Advertisement

Posts tagged with Ku Football

KU’s defense shows signs of improvement on 3rd down in OSU loss

Oklahoma State wide receiver Dillon Stoner (17) carries against Kansas in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma State wide receiver Dillon Stoner (17) carries against Kansas in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) by Associated Press

Just a few weeks ago, KU’s defense had an alarming issue. The Jayhawks couldn’t get a stop on third down.

Entering the final bye week of the season, Kansas ranked 129th out of 130 FBS teams in third-down defense. Opponents were converting 53% of the time against KU, which only led UTEP at the time.

At least for one game, though, the Jayhawks (3-7, 1-6 Big 12) showed signs of improvement in a 31-13 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The Cowboys only converted on four of their 12 chances on third down last weekend.

It is something that KU head coach Les Miles was pleased to see, and hopes it is a sign of things to come down the stretch against Iowa State and Baylor to close out the season.

"I know statistically we are not necessarily where we need to be on defense,” Miles said. “We stopped them eight of 12 times, got turnovers in key situations. And so defensively, things like that, if that continues, that's just what we would like to have happen.”

The four successful conversions by OSU ended up being the lowest mark allowed by KU since Coastal Carolina went 1-for-9 on third down in Week 2. Since then, opposing teams have converted at least six times against Kansas until Oklahoma State failed to do so.

Kansas now ranks 125th in the country in third-down defense. The Jayhawks have given up a 50.68% conversion rate, allowing 74 first downs on 146 such chances. Akron, San Jose State, Massachusetts, Connecticut and UTEP are the only teams that rank lower than KU in that category entering this weekend.

It remains to be seen if it was a one-time fluke or if KU’s defense has figured something out coming off that bye week. But let’s take a look at the five third-down stops by the Jayhawks in the first half to see what they did right last weekend:

Situation: 3rd-and-7 from OSU’s 8-yard line in 1Q

On the second drive of the game, Kansas got a much-needed three-and-out.

After a pair of short runs by the Cowboys, redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders attempted a pass in a tight window along the sideline. His pass was too high against man-to-man coverage by KU’s defense, but it demonstrated the benefit in forcing the opposition into an obvious passing situation.

The Jayhawks ended up getting the ball on the Cowboys’ 25-yard line on the ensuing possession, but were unable to get any points out of the favorable field position.

via GIPHY

Situation: 3rd-and-11 from KU’s 25-yard line in 2Q

Another obvious passing situation resulted in a failed conversion by the Cowboys. But this stop was a credit to KU’s containment.

Entering the final bye week of the season, Kansas ranked 129th out of 130 FBS teams in third-down defense. Opponents were converting 53% of the time against KU, which only led UTEP at the time.

Sanders was unable to bounce his run to the outside, as Kyle Mayberry made the play for a 3-yard loss. Four different KU players were in the area to make the stop as well.

via GIPHY

Situation: 3rd-and-1 from OSU’s 32-yard line in 2Q

Needing just 1 yard, Oklahoma State turned to the nation’s leading rusher.

Oklahoma State handed the ball off to OSU running back Chuba Hubbard in a two-back set out of shotgun. It was a misdirection, as the two backs crossed in front of Sanders. Hubbard was ultimately stuffed just shy of the first-down marker by Gavin Potter and Jay Dineen.

via GIPHY

Situation: 3rd-and-3 from OSU’s 40-yard line in 2Q

After converting on fourth down, OSU faced another third-and-short on that same possession.

Sanders had four receivers out to the left for a screen pass. Dineen immediately ran toward the intended receiver, so Sanders elected to run up the middle. Potter and Azur Kamara were there to make the play at the line of scrimmage.

via GIPHY

Situation: 3rd-and-4 from KU’s 26-yard line in 2Q

The Cowboys had no chance on their final try on third down in the first half.

Kamara came hard off the edge at the same time Sanders handed it off to LD Brown, who was then tripped up by his own blocker. Many KU players filled their respective gap, which prevented any sort of cutback.

