37 games. That is the current road game losing streak for Kansas football. There have been plenty of moments for optimism for the Jayhawks throughout the year. They have kept most games close in some fashion, and they even almost upset TCU last weekend in Lawrence. Dealing with Baylor on Saturday, however, is an entirely different animal.
KU comes off a heartbreaking 24-23 loss to TCU where kicker Matthew Wyman had a chance to win it from 54 yards out, but missed the kick wide right. The Jayhawks’ reward for such a close loss? A road matchup in Waco with #11 Baylor and their high powered offense.
After a tumultuous offseason, the Bears have not missed a beat on the field. Seth Russell has returned after fracturing a vertebra in his neck last season and has looked fantastic. Russell has thrown for 1326 yards with 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on the season.
It isn’t just Russell who has been a dangerous offensive threat for Baylor this year. Senior running back Shock Linwood is having an impressive season, rushing for 454 yards and a touchdown on the year. It is clear Baylor relies heavily on their passing attack which once again could actually play into the Jayhawks’ hands.
Last week against the Horned Frogs, KU played their most complete game defensively. TCU quarterback Kenny Hill threw for only 206 yards and had 3 interceptions, both season worsts for him. KU has shown all season they can defend the pass with some success, which could bode well against Baylor. Kansas is 71st in the nation and 5th in the conference in pass defense, allowing an average of 231.8 yards per game, However, the defense probably isn’t the key to watch.
The Kansas offense looked like it was finally hitting its stride last week, but could never really get solid traction. Sophomore quarterback and new starter Ryan Willis threw for 348 yards, but also threw 3 interceptions and lost a fumble. If the Jayhawks want to even be competitive against Baylor on Saturday, the offense has to be able to take care of the ball and put points on the board.
This is going to be a tough fight. KU will need to play their most complete game offensively and defensively, not turn the ball over, and force Baylor to make mistakes. This isn’t an impossible game to win, as they do have a 3.2% chance according to FPI, but it will be difficult.
This may be one of the toughest games possible for KU to end “The Streak,” but now is the time to see if the Jayhawks can pull off what would surely be the biggest upset of the season.