Kansas City, Mo. Kansas University will turn to a Missouri native at quarterback today as the Jayhawks attempt to finish their season a high note by knocking off 15th-ranked Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium.
After missing most of the past four games because of a shoulder injury, red-shirt freshman Jordan Webb again will line up behind center for the Jayhawks today.
Webb, KU’s starter for six weeks earlier in the season, replaces junior Quinn Mecham, who filled in for the Union, Mo., native while he was injured.
Webb’s return puts a memorable touch on a rough first season for Webb and the Jayhawks under first-year coach Turner Gill.
“I never really took sides in the rivalry,” said Webb, whose hometown is more than 90 percent pro-Mizzou. “All my friends and family are going to be able to watch the game so it will be really cool. I mean, all of my friends have been talking about this game for a really long time, and everybody is really excited about it.”
Despite that subplot and the fact that this year’s Border War remains heated in spite of the current status of both programs, Webb said he did not plan to take the field with something to prove.
“This game is about a lot more than me,” he said. “It is a huge event for the state and the university. For me personally, it is just a huge game and a must win.”
Webb (114-194 for 1,150 yards and seven TDs) needs just 66 yards passing to break KU’s freshman passing yardage record, which currently belongs to Mario Kinsey, who threw for 1,215 yards in 2001.
KU keys to the game
Gill said Tuesday that he and his staff had identified a couple of key areas that might help his team compete better against the Tigers.
The first is one that has been on Gill’s mind for weeks: KU must win the turnover battle. The Tigers are plus-10 on the season, while the Jayhawks are a minus-seven.
“That stat right there says it alone,” Gill said. “It’s probably been the difference of this season for both teams.”
The second key factor Gill pointed out has flown somewhat under the radar.
“As we have looked back at the 11 games that we’ve played, the one common denominator is, in the three games we’ve won, James Sims has had over 100 yards in all three of those games,” Gill said. “So that’s something that we’ve seen that has pushed us forward to get W’s. We’ll see if we can get that done.”