Potter was ultimately credited with the tackle, though OSU took a 24-0 advantage on a 44-yard field goal on the very next play.

via GIPHY

KU opponent third downs this season

• Indiana State: 5-for-14 — 24-17 KU W

• Coastal Carolina: 1-for-9 — 12-7 KU L

• at Boston College: 10-for-19 — 48-24 KU W

• West Virginia: 9-for-18 — 29-24 KU L

• at TCU: 14-for-19 — 51-14 KU L

• Oklahoma: 6-for-9 — 45-20 KU L

• at Texas: 9-for-14 — 50-48 KU L

• Texas Tech: 6-for-15 — 37-34 KU W

• Kansas State: 11-for-17 — 38-10 KU L

• Oklahoma State: 4-for-12 — 31-13 KU L

Reply 3 comments from Bee Bee Dane Pratt Dirk Medema

KU football is big underdog for road tilt with Iowa State

(Boston, MA, 09/13/19) Kansas Jayhawks head coach Les Miles, left, talks with punter Kyle Thompson (80) prior to the start of an NCAA football game at Boston College in Boston, Mass., on Friday, September 13, 2019.

(Boston, MA, 09/13/19) Kansas Jayhawks head coach Les Miles, left, talks with punter Kyle Thompson (80) prior to the start of an NCAA football game at Boston College in Boston, Mass., on Friday, September 13, 2019. by Chris Evans

After back-to-back losses, things don’t get any easier for the Kansas football team.

KU will travel to Iowa State this weekend for another 11 a.m. kickoff. ESPN’s FPI gives the Jayhawks just a 4.6% chance of winning, which is their lowest chance of victory over the final three games of the 2019 season.

The early betting line suggests that this game should be even more difficult for Kansas, which is coming off a 31-13 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Iowa State is favored by 24.5 points, according to FanDuel’s Sportsbook as of Monday afternoon. The line actually opened at 23 points, so the number has jumped up a bit in 24 hours.

It marks just the sixth time since 2000 that the Cyclones are favored by 20-plus points. It is also the biggest betting number in favor of ISU since the team was laying 23 points against Kansas on Oct. 14, 2017 in what turned out to be a 45-0 win.

Iowa State has been favored in nine of its 11 games this season. The Cyclones (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) are coming off a 23-21 win over then-No. 19 Texas. The Jayhawks (3-7, 1-6) have scored a combined 23 points in consecutive defeats to Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

Saturday marks the 99th meeting between Iowa State and Kansas, a series that began in 1898. KU has a 50-42-6 advantage in the all-time series, but ISU has won the last four matchups. Kansas also hasn’t won a Big 12 road game since 2008.

Kansas is 4-6 against the spread this season, while Iowa State is 6-4. As of Monday, Odds Shark projects the Cyclones to cover the spread and the total score (59 points) to go over.

All Big 12 spreads for Week 13

All of these lines are presented by FanDuel’s Sportsbook. Sign up today on FanDuel using this special promotion.

Kansas at Iowa State (-24.5)

Oklahoma State (-7) at West Virginia

Texas at Baylor (-5.5)

Kansas State at Texas Tech (-2)

TCU at Oklahoma (-18)

Reply 1 comment from Doug Roberts

Getting to know: Oklahoma State football

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard (30) celebrates with fans following an NCAA college football game against TCU in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Oklahoma State won 34-27. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard (30) celebrates with fans following an NCAA college football game against TCU in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Oklahoma State won 34-27. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) by Associated Press

It has been two weeks since Kansas had a dud performance against Kansas State in front of a sellout crowd at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

The bye week came at an opportune time for the Jayhawks, who fell flat in a 38-10 loss. It gave them an extra week to self-scout and get healthy before the final stretch of the 2019 season, which features two road games and one home contest.

But the problem is that Oklahoma State is coming off a bye week as well, and has more momentum entering Les Miles’ return to Stillwater.

