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Saturday, September 5, 2009

KU vs. UNC: Head to head

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When Kansas has the ball

Kansas rush offense vs. UNC rush defense

The Jayhawks struggled to run the ball at times last season (83rd in the country in rushing offense), and their offensive line features a slew of new players. But this year, Jake Sharp knows he’s the No. 1 option in the backfield. Last year, Angus Quigley and Jocques Crawford cut into Sharp’s playing time in the nonconference schedule. Quigley switched positions to linebacker, and Crawford is no longer with the team. Kansas should be able to run with Sharp, Toben Opurum and Rell Lewis against a Northern Colorado defense that was respectable last year (39th in the nation among Championship Subdivision teams at 132.27 rushing yards given up per game). But the Bears aren’t used to seeing Bowl Subdivision teams on a weekly basis.

Edge: Kansas

Kansas pass offense vs. UNC pass defense

If there’s a glaring advantage for Kansas, it comes in this category. Passing is the Jayhawks’ strength, while defending the pass could be the Bears’ weakness. UNC gave up an average of 265.09 passing yards per game last year, which ranked sixth-worst among Championship Subdivision teams. Safety Max Hewitt is a name to keep an eye on for Northern Colorado, but expect a monster day from Todd Reesing, Dezmon Briscoe, Kerry Meier and Johnathan Wilson. It could also be a chance for KU freshman receiver Bradley McDougald to crash the scene and display the talent that has coaches raving.

Edge: Kansas

When N. Colorado has the ball

UNC rush offense vs. Kansas rush defense

Northern Colorado had difficulties running the ball last season (81st in country). Their primary ball-carrier graduated, and Andre Harris is expected to get the most calls out of the backfield. Harris, a juco transfer from El Camino (Calif.) Community College, rushed for 312 yards and eight scores last season. Kansas ranked 28th in the nation in rush defense last season (123.08 yards given up per game), but that number could be skewed a bit since most offenses in the Big 12 air it out. Still, the Jayhawks shouldn’t have a problem in this area today.

Edge: Kansas

UNC pass offense vs. Kansas pass defense

The Bears passed with effectiveness last year, averaging 245.09 passing yards per game, good for 21st in the country. UNC senior quarterback Bryan Waggener, a transfer from Florida who was a fourth-stringer behind Tim Tebow two seasons ago, leads the Bears’ aerial attack. If Kansas has a weakness, it’s defending the pass. The Jayhawks were sixth-worst in the country last year. They figure to be better this year. It’s tough to give Northern Colorado, coming off a 1-10 campaign, the edge here.

Edge: Kansas

Special teams

KU coach Mark Mangino made the decision before the season to put standout receiver Briscoe at kick returner. Briscoe returned only eight kickoffs last year, but he averaged an effective 27.4 yards per return. Patterson averaged 11 yards per punt return last year and should only improve in his sophomore year. Junior place-kicker Jacob Branstetter is solid. He made nine of 12 field-goal tries and converted 51 of 52 extra points last season.

Edge: Kansas

Comments

gardenjay 10 years, 4 months ago

Being a stalwart KU fan over the years has meant being able to root for the underdog, and at the start of the season these days I just do not know what to do. I spent all my energy in anticipation of this game I cannot go to, so I will just give my best to all the wonderful fans who will fill the stadium tomorrow. I hope you have some good stories tomorrow night.

Also, best of luck Northern Colorado, we are not rooting for you but we hope that you have a fun game as well and enjoy your time in Lawrence as well. If you get a chance, be sure to visit Mass Street, and see what you think of Buffalo Bob's. I can smell it in my mind....also, Sylas and Maddies is a great ice cream parlor. I wish I was there, Fall is so pretty this time of year there.

I have had this beer sitting on the counter for months, and will drink it tomorrow around game time. Does that count? Good luck team; GO KU!

Kent Wells 10 years, 4 months ago

Prediction: 63-3, KU

Yahoo the day is here!

waywardJay 10 years, 4 months ago

I said 59-10 at work yesterday im sticking with it.....

ku_tailg8 10 years, 4 months ago

Hopefully the student section doesn't drop F-bombs on the opening kickoff.

JBurtin 10 years, 4 months ago

Hope in one hand and crap in the other.

See which one fills up first.

worrynotjhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Hopefully the student section drops the F-bomb for kickoffs more than 7 times.

Can't wait. Rock Chalk.

kraus42 10 years, 4 months ago

Can't get the game on satelite...anyone know of an online link?

Michael Pannacciulli 10 years, 4 months ago

i'm hoping for an online link suggestion too. hard being a jayhawk in NJ sometimes.

Dustin Engelken 10 years, 4 months ago

If you have Comcast in Jersey they offer a sports package for a few bucks a month that includes all the channels you need for the season. I don't know if I'll get all the games but it should be close.

Anyone else want to see a shut out? I'm not worried about the offense, its the defense that needs to step up if we're going to have a big season and it can start tonight.

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 4 months ago

<p>Foxcollegesports.com is supposed to be carrying it live in conjunction with Phog.net. You have to register, but it's free. I've already registered and will check in at game time to see if it's really there.

Michael Pannacciulli 10 years, 4 months ago

i dont see the game unfortunately on foxcolegesports.com

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