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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Kansas football primed to upset Red Raiders

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Perhaps waiting to learn more information on the chances of red-shirt sophomore quarterback Michael Brewer having a healthy-enough back to make his season debut for Texas Tech, oddsmakers had not set a line on this coming Saturday morning’s game in Memorial Stadium as of Sunday night.

Once the line is released, it will show Texas Tech as the favorite against a Kansas University football team that has lost its last 21 Big 12 contests.

Before getting into why I think the streak ends and the upset takes place, let’s look at why it makes sense to position Texas Tech as the favorite.

First, when Kansas has the ball, Tech has a distinct advantage up front. The offensive line ranks among KU’s biggest weaknesses; Tech’s defensive line ranks among its greatest strengths. Kerry Hyder, the 6-foot-2, 280-pound senior from Austin, Texas, has a habit of exploding into opposing backfields and making things happen. He throws running backs and quarterbacks for losses, bats passes and generally makes his disruptive presence felt as well as just about any player in the Big 12. Forgive him if he starts salivating when watching film of KU’s inexperienced blockers. Ditto for talented senior linebacker Will Smith.

Shifting to when the Red Raiders (4-0) have the ball, the worrisome issue for KU becomes how to stop three pass-catching threats the likes of which the Jayhawks have not seen this season in games or practice.

Senior Eric Ward caught 12 passes for 180 yards vs. KU in Lubbock in 2012 and caught two touchdown passes in Lawrence two years ago.

Ward hasn’t even been Tech’s most productive wideout this season. Red Raiders junior Bradley Marquez spent his summer hitting and catching fly balls for the Kingsport Mets of the rookie Appalachian League.

Marquez has a TD reception in each of Tech’s four games and averages 15.8 yards a catch. And Texas Tech doesn’t even have to burn a scholarship on him because the Mets pay his college tuition.

A third-down monster, junior tight end Jace Amaro, 6-5, 260, leads the Red Raiders with 29 catches and 367 receiving yards. How can KU stop a target that big? A rib injury sidelined Amaro for six games, including against Kansas, last season.

Nearly a foot shorter, 5-6, 160-pound Jakeem Grant has big-play threat written all over him.

So with so much to worry about on both sides of the line of scrimmage and the Red Raiders carrying a No. 20 national ranking into the game, why pick an upset?

Two factors: Emotion is on KU’s side, and shaky quarterback play threatens to undermine a Tech team that has its fan base so stoked, talk of a 7-0 start runs rampant in Lubbock. (The Tech schedule has Iowa State at home and West Virginia on the road for the next two games).

A homecoming crowd supplies a bit of the emotional edge, but even more than that, KU’s players tasted breaking a long streak (22 losses in a row to FBS opponents) in their last game and aim to end the 21-game Big 12 losing streak.

In 2010, Colorado blew a 45-17 fourth-quarter lead, and Turner Gill’s Jayhawks won the game, 52-45. Dan Hawkins appeared to put a greater priority on padding his son Cody’s passing statistics with the school-yardage record in mind than on winning the game. Had Hawkins protected the lead by eating clock with a running strategy in the fourth quarter and held on to win, the KU Big 12 losing streak would stand at 33 games right now, instead of 21. As it stands, KU is 1-32 in its last 33 Big 12 games. The players are sick of reading numbers like that, and this is the week to do something about it.

So far, the Kansas defense, as is the case with Texas Tech’s, has exceeded expectations.

Tech has used two quarterbacks, both true freshmen. They have combined for eight interceptions. Thus far, the Red Raiders’ lone road game, against SMU, featured support nearly as loud for Tech as for the Mustangs. That won’t be the case Saturday in Memorial Stadium. Walk-on Baker Mayfield and four-star, hot-shot recruit Davis Webb have split time in Brewer’s absence. If Brewer can’t go, the smart guess has Webb starting. If he starts throwing the ball all over the place, Kansas is doing a better job of rushing the QB this season and has the cornerbacks to make Webb pay in Dexter McDonald and JaCorey Shepherd. Tech’s offensive line is young and shaky.

If Brewer, battling a bad back, is cleared to play, he’ll be running the offense of new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, 34, for the first time. He was efficient as a backup a year ago (34 for 48, 375 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions). If he is cleared to play, the upset chances weaken, but don’t vanish.

Comments

DanR 6 months, 3 weeks ago

23 hours after this opinion was posted and we still don't know whose opinion it is?

LOL

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Fototherapist 6 months, 3 weeks ago

KU doesn't have much of a chance, unless the football gods see fit to grant us a few more wishes and handouts.