OSU has an explosive offense behind the nation’s leading rusher in Chuba Hubbard. Other than the Sunflower Showdown, KU’s offense has been very effective since Brent Dearmon took over play calling duties. So there should be plenty of points in this game.

Whether or not Kansas can cover the 17.5-point spread remains to be seen, however. Let’s take a closer look at the Cowboys to find out if that is possible.

BREAKING DOWN OKLAHOMA STATE:

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders has made a number of plays through the air and on the ground during his first year as the starting quarterback. He’s already the all-time OSU freshman leader in season passing yards. Sanders also ranked third among Power 5 quarterbacks with 588 rushing yards.

Running backs — For a Kansas defense that struggles to stop the run, this will be a tough matchup. Redshirt sophomore Chuba Hubbard is the FBS leader in rushing yards, yards per game, yards per carry and all purpose yards. In fact, his 178.6 rushing yards per game is 33.1 more than second-place A.J. Dillon of Boston College.

Receivers — Redshirt junior Dillon Stoner stepped in as OSU's top receiver after Biletnikoff finalist Tylan Wallace was lost for the season to injury before the TCU game. Stoner finished the TCU win with a career-best two touchdowns and a season-best 93 receiving yards. Braydon Johnson, Landon Wolf and Jordan McCray are involved in the passing game as well.

Offensive line — Redshirt junior Teven Jenkins, who is from Topeka, Kansas, is slated to start at right tackle. He has made 24 total starts, including every game last season at either right tackle or left tackle. Left guard Marcus Keyes has started 45 games for OSU, which is 11 more than anyone else on the entire roster. Left tackle Dylan Galloway has 10 career starts for the Cowboys.

DEFENSE

Defensive line — True freshman Trace Ford has become a playmaker on this defense at the end spot. He has 18 tackles, two sacks and six quarterback hurries. Ford is the only true freshman to start a game for Oklahoma State so far this season. Defensive tackles Israel Antwine and Cameron Murray are also new starters for the Cowboys this year.

Linebackers — Junior Malcolm Rodriguez leads the team and ranks third in the Big 12 with 8.2 tackles per game. His 168 career tackles paces the squad, and he notched a game-winning pick-six in the fourth quarter at Iowa State. Amen Ogbongbemiga ranks among the top-eight in the Big 12 in tackles, TFL and sacks this season.

Secondary — Senior cornerback A.J. Green is one of 14 national semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award presented to the nation's top defensive back. Cornerback Rodarius Williams is a three-year starter, and is tied with Green for most starts on the Cowboy defense with 35. Safety Tre Sterling has 38 tackles in his past six games.

SPECIAL TEAMS — Kicker Matt Ammendola is third among active FBS players with 331 career points. He has made two 53-yard field goals during his career. Punter Tom Hutton, a 29-year-old true freshman, was recruited through ProKick Australia.

FUN FACT — Les Miles returns to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State for the first time in his career. As the leader of the Cowboys, Miles led Oklahoma State to a 28-21 record, where they reached three-consecutive bowl games after starting 4-7 in his first year.

VEGAS SAYS… The Jayhawks are getting 17.5 points as of Friday afternoon in their Week 12 matchup with the Cowboys. Kansas has typically fared well when it is counted out this much, and I expect that trend to continue this week. KU’s defense won’t be able to stop Oklahoma State’s ground game, but I expect the offense to bounce back.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 42, Kansas 31

This year’s record ATS: 5-4

Overall record ATS: 12-8

Reply

Pick 6: Best bets for Week 12 of college football

Fans watch as an air refueled flies over Memorial Stadium prior to kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Fans watch as an air refueled flies over Memorial Stadium prior to kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Best bet: Texas (+7) at Iowa State

It is funny how much things change over the course of a season. Earlier in the year, I was constantly fading Texas. Now, I’m backing the Longhorns because I think the market went too far in the opposite direction. This defense is getting more healthy, and a touchdown is simply too much. Plus, betting Tom Herman as an underdog in his career has been quite the money maker.

