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Preview: Jayhawks look for first Big 12 win against Baylor

Coming off a disappointing loss in the Sunflower Showdown last week, the Kansas Jayhawks are coming into Saturday’s game against the Baylor Bears hopeful to get only their second win of this 2017 season.

The Jayhawks are riding a seven-game losing streak which includes last week’s 30-20 loss against the Wildcats of K-State. The defense allowed Wildcat running back Alex Barnes to rush for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns, on the other hand they did however hold the Wildcat starting QB Alex Delton to just 4 of 7 for 98 yards passing. Furthermore, the majority of K-State’s drives began in KU territory due to bad special teams play, but the Jayhawks were kept in the game by Carter Stanley. In his first start of the season, he threw for over 400 yards and a touchdown.

Baylor is coming off a 38-7 thumping handed to them by Texas. The Bears just didn’t look great as starting QB Zach Smith threw an interception on the third play from scrimmage that Texas proceeded to take all the way to the house for a 43-yard pick six. Smith was subsequently benched most of the game following the drive and Bears freshman Charlie Brewer took over the offense. The Bears really did look like an 0-8 team in this game.

 

Head-to Head

Coming into Saturday’s game Baylor is leading the all-time series 12-4, also having won the last seven match-ups between the two schools. The Jayhawks must be looking at this game as trying to even out the all-time series but more importantly getting another win in the books as the 2017 season begins to wrap up.

 

Baylor

The Bears are coming to Lawrence on Saturday bring their 0-8 record with them. The team has had troubles with their identity not knowing exactly how they would like to run their offense.

Their starting QB Zach Smith will not suit up for Saturdays game which is a blow to the Bears offense. Smith, who is a more traditional pocket passer, has 1,458 yards passing as well as eight touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season. They will have freshman Charlie Brewer start the game who is more of a triple-option, option QB. The Bears are however tied for second nationally with 15 40+ yard passing plays which will work in their favor against a KU secondary that has been suspect all season.

If the Bears can get the QB situation sorter they do have offensive weapons at their disposal like wide receiver Denzel Mims who is tied for second among FBS players with four 40+ yard catches this season. Mims is coming to Lawrence sitting at 727 yards receiving and seven touchdowns on the season. Mims’ 727 yards receiving is almost three-times as many as any other Bears wide out, he truly is their go-to guy on offense. In the rushing game Baylor has been led by John Lovett who has 405 yards rushing and five touchdowns on the season.

 

Kansas

The Jayhawks head into Saturday’s game hoping to improve on their season which has been disappointing thus far to say the least. The offense will be led by Sophomore QB Carter Stanley this week who hopes to prove himself as the starter moving forward the remainder of the season.

Stanley is coming into the game with 562 yards passing and one touchdown this season. Most of that number came from last week’s loss against K-State in which Stanley threw for 418 yards passing as well as a touchdown and an interception.

KU is led in rushing by running back Khalil Herbert who has amassed 544 yards rushing as well as four touchdowns. Herbert has been a bright point of the Jayhawk’s offense this season having several games in which he had several nice days rushing the ball. However, Herbert has been trending downwards having his best games come earlier this season. His last few outings have been lackluster including the K-State loss in which he carried the ball 12 times but only managed 33 yards rushing.

As of late the high point of KU’s offense has been Steven Sims Jr. who has hauled in 32 catches for 637 yards and four touchdowns this season. Sims has given Jayhawk fans something to cheer for lately in a time where there hasn’t been much to cheer about. Sims has made several big plays for the Hawks so far, this season including several highlight-reel catches that were very impressive indeed.

 

Prediction

Kansas gets it second win of the year and ends Baylor’s 7-games winning streak.

Final Score: Kansas 28, Baylor 21

 

Players to watch

Baylor

Denzel Mims, WR (6-3, 197, SO)- 38 receptions, 727 yards, 7 touchdowns.

Charlie Brewer, QB (6-1, 190 FR)- 28/47, 331 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception.

Kansas

Carter Stanley, QB (6-2, 196, R-FR)- 38/76, 562 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions.

Steven Sims Jr., WR (5-10, 176, JR)- 32 receptions, 637 yards, 4 touchdowns.

 

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