1 yards per return. Both are solid in punting (KU ranks 4th in the league and A&M ranks 5th), but A&M gets the edge because of its place kicking. Not only is Aggies kicker Randy Bullock a senior, he also has made 20 of 24 field goal attempts this season, compared with a 5-for-10 clip by Kansas. Bullock’s longest field goal of the season was 47 yards, and he’s made 9 of 12 from 40 yards and beyond.

Edge: Texas A&M.

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