Long shot: Ole Miss (+21.5) vs. LSU

Those who have followed this blog all year knew this was coming. Especially in college football, I’m a firm believer in letdown games. By now, you have seen what Joe Burrow and No. 1 LSU did to Alabama last week. The Rebels won’t be a pushover either, as they are leading the SEC in rushing. I think that is enough to cover the three-touchdown spread.

Easy favorite: Alabama (-17.5) at Mississippi State

Along those same lines, putting my money in a Nick Saban-led team coming off a loss seems like a strong play. The Bulldogs have also lost four of their previous five games, with their lone win coming against Arkansas. I’m not sure there was a number too high that would have forced me to stay away.

Over of the week: Kansas at Oklahoma State (67.5)

I’m diving back in on the over for KU games. I just believe Brent Dearmon will have a response off a bye after scoring only 10 points in a 38-10 loss to Kansas State just two weeks ago. Oklahoma State has a stellar offense, which is led by the nation’s leading rusher in Chuba Hubbard.

Under of the week: Oklahoma at Baylor (67.5)

There isn’t a whole lot of logic behind this pick, to be honest. It stood out to me because it was the same total at KU’s Week 12 matchup with Oklahoma State. This is more of a gut feeling pick. If Baylor is going to win this game, it is going to come down to getting key stops and limiting possessions.

NFL action: Buffalo Bills (-6.5) at Miami Dolphins

My NFL bet was a dud last week, but I fully expect to get back in the win column. I don’t understand this line at all. The Bills were a 17-point favorite in the first meeting between these two teams, so the market might be overreacting to a pair of fluky wins by the Dolphins. Buffalo will take care of business this week on the road.

KU sports staff picks against the spread

All of these lines are presented by FanDuel’s Sportsbook. Sign up today on FanDuel using this special promotion.

Kansas at Oklahoma State (-18)

Matt Tait: Kansas

Benton Smith: Kansas

Braden Shaw: Oklahoma State

Shane Jackson: Kansas

Oklahoma (-10) at Baylor

Matt Tait: Baylor

Benton Smith: Baylor

Braden Shaw: Baylor

Shane Jackson: Baylor

Navy at Notre Dame (-9.5)

Matt Tait: Notre Dame

Benton Smith: Notre Dame

Braden Shaw: Notre Dame

Shane Jackson: Navy

USC (-6.5) at California

Matt Tait: USC

Benton Smith: USC

Braden Shaw: USC

Shane Jackson: USC

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-4.5)

Matt Tait: Ravens

Benton Smith: Ravens

Braden Shaw: Ravens

Shane Jackson: Ravens

Kansas City Chiefs (-4) at Los Angeles Chargers

Matt Tait: Chargers

Benton Smith: Chiefs

Braden Shaw: Chiefs

Shane Jackson: Chiefs

Season standings

Shane Jackson: 35-31 (2-4 in Week 11)

Benton Smith: 33-33 (4-2 in Week 11)

Matt Tait: 31-35 (4-2 in Week 11)

Braden Shaw: 26-40 (4-2 in Week 11)

Reply

KU’s defense must fix issues against mobile quarterbacks ahead of matchup with OSU

Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson (10) squeezes between Kansas defensive end Darrius Moragne (97) and Kansas linebacker Azur Kamara (5) during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson (10) squeezes between Kansas defensive end Darrius Moragne (97) and Kansas linebacker Azur Kamara (5) during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

It was an interesting comment, and one that could ultimately explain a recent stretch by KU’s defense.

Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson recorded 127 yards and three scores on the ground via 17 attempts during a 38-10 win over Kansas in the Sunflower Showdown two weeks ago. After the game, many Kansas players were asked what went wrong on the defensive side of the ball.

“We weren’t necessarily expecting him to run as much,” senior Bryce Torneden said of Thompson. “We thought we had guys in the right place, but that’s a great player and obviously he showed that.”

