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Saturday, September 12, 2009

KU vs. UTEP Head to head

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When Kansas has the ball

KU run offense vs. UTEP run defense

The Kansas running game left little to be desired in a season-opening thumping of Northern Colorado, rolling up 300-plus yards for the first time since 2001. Senior running back Jake Sharp led the way with 123 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and true freshman Toben Opurum looked equally promising, tallying 79 yards and two scores in his first collegiate game. With the recently implemented “pistol” formation, which is used to take advantage of running back Sharp’s skill set, the Jayhawks’ offense also presents a new challenge for opposing defenses.

Edge: Kansas

KU pass offense vs. UTEP pass defense

Although KU quarterback Todd Reesing threw only 20 passes against UNC, he made the most of his opportunities. The senior completed 13 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns before leaving early in the fourth quarter. The return this week of preseason All-Big 12 receiver Dezmon Briscoe should boost the Jayhawks’ pass attack, and the emergence of true freshman Bradley McDougald (two catches, 49 yards) bodes well for a unit many expect to be the team’s bread and butter this fall.

For their part, the Miners are trying to improve upon a pass defense that ranked 112th in the nation last season.

Edge: Kansas

When UTEP has the ball

UTEP rush offense vs. KU rush defense

UTEP running back Donald Buckram impressed Kansas coaches by carrying the ball 14 times for 108 yards — a 7.7 yards-per-carry average — and helping supplement the Miners’ traditionally strong passing game last week. He’ll likely handle much of the ground load today and has the benefit of playing behind a talented offensive line. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, surrendered just 74 rushing yards to UNC, and although they did give up runs of 18, 17, 15 and 13 yards and are still in the process of working in a new group of linebackers, they are coming off a season in which they ranked fourth in the Big 12 at stopping the run.

Edge: Kansas

UTEP pass offense vs. KU pass defense

The Jayhawks’ secondary looked good in its first outing last week — helping to hold UNC to just 172 passing yards — but figures to face a much greater challenge against the Miners. Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe — who finished with 3,274 passing yards and 33 touchdowns last season — will be throwing to a pair of standout receivers in Jeff Moturi and Kris Adams, a duo that has combined for 36 career touchdown receptions. Vittatoe, a junior, also showed an ability to spread the ball around, connecting with nine receivers and tossing a game-tying touchdown in the final moments that was eventually negated due to a penalty.

Edge: UTEP

Special teams

After sitting out last week’s game due to a suspension, Briscoe returns to field kickoffs for the Jayhawks. The receiver made a splash late last season during the final two games of the year, averaging 27.4 yards per return, and KU coach Mark Mangino has made a point of shoring up the team’s special-teams issues from a season ago. Place-kicker Jacob Branstetter’s services weren’t required last week in any capacity but extra points, but the junior could be counted on this time around. UTEP’s Moturi worked as both a kick and punt returner last week, and is listed at both positions on the team’s most recent depth chart.

Edge: Kansas

Comments

MNHawk23 11 years, 2 months ago

i think an early interception preferably returned for a TD would do a TON in giving our defense momentum not only for the game but for the rest of the season. i think we have plenty of talent we just need some confidence. if we can win this game by 21+ points which is very possible i think it will give the entire team some strong momentum.

KGphoto 11 years, 2 months ago

Whoa. I'm assuming this article is unfinished at best.

Who's opinions are these? Because I have to say, there is no F'n way that UTEP has the advantage against Stuckey, Patterson, Thornton, Harris, Laptad etc. I know it's difficult to give Kansas the advantage in every category, and UTEP likes the pass. But Stuckey alone might eat them alive.

UTEP pass vs. KU pass defense. advantage: KU

KU has the advantage in every category you could conjure. Let's not start creating back-door excuses for a trap game. We out-man UTEP at every position on the field, and anything shy of another blowout will be a terrible disappointment and a statement as to the status of the program.

Personally, I'm not worried. We are far better than UTEP and will leave no doubt about that.

Dirk Medema 11 years, 2 months ago

KG - UTEP passed for over 3k yds last year, and we had one of the worst D's against the pass (90th?), so there is some validity to the eval.

It is worth mentioning tho the difference in opposition. A chunk of KU's '08 pass D rating came as a result of thrashings by OU, UT, TTech, and even MU, NU, USF didn't help much. I'm not sure UTEP's pass O is in that category. Anyone know how KU pass D would have faired without the big 3 yardage?

Dirk Medema 11 years, 2 months ago

KU ('08) avg'd 273 py/g (114th) and were victimized by: OU - 468 MU - 391 TT - 386 USF - 338 NU - 324 and even Sam Houston State (Rhett Bomar) - 340 UT only had 255

Removing the big 3 (outliers?) leaves a pass D giving up 230 in the other 10 games, but that only raises us to the 87th best Pass D. That's still well below UTEP's '08 Pass O ranking of 14th.

Robert Brock 11 years, 2 months ago

I would be pleased if the Hawks could put some pressure on the UTEP quarterback. Let's see if the pass rush can cut it.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 2 months ago

Briscoe's back?!! This game is in the bag!

truefan 11 years, 2 months ago

I won't say this game is in the bag until the clock hits zero in the 4th quarter and KU has officially won the game. I expect KU to win and win big, but I always get nervous when my team plays on the road against a good passing offense. I think we'll see more stunting by our D line today and that should put some pressure on their QB to help out the secondary. I believe KU has a big edge in most categories, but the pass D needs to keep improving if they want to stop UTEP's spread offense.

Key to the game: strike early and often until UTEP gives up.

beakem_in_LA 11 years, 2 months ago

Don't forget that Vittatoe can run, too. When we do get pressure and an opportunity to sack him, it's important that we capitalize and don't let him get out in the open field.

As an aside, I live in El Paso (I'll admit my screenname needs updating), and from talking to people around here-- their own fans-- all week and even leading up to the season, they don't have much confidence in their team. The local paper had them (UTEP) losing by something like 3 touchdowns in the "season outlook." I think it was 54-33 Kansas if I'm not mistaken.

Bottom line: Kansas should win going away.

mbmerriman 11 years, 2 months ago

is this game on any channel besides cbs college sports in lawrence?

bradt1719 11 years, 2 months ago

KGphoto - agreed, our pass D should put a good stop to their pass. UTEP stepped it up in the 2nd half of their loss at home but they still loss, whether it was a hold or incomplete pass. and im VERY interested to see what their secondary does with our passing game. with N Colorado taking 7 or 8 back let jake and todd (and Kale =) ) run all over them. 2 hours baby! rock chalk!

kutodd 11 years, 2 months ago

Can anyone help with a link to watch this game online. I cannot watch this on TV in Tennessee. Please Help!!!! Thanks and go jayhawks!

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