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texashawk10 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Not directly KU news, but it will have a big impact on the future of the Big 12. DeLoss Dodds is expected to announce his retirement as the AD at Texas tomorrow effective next August. I don't expect the UT board of directors or whoever chooses an AD to actually pick someone who deserves the job and I'm expecting it to be Mack Brown stepping down as coach to become AD and if that happens, I expect Mack Brown to bring Will Muschamp back to Austin. If the powers that be in Austin actually go outside the UT family to hire an AD, that will be interesting to see if UT makes a run at Nick Saban.

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Ralster Jayhawk 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Isnt Cozart touted as a 'dual-threat' QB? Not sure, just asking, if anybody knows?

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John Fitzgerald 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Lol he handled it on his own. Threw to himself, blocked for himself, ran the ball, and even kicked a few field goals. Quite impressive actually.

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John Fitzgerald 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I had a dream last night that Cozart game into the game and scored 63 on Texas Tech. No lie. How crazy would that be ...

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machinegun 6 months, 3 weeks ago

All of this nonsense about who is a real KU fan and who is not seems unnecessary. We have beaten South Dakota, South Dakota State and Louisiana Tech since Weis became the head coach. A decent high school coach could have pulled that off. The last win was a fluke made possible, in part, by two unbelievable LA Tech turnovers.

I would like to remind Weis apologists that last year we were sitting on the Texas Tech 5-yard line, fourth and goal, clock running down. Charlie made the decision to kick a field goal for the tie rather than go for the win. Keep in mind that we had a 1-8 record at that point during the season. Talk about having no balls. We lost the game and finished the season 1-11.

You see it's all about winning and losing. 3 or 4 or 5 wins in two years just won't cut it. Go ask the Preacher.

Now, here we are getting ready to face the same Texas Tech team. Everyone will be there for the Homecoming game after waking up from the after glow of Late Night at the Phog: students, parents, little kiddies, old timers, die hards of every stripe and, of course, big-time Williams Fund donors.

Weis has a golden opportunity. Win the game and he gets to keep his job for another year. Lose and Charlie will probably be gone the night of the K-State game.

1

gorilla10 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I would love nothing more to see Memorial sold out with a student section overflowing and craving a big win to end this conference losing streak. The players and coaches need our support....Let's show it for once!!!!!!

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gorilla10 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Here KU sits 2-1. Not the prettiest 2-1 but a solid 2-1 that we all should be excited about. I don't care how we won 2 games, I don't care what the talent was, I don't care who did what. All I care is that we have a WINNING record through 3 games. We have DOUBLED our win total from last year in the first 3 weeks. Can someone please tell me WHY there is so much negativity and whining fans on here? Smart fans, fans that care and want a winning program wouldn't be complaining, whining and have no belief in the football program. This team needs SUPPORT from a fan base that wants to win as bad as they do. Emotion and momentum play a huge roll in the game of football. Crazy things can happen. Tech is in no way unbeatable especially if we PACK THE HOUSE, CHEER and show SUPPORT for the program. Everyone wants to come on here and laugh, joke, whine and complain yet those same fans will be at Late Night, not the football game Saturday.....yet will be right back here on Saturday night (win or lose) complaining, whining and joking around.

Time to show support for the football program as they deserve it and will play hard Saturday!!! Rock Chalk

3

tulhawk 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's get a win Saturday! and why didn't Keegan put his picture on this Opinion article?

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HighQ 6 months, 3 weeks ago

To beat a dead horse,

Wins and losses stem from the

Men in the trenches.

1

dinglesmith 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I truly hope KU can pull off the win against TTU and believe it possible. Not likely, but possible.

We need to get the ball to the backs. We have among the best stable of backs in the Big XII. There is no requirement to have a balanced offense. Run the ball. I'm tired of running the ball successfully only to pass on 1st down and get a sack or dropped ball halfway through a drive. Run the ball. When they stop you, do something different, but not until. Run blocking is much easier than pass blocking. Run the friggin' ball.

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Jeff Soisson 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I thought too that this was a possible win but it is not. KU would need to get 3 or 4 turnovers from Tech to make this happen. The one thing in our favor is that Tech never plays well in early games, so this could make a difference for us.

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JayHawkFanToo 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Who would have predicted that West Virginia would beat Oklahoma State... KU beating Tech. would not be nearly as big of an upset.

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David A. Smith 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The LaTech that I watched a decent team. Their defensive line was especially high calibre.

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Ralster Jayhawk 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Im just hoping we can find a way to win. That's why they play the game. I will be there in the stands, yet again...RCJH

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Lee Sears 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Here are the facts as I see them, KU has improved in almost every facet from last season, kicking, quarterback, defense, special teams. Add that to the fact that we had heartbreak losses to Texas & Oklahoma State last year, games we could have won. It seems like a lot of our trouble is confidence. When we play the teams that are supposed to be easy wins, we have something to prove and are somewhat afraid of making a mistake and being embarassed. When we play a team like TT where we are the underdog, I think we can play without fear. The monkey will be on their back this time. TT will seriously underestimate Kansas.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The line is +14 and did come out last night. I bet my children's community college fund on TT to easily covet.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 6 months, 3 weeks ago

the line is +14 and did come out last night

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Tony Bandle 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The only "upset" that's going to take place is how upset we KU fans are going to be after getting blown out by Tech.