What is interesting about Torneden’s statement is the fact that Thompson had 34 total rushing attempts in the three previous games. Yet with an extra week to prepare, the Jayhawks hope to be more equipped to handle a mobile quarterback in their road tilt with Oklahoma State this weekend.

After all, OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders ranks eighth in the Big 12 in rushing with an average of 65.3 yards per game. He’s second among quarterbacks, trailing only Oklahoma signal caller Jalen Hurts.

“We already know running QBs want to get out of the pocket,” senior safety Mike Lee said. “If we keep them in the pocket, the game will go how we want it to go.”

But containing Sanders from making plays with his feet might be easier said than done, particularly with how much the Jayhawks have struggled to slow down mobile quarterbacks as of late. Over the last three games, KU has surrendered season-high rushing performances to three different quarterbacks.

Thompson posted his best performance of the year in terms of yards and attempts. He accounted for 37.1% of the Wildcats’ 342 rushing yards on 28.3% of the attempts. For comparison, KU has allowed 2,118 rushing yards on the year and 18% of that production has come from opposing signal callers.

“It was surprising for us, but it was just minor mistakes by us,” linebacker Kyron Johnson said. “It was basically me not tackling and not keeping him in the pocket. We just got all messed up.”

Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey notched a season-best 40 yards on six attempts, many of which came against a three-man rush on third down, during a 37-34 loss to Kansas on Oct. 26. Duffey has only had one other game this season where he recorded more than 24 rushing yards.

One week earlier, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger piled up 91 of his team’s 239 rushing yards on 14 attempts. The performance, which was 21 yards more than his previous season-best showing, helped the Longhorns secure a 50-48 home win over the Jayhawks.

In total, 32.5% of the rushing yards produced against KU's defense over the last three games have come via quarterbacks. And scrambling quarterbacks have an impact on the passing game, too.

“We just learned to never give up on a play,” cornerback Kyle Mayberry said. “Even when you play the first route good, be prepared for the scramble drill.”

Not all quarterback runs are created equal, meaning there is not a specific pattern by KU’s defense over the last month. The Wildcats utilized designed quarterback runs via option plays, including three of Thompson’s four runs on the opening drive.

On 3rd-and-2, Thompson netted a long run on a speed option to the right. Thompson took off once Torneden moved toward the running back. Thompson then capped the drive off with a touchdown run after faking the handoff and getting to the edge.

via GIPHY

Against Texas Tech, a majority of quarterback runs occurred when Duffey couldn't find an open receiver. He showcased the ability to pick up a first down with his feet rather than force things, though KU could have done a better job keeping Duffey from getting outside.

via GIPHY

The Longhorns called Ehlinger’s number on the first two plays on designed runs to set the tone. While Kansas State’s success can mostly be attributed to blocking and play design, Ehlinger was simply too tough to bring down and got a bulk of his yardage by breaking tackles.

via GIPHY

Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, they might be facing their toughest test yet when it comes to mobile quarterbacks. Sanders, who is a redshirt freshman, has 588 yards on 126 rushing attempts through nine games. Sanders has had double-digit rushing attempts in all but two of his games during his first year as a starter.

None by LandGrant Gauntlet

Sanders has been as advertised for the Cowboys. Coming out of high school, ESPN ranked him as the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 national class. He will be a different type of runner compared to what the Jayhawks have faced the last three games.

“It is just another quarterback that we have to keep in the pocket and keep an eye on,” Johnson said.

At the very least, though, KU’s defense should be more prepared entering this week’s matchup against another mobile quarterback.

Reply 2 comments from Shane Jackson Dirk Medema

Coming off another bye, KU is a double-digit underdog against Oklahoma State

Kansas head coach Les Miles walks off the field after a timeout during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach Les Miles walks off the field after a timeout during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Coming off a bye week, not many people are expecting Kansas football to compete this weekend.

