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3 Questions: Kansas at Colorado
1. Will Tyler Hansen cure Colorado's offensive ills?Colorado's sophomore quarterback Tyler Hansen took over for coach's son Cody Hawkins last week.
After four-and-a-half disappointing games, Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins decided to pull the plug on junior quarterback Cody Hawkins and turn to sophomore Tyler Hansen.
The Colorado coach told the Journal-World's Dugan Arnett both quarterbacks would likely play Saturday against KU.
Despite the coach's insistence Cody will play, it seems a changing of the guard has taken place. The Colorado coaching staff would most likely not have pulled Hansen's sophomore-year redshirt without intent to use him frequently for the remainder of the season. And Hawkins' performance — 51-percent accuracy, 102 passer rating — through five games has not been exactly confidence-inspiring.
So what's the scouting report on Hansen?
According to KU's senior safety Darrell Stuckey, the quarterbacks are fairly similar.
Hansen doesn't have much of a statistical record to evaluate, but at first glance he seems to present more of a rushing threat than does Hawkins. In six games in the past two seasons, Hansen has run the ball 68 times for 246 yards. Compare that to Hansen's 70 pass attempts and it's clear rushing is a big part of the California native's game. In limited duty last season and last week, Hansen has posted passing numbers that make Cody Hawkins look like Dan Marino.
No matter Hansen's lack of experience or unimpressive past performance, Colorado needed a change at quarterback. We'll soon find out if the Buffaloes made the right call.
2. Who will claim Kansas' all-time receptions lead?KU's senior receiver Kerry Meier is in a neck-and-neck battle with fellow receiver Dezmon Briscoe for the school's career receptions mark
One reason the rest of KU's season is going to be fun is the back-and-forth battle between receivers Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe for the school's career receptions mark.
Meier currently leads Briscoe by two catches, 167 to 165. Briscoe is a year younger, but Meier spent the early part of his career throwing passes, not catching them.
Briscoe and Meier's nip-and-tuck race to the top of the receiving list really won't have much bearing on how KU does against Colorado. But their matchup could be more compelling than the matchup between the impressive KU offense and the pliable Colorado defense.
Just for fun, here's a breakdown on where Meier and Briscoe each sit in various spots in KU's record book.
• 6th in receiving yards (1,801) • 1st in receptions (167) • 5th in touchdowns (15) • 2nd in 100-yard games (8) • 1st in single-game receptions (16)
• 1st in receiving yards (2,420) • 2nd in receptions (165) • 1st in touchdowns (25) • 1st in 100-receiving yard games (10) • 2nd in single-game receptions (14)
3. Will Rodney Stewart run wild?Colorado's sophomore running back Rodney Stewart could play a key role in whether or not KU's defense can shut down the Buffaloes
After nearly one-and-a-half years, Stewart has racked up 986 career yards from scrimmage. During that same span, Scott has gained 557.
Somewhere along the way, the Colorado coaching staff decided the 5-foot-6, 175-pound Stewart was a better bet in the backfield than the brusing, 215-pound Scott. Scott is now the Buffaloes' kick returner (albeit a good one, averaging 27 yards per return) less than two seasons removed from being regarded as the nation's top high school running back.
So Stewart has to be pretty great, right?
The Ohio native is ultra-fast, with the always-frightening ability to turn a loss into a big gain with a quick cutback. But Stewart hasn't found ways to get loose much this season, averaging just 3.9 yards per carry and 2.8 yards per catch. Last season was a different story, as he gained 4.7 yards per rush and 6.1 yards per reception.
Colorado's problem could be its offensive line. Junior left tackle Nate Solder is the Buffaloes' lone upperclassman up front.
Perhaps because of the line's inexperience, Colorado has surrendered a quarterback sack on approximately six percent of its drop-back pass plays. Compare that to KU's mark of approximately three percent. One has to imagine the same ineffectiveness might be rubbing off on the Colorado run game.
If the Jayhawks contain Stewart on first and second downs and put Colorado in unfavorable down-and-distance situations, the Buffaloes' young quarterback could have a tough time generating first downs.