Kansas rush offense vs. Baylor rush defense
The Jayhawks are coming off another 100-yard game from true freshman James Sims and also showed a new wrinkle in getting sophomore wide receiver D.J. Beshears meaningful carries. Combine those two contrasting styles with the spot carries given to red-shirt freshman Deshaun Sands, and the Jayhawks have proven that they have multiple threats in the running game. The key for Kansas will be if the offensive line can perform up to par, the way it did against New Mexico State and also against Georgia Tech in Week 2.
Kansas pass offense vs. Baylor pass defense
Baylor’s cornerbacks have proven to be outstanding in deep coverage and not so outstanding in the short passing game. That could work to KU’s favor, as the Jayhawks have shown a real passion for the short routes and getting the ball to guys like Daymond Patterson and Beshears as quickly as possible. That said, the KU passing game has been too inconsistent to get the edge here and also has shown very little down the field. KU coach Turner Gill and offensive coordinator Chuck Long have talked about emphasizing the deep ball more, and the Jayhawks showed signs of that in last week’s win against New Mexico State.
Baylor rush offense vs. Kansas rush defense
If the KU defense has been solid in one area this season, it has been against the run. Though the Jayhawks surrendered big-time yardage totals to Georgia Tech, they took the then-15th-ranked Yellow Jackets out of their game offensively, and that allowed KU to pull off the upset. The KU linebackers are sound in their assignments and hit hard when they get to the ball. The front four also have done a fair job against the run, particularly against anything up the middle. Baylor’s offense is all about quarterback Robert Griffin and his ability to beat teams with his arm and his legs.
Baylor pass offense vs. Kansas pass defense
Griffin’s ability to tuck the ball and run, as well as pass on the move, makes the Baylor aerial attack incredibly dangerous. Through four games this season, Griffin has thrown for 971 yards, completed 60 percent of his passes and tossed eight TDs and just two interceptions. In addition, he’s averaging 242 yards per game through the air and has a QB efficiency rating of 140.9. Again, though, what makes him most dangerous is his ability to keep plays alive with his legs, which has allowed Baylor’s receivers — Kendall Wright, Terrance Williams, Josh Gordon and Lanear Sampson all have more than 100 yards receiving — to get downfield for big plays. The KU secondary still has yet to be tested for four quarters.
The good news is KU did not have a punt blocked in its victory against New Mexico State last week, and that, considering all that unit’s struggles, was definitely a step in the right direction. The Jayhawks also were awesome in the return game, highlighted by D.J. Beshears’ 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that broke the game open. However, KU’s kick coverage last week was awful. Until the Jayhawks take care of all their issues on special teams, they won’t be able to claim an advantage there.