If that sounds familiar, that is because it just happened in October. The Jayhawks promoted Brent Dearmon to offensive coordinator during the bye week before they were ultimately a 22-point underdog at Texas. Kansas ended up falling, 50-48, on a last-second field goal.

There are no changes on the coaching staff last week, but KU is still counted out ahead of its road tilt with Oklahoma State. According to FanDuel’s Sportsbook, the Jayhawks are an 18-point underdog as of Monday afternoon.

Kansas has actually performed well in these situations during Les Miles’ first year at the helm. According to Odds Shark, KU is 3-0 when it is given 15-or-more points as an underdog, which took place against Boston College, Oklahoma and Texas. The Jayhawks have covered just once in the remaining six games.

None of that means KU (3-6, 1-5 Big 12) will cover the spread this weekend, of course. Oklahoma State has won back-to-back games against TCU and Iowa State entering this week’s matchup. The Cowboys (6-3, 3-3 Big 12) are also coming off a bye week.

Oklahoma State is 7-2 against the spread this season, including a 5-2 clip as a favorite. OSU has been a double-digit favorite three times, all of which took place in nonconference play. The Cowboys covered the spread in all three outings as well.

On paper, it is not a favorable matchup for the Jayhawks. KU’s defense has struggled to stop the run all season, and this figures to be the team’s toughest test yet. OSU running back Chuba Hubbard leads the FBS in rushing yards with 1,604 and ranks second in rushing touchdowns with 18.

Kansas, meanwhile, has allowed an average of 235.33 rushing yards per game. Kent State, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State and Massachusetts are the only teams giving up more yards on the ground this season.

It will be interesting to see if the extra week gave the Jayhawks a solid game plan to slow down the Cowboys’ rushing attack. Given the injuries on the defensive side of the ball, though, that could be easier said than done. I’m not ready to commit to a pick this week, but I’d probably lay the points at this moment.

Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. Boone Pickens Stadium.

All lines are presented by FanDuel’s Sportsbook. Sign up today on FanDuel using this special promotion.

Rest of Big 12 spreads for Week 12

TCU (-3) at Texas Tech

Texas at Iowa State (-7)

West Virginia at Kansas State (-14.5)

Oklahoma (-10) at Baylor

Reply 2 comments from Robert  Brock Dirk Medema

Pick 6: Best bets for Week 11 of college football

Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson (10) runs into the end zone for a touchdown during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson (10) runs into the end zone for a touchdown during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Best bet: Baylor (-2.5) at TCU

Baylor still doesn’t seem to be getting the respect it deserves, and this line seems too low. TCU’s quarterback situation is up in the air after freshman Max Duggan and backup signal caller Mike Collins both got hurt. The Bears might not be winning Big 12 games by a lot, but I’m taking any number that is less than a field goal.

Long shot: Illinois (+14.5) at Michigan State

Two touchdowns and the hook is simply too much faith in Michigan State, and the line actually opened at 11.5 points somehow. The Spartans have given up 28 or more points in four consecutive games and are without their leading tackler. Illinois is tied for the FBS lead with five defensive scores.

Over of the week: USC at Arizona State (57.5)

USC is coming off a 56-24 loss to Oregon, falling to 5-4 on the year. Arizona State, meanwhile, is now 5-3 after dropping back-to-back road games to Utah and UCLA. ASU doesn’t have a great offense, but USC has dealt with a number of injuries on the defensive side of the ball. The Trojans are also averaging 30.4 points and 432.7 yards per game.

Under of the week: Arkansas vs. Western Kentucky (52)

Former Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey is now the starter at Western Kentucky, so perhaps the Razorbacks will have an idea what to do on the defensive side of the ball? The Hilltoppers, meanwhile, are 24th in total defense in the country. Oh, and redshirt freshman John Stephen Jones, who is the grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, is expected to start at quarterback for Arkansas.

Fade the noise: Bet Miami (-6.5) vs. Louisville

The easy move would be to take Louisville, as I’m sure most people will do this week. The Hurricanes are coming off a win over Florida State in Tallahassee, while the Cardinals are fresh off a bye week. More of the money appears to be on Louisville, but trusting Miami’s defense seems like the play here.