By all the stars in heaven, I hope I am dead wrong and Mr. Tait looks great.......but I'm afraid I am not!! We've been this road soooo many times these last several seasons.

Games are win in the trenches and being out-classed on both sides of the ball does not bode well.

2

Hawk8086 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Based on the way LaTech outplayed us all over the field, in the 2nd half especially, means that we are going to have to play a lot better to beat anyone in the Big 12. That could certainly happen, but I would think it is more likely down the road than this weekend. I hope I am wrong.

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jaydee909 6 months, 3 weeks ago

We have not played a complete game yet, chiefly due to the offense being bad. No getting around we have not looked impressive. Heaps is stlll shaking off rust from being out of action for nearly two years. And he has not been that bad. He will have a breakout game at some point. Pardula is a great weapon. Even though we have played some not so good teams, it is apparent that our secondary is improved. Just maybe, the Tech game is where we put it all together. Tech has holes, mainly in the OL. They have not run the ball well. Their QB play has been shaky without Brewer. Their defense has been better than expected. TCU played miserably on offense in the game against Tech and there were officiating calls that did not go their way. They had a significant impact on the outcome of that game.

We played well at home last year for the most part; the ISU game being an exception. Our coaches, players and fans are sick of the Big 12 losing streak. Plenty of motivation. Just say that I will not be shocked if we pull the upset.

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gorilla10 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Great chance of an upset on Saturday. IF we play the way I believe we're capable, FILL THE STANDS, MAKE NOISE, and come to play there will be a great chance! The crowd can make a big difference and we need the emotional edge to pull an upset. WAKE UP STUDENTS!!! This is a huge opportunity for the football program.

ROCK CHALK!

3

texashawk10 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Will KU win? The odds certainly don't point that way and with Tech also having a bye this past weekend, it does make it a little tougher for KU because Tech has been focused on KU for 2 weeks.

Can KU beat Tech? Absolutely. The way KU has to win this game is turnovers. KU has to be at least +2 in turnovers against Tech to win. Play action also needs to be a bigger component of the offense because that will help both the passing and running and it will be open for Pierson to hit a big play on a trail route across the flow of the play based on how Rice and LA Tech have played Heaps booting out on stretch plays.

If KU is +2 or better in turnovers and can get a little play action going, KU will have a chance to pull the upset.

3

troutsee 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The first 3 games have been painful, even though we won two of them. It is pretty obvious that we do not have the horses to win another game this year. Too bad, as many of us have endured this from KU FB year after year after year, except for an occasional blast of euphoria about once every 20 yrs. I will be there as usual and hoping for a miracle but based on what I have seen so far, I don't see a miracle coming down the pike. This team lacks zip, fire, desire, and confidence. Without those and an offensive line, this season is over.

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Steve Corder 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Emotion? You've given every reason why the losing streak will continue.

What is the line today?

0

cozzhawk 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Their quarterback play will not play a critical role unless our offense can put points on the board.

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Jim Stauffer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Matt, I will apologize if you are correct, but I simply do not see it.

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jhawkrulz 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I still think the Big XII is down this year and we should pick up a win or two. I'm not sure against who. It'd be nice to get a win against TTU, just because it would build a little momentum.

I also think Campo designed a nickel defense to specifically address the offenses of the Big XII, exposing us to the run. It'll be interesting to see if this shift helps this weekend. I'm excited, but realistically we can't make the same mistakes as last week.

The other good news there have been a few things that have occurred that show we have improved: 1) Kicking game is much better 2) we are getting turnovers 3) we are stopping the pass 4) we still have had some drops, but it seems like there is some attention in this area.

1

Robert Brock 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It's up to our offensive line. If they cannot block, then we will get crushed. First one to 40 wins; can the Hawks do it?

0

Joe Ross 6 months, 3 weeks ago

You must pay taxes.

You must die.

You must accept a 2-2 record if you're a Jayhawk fan.

3

jhox 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Fat chance of any upset here. We'll be lucky to win another game with the O line we have right now. When Rice and LA Tech dominate your offensive line, what will Big 12 teams do?

(It is very strange no author is listed here. What's up with that?)

2

Keith Hummel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow - the negative Nancy's are up early today. Not much faith among the so-called Jayhawk faithful this morning.

Look, I'm not sure I would put money down on an upset either, but it's not as ridiculous as most of you are making it. This is a very young and very new team that has shown huge improvement every single game. With two weeks to prepare for this game and work out the kinks, I would expect to see even more improvement in this game. So it isn't outrageous to expect an even better defensive showing and an offensive that finally finds it's groove. For all the sniping about our offense against LA Tech, it looked pretty good in stretches, particularly the 4th quarter.

