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James Sims-led rushing attack gives Kansas a shot to make a game of it against Kansas State


Spread the field and run the football. It worked for Kansas against West Virginia and it worked for Oklahoma against Kansas State.

Sometimes, it pays to take the obvious approach. I’ll be shocked if Charlie Weis makes the mistake of thinking that just because K-State knows it’s coming means it’s time to throw a changeup. You know, start Jake Heaps and fire passes all over the field to receivers who have trouble getting open and a tough time catching passes when they are open.

James Sims doesn’t need the surprise element to run effectively with the field spread, true freshman Montell Cozart at quarterback and Kansas State playing without injured run-stopper supreme Ty Zimmerman.

Sims, the only running back in KU history who has rushed for back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons, wraps up an underrated senior year today.

Sims is averaging a career-best 4.9 yards per carry and career-high 24 receptions. Sims needs two rushing touchdowns today to make it four consecutive seasons with nine rushing touchdowns.

After a poor performance a week ago in Ames, Iowa, where he stepped out of bounds a yard in front of the first-down marker and seemed bothered by the extreme cold, Cozart has a chance to show he’s a tough competitor by running more aggressively than he ever has with a Jayhawk on the side of his helmet.

A strong season finale would establish Cozart as the favorite to win the quarterback competition heading into spring football, not that means much. Whichever quarterback performs the best and is seen as the best fit for incoming offensive coordinator/O-line coach John Reagan’s offense in the battle that includes UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard, will win the job.

Still, Cozart can only help his cause with an effort that shows he has the physical toughness and passing accuracy (20 for 56, 3.8 yards per attempt, no touchdown passes so far) to lead a Big 12 team.

The weather.com forecast calls for 7 mph winds and 44 degrees for the 11 a.m. kickoff, which ought to feel plenty comfortable for a game to be played on an ice-free field.

Naturally, Kansas State is favored by a couple of touchdowns and a field goal, in that range.

No player in a Kansas uniform for today’s game has won the state-rivalry game. K-State has won the past four games, the past three by an average score of 58-15.

This one doesn’t feel like that sort of a lopsided game. It’s starting to feel as if KU can make a game of it.


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