NFL action: Cincinnati Bengals (+10.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens

Once again, I’m recommending to bet against my favorite team. Last week’s win over New England was a lot of fun, but this is such an easy bet. The Bengals are coming off a bye week and have a new quarterback under center. Cincinnati has also played multiple teams close, and even covered an 11-point spread in Baltimore just a few weeks ago.

KU sports staff picks against the spread

All of these lines are presented by FanDuel’s Sportsbook. Sign up today on FanDuel using this special promotion.

Kansas State at Texas (-6.5)

Matt Tait: Texas

Benton Smith: Kansas State

Braden Shaw: Kansas State

Shane Jackson: Texas

UAB at Southern Miss (-4.5)

Matt Tait: Southern Miss

Benton Smith: Southern Miss

Braden Shaw: Southern Miss

Shane Jackson: UAB

Iowa at Wisconsin (-9.5)

Matt Tait: Wisconsin

Benton Smith: Wisconsin

Braden Shaw: Wisconsin

Shane Jackson: Iowa

LSU at Alabama (-6)

Matt Tait: Alabama

Benton Smith: LSU

Braden Shaw: Alabama

Shane Jackson: LSU

Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Tennessee Titans

Matt Tait: Titans

Benton Smith: Chiefs

Braden Shaw: Chiefs

Shane Jackson: Chiefs

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-6)

Matt Tait: Seahawks

Benton Smith: 49ers

Braden Shaw: Seahawks

Shane Jackson: Seahawks

Season standings

Shane Jackson: 33-27 (3-3 in Week 10)

Benton Smith: 29-31 (3-3 in Week 10)

Matt Tait: 27-33 (2-4 in Week 10)

Braden Shaw: 22-38 (2-4 in Week 10)

Reply 1 comment from Dane Pratt

Getting to know: Kansas State football

Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson (10) walks off the field after an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Manhattan, Kan. Kansas State won 48-41. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson (10) walks off the field after an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Manhattan, Kan. Kansas State won 48-41. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) by Associated Press

This year’s Sunflower Showdown has a different feel to it than previous years.

Last season, there was some conversation about how Kansas was closing the gap in this rivalry with Kansas State. But that was fake, and had more to do with the Wildcats not playing well than the Jayhawks exceeding expectations.

This time around, both teams are heading into this week’s matchup with some momentum. Kansas State (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) has won two games in a row, including an impressive win over Oklahoma in Manhattan last weekend. KU (3-5, 1-4) is coming off a 37-34 victory over Texas Tech and suffered a 50-48 loss to Texas the week before that.

It is safe to say the hype for this game is not fake, and it is rightfully the most highly-anticipated Sunflower Showdown in over a decade. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

As of Friday afternoon, Kansas State was favored by 5.5 points on FanDuel’s Sportsbook. According to Odds Shark, the Jayhawks will be less than a 10-point underdog against the Wildcats for the first time since 2010. KU, which was just a three-point underdog under Turner Gill, was handed a 59-7 drubbing back then.

Will the Jayhawks not only cover but find a way to end a double-digit losing skid in this rivalry? Let’s take a closer look at the Wildcats to find out:

BREAKING DOWN KANSAS STATE:

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Junior Skylar Thompson is now the starter for the Wildcats after splitting signal caller duties in 2017 and 2018. Thompson is more effective on the run, as he scored four rushing touchdowns against Oklahoma last weekend. That could be a problem for the Jayhawks, who let Texas Tech quarterback Jet Duffey break free against a number of three-man rushes on third down last weekend.

Running backs — The Wildcats will try to lean on the ground game and control the clock this weekend. K-State enters this week ranked fifth nationally in time of possession at 34:45. Senior running back James Gilbert has 558 yards and five scores on 100 attempts. Jordon Brown, who sustained a left leg injury against OU, is also expected to play against Kansas.

Receivers — Dalton Schoen, who is from Blue Valley Northwest, is coming off a five-catch performance against Oklahoma. He ranks eighth in program history with an average of 16.82 yards per catch. Redshirt freshman Malik Knowles has 15 catches for 224 yards for two scores this season.

Offensive line — The five starters along the offensive line have combined for 129 starts at Kansas State with a majority of those coming from left tackle Scott Frantz (45), right guard Tyler Mitchell (37) center Adam Holtorf (32). Frantz, who is from Free State, has made 45 consecutive starts for the Wildcats.

DEFENSE

Defensive line — Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley has done a good job under pressure over the last two weeks, but Kansas State’s defensive line will be his toughest test yet. Reggie Walker and Wyatt Hubert are the two defensive ends. Walker has 16 career sacks, and Hubert recorded 4.5 sacks as a freshman last year. Defensive tackle Trey Dishon has started 42 consecutive games and Jordan Mittie has held down the other tackle position for K-State.

Linebackers — The Wildcats have excelled in terms of getting off the field on third down, ranking second in the nation in third down defense in all of college football. Junior Elijah Sulivan is manning the middle linebacker spot. Senior Da’Quan Patton is slated to start at weak-side linebacker.

Secondary — Kansas State ranks fifth nationally in passing yards allowed with an average of 187.1 yards per game. Juniors AJ Parker and Walter Neil Jr. are holding down the two cornerback spots. Senior Denzel Goolsby is listed at free safety, while redshirt freshman Wayne Jones is starting at strong safety.

SPECIAL TEAMS — The Wildcats have the advantage in special teams. Kicker Blake Lynch has a career field goal percentage of 88.5% (23-for-26), which ranks first in school history. Kansas State punter Devin Anctil has averaged 46.3 yards on his 31 punts this season, a mark that currently stands as the school record and ranks ninth in the country

FUN FACT — This year’s edition of the Sunflower Showdown marks the 12th time in series history, but the first since 1986, that both programs have new head coach in the same season.

VEGAS SAYS… This line has settled in as KU being 5.5-point underdogs, according to FanDuel’s Sportsbook. For my money, this game is really going to come down to which team can dictate the style of play.

I hate to make it so simple, because football is not this easy. But the Jayhawks can’t afford to start off slow, as has been the case for much of the season. The Wildcats will just run the ball and control the clock, meaning KU’s offense might not get enough opportunities to erase a double-digit deficit like it did last week.

That being said, K-State’s defense isn’t as good as the total numbers might indicate. Kansas should be able to have success on offense this weekend. I have a hard time believing Kansas will come out flat in this one. The Jayhawks could turn this into a shootout if they get out to an early lead, which would favor their style of play. If that happens, KU should cover and ultimately win this one outright.

Prediction: Kansas 38, Kansas State 31

This year’s record ATS: 5-3

Overall record ATS: 12-7

Reply 2 comments from Len Shaffer Armen Kurdian

Over/under prop bets for KU’s matchup with Kansas State

Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) bemoans a missed opportunity for an interception during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) bemoans a missed opportunity for an interception during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

A Sunflower Showdown worth talking about?

This has been a one-sided rivalry for the last decade on the football field, but that could all change this weekend at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. For the first time since 2009, KU is less than a 10-point underdog against Kansas State.

The Jayhawks are just a 5.5-point underdog as of Friday afternoon via FanDuel's Sportsbook.

Sign up today on FanDuel using this special promotion.

As a result, this week's over/under prop bets are more optimistic than they might have been in previous years. That doesn't necessarily mean KU is going to win this game, but it does make specific matchups more interesting this weekend.

Sports editor Matt Tait still leads this series, but Twitter voters and myself are tied for second after I went 4-1 in last week's prop bets. Here is look at the overall season standings heading into the Sunflower Showdown:

Standings

Matt Tait: 22-17-1 (3-2 in Week 9)

Twitter: 20-19