I expect to see inspired play from our offensive line in this game, and a pass defense that finally earns some respect. If those things happen an upset is more than possible.

4

James Naismith 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It seems even the writer doesn't believe it. No one took credit for the story.

3

Tricky Gnosis 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I watched a good chunk of the Texas Tech/TCU game. Neither team looked like anything special. Both teams played without much urgency and weren't executing fundamentals on tackling or blocking.

KU could win over TTU, but so many things have to go right.

Take the under and take TTU to cover the spread. .

0

Janet Scott 6 months, 3 weeks ago

KU will get blown out, pure and simple. 0-9 in the conference this year. Zenger will decide to return the virtual football computer system he so hyped as KU's "one of a kind" in college football, and will ask for a refund (it will not be granted). The KU brass will call in Santa Claus and Peter Pan to consult on how to improve KU's football fortunes; Charlie will immemorialize his famous "pile of crap" comment by using it so frequently. Zenger will announce a $10,000 upgrade to KU's Memorial Stadium, with construction starting in 2074.

0

Steve Jacob 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think people are get excited for KU because a gift win by a bad team.

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John Fitzgerald 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Whoever wrote this article seems to be trying to pass the time. I mean, we were pretty close to being 3-0 coming into this game, which would put us undefeated with Texas Tech. But lets be realistic, our competition has been nothing compared to what they've faced. And the numbers they've put up on a few of those opponents have been impressive, especially with the OL issues and QB questions they've had. I want to have faith that we break out this game and finally get in the groove we need, but It's going to take BIG changes, and I'm not sure we have enough time to make those changes happen. All I can say is, for us to have a chance three things need to happen. The offensive line needs to show aggressiveness and stop waiting for plays to happen. They're big guys just like any other offensive lineman, they just need to know how to use their hearts. Secondly, our WR's have got to get open. I'm not sure how this is going to be done, or if they just suck at route running, but they need to figure it out as a team. Short passes are great but won't work every time. And finally, Heaps has got to keep is eyes up and focus. I feel like, aside from the first game, he's been very mediocre at best, and I fear he's just playing from the energy around him. He is a team leader and he needs to take the role head on. There is no room for error, there is no room for failure, and there is no room for hesitation. Once Heaps stops thinking, he will start to be effective again. Here's to hoping we at least have a chance. RCJH!

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Dirk Medema 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm not predicting an upset, but our pass D is top 10 nationally I believe. Their strength plays to our strength - unlike years past. If they stay pass happy, I'd predict more than 1 INT, which could at least keep us in the game.

1

pizzashuttle 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Whoever the TT QB is we've got to shake him up early, lots of blitzes and pressure. Hurry his decisions, harass his psyche. D-backs need to jump routes and hang onto the ball. Occasionally drop Stowers into coverage, he's due for another INT.

1

BringBackMark 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I doubt the homecoming crowd will be that big of an advantage. Especially with another 11:00 a.m. kickoff. TT is one of those teams that just know how to beat KU year in and year out. We've had many close games, several of which KU should've won, but just couldn't get the job done. This year actually looks like another blowout win for TT.

Worse yet, West Virginia early on looked like a team KU could stay with until this last Saturday. Why do so many Big 12 teams seem to grow up in the early weeks of the season except KU? Sorry to say but it looks like 2-10 for Big Charlie in year two. Probably give Zenger another raise and extend CW's contract two or three more years!

Anyone else notice the frequency of football articles has declined immensely since Late Night is just around the corner?

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Charles Logan 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I doubt we will be able to stop tech from scoring. KU will need to score at least 40 to win..... Question...... If we can't score 40 on South Dakota, how in the heck are we gonna score that much on a Big XII team. Unless KU switches to one of their scramble-able QBs I don't see them scoring much at all in this game. And once again Sims won't be able to run.

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dfybaby21 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Comparing scores means very little in football, but did the author happen to notice that the same La Tech team that flat handed the game over to Kansas went back home and got destroyed by Army? That Kansas-La Tech game very well could have featured two of the bottom five FBS teams. Doesn't mean TTU is going to stroll in here and have a cakewalk, but let's be realistic with it.

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Doug Cramer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

To whom ever the author is...how much do you want to wager that KU upsets Tech ? Please send me an email and I'll sign off on any amount you'd like to bet.

Tech's D-line is gonna absolutely immobilize our offense...and our own D-line will finally get exposed.

The war in the trenches will be won by Tech...and that's why they will beat us by at least 3 TDs.

Our players know we should have lost to La Tech by 14 points...how the hell are we gonna have an emotional advantage over Tech Saturday ?

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