PREVIEW: Kansas looks for third straight as Big 12 play begins

Lawrence, KS – Last week, the KU football program won two games in a row for the first time since 2011. This week, Kansas looks to extend their winning streak to three games for the first time since the start of the 2009 season. However, Kansas can no longer lean on weak non-conference teams to help them out. From here on out, the Jayhawks play Big 12 opponents, so each game is going to be difficult in its own right.

This week though, the focus is on the Baylor Bears. The Jayhawks and Bears are coming off completely opposite performances. KU is coming off a 55-14 rout of Rutgers, where the defense truly shined. Meanwhile, Baylor is coming off of a 13-point home loss against Duke, which they hope to forget with a big game against Kansas. With both teams going into the game with a 2-1 record, Saturday should be a hard-fought game with each team wanting to start conference play at 1-0.

Expect the Baylor offense versus the Kansas defense to be where the game is decided. The Jayhawks have the best turnover margin in the country right now at plus-12, with a total of 13 turnovers. With seven interceptions over the last two weeks, look for Kansas to focus on stopping the run once again, and hope the secondary can make plays when it has to. Stopping the run should prove to be no issue for the Jayhawks, as the Bear’s running attack was held to just 130 yards last week against Duke, which has only been OK at stopping the run this season. However, the Jayhawks will need to keep whoever is playing QB for Baylor contained. Both senior QB Jalan McClendon and sophomore QB Charlie Brewer can run the football, combining for 83 yards and two touchdowns, as well as being the first and second leading rusher for the Bears last week, respectively.

When it comes to the Jayhawk offense versus the Bears defense, look for Kansas to move the ball around and get it to the hands of their playmakers. Even though senior quarterback Peyton Bender has been named the starter, expect sophomore QB Miles Kendrick to get plenty of playing time. The Baylor defense allowed a total of 83 rushing yards to Duke’s QB, look for a mobile guy like Kendrick to do the same. Once again, freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr. lit up the scoreboard last week, rushing for a productive 158 yards and a touchdown. Look for Williams to once again receive touches, and a lot of them, to wear down Baylor’s defense.

Going on the road, Kansas is a touchdown underdog against this Baylor team. However, the game should be a very close affair, with the game being decided in the fourth quarter or overtime. If the Jayhawks’ defense can play at the same level they’ve been playing at and create some turnovers to give the offense a short field, the Jayhawks will walk out of Waco with a victory .

Featured image courtesy of Kansas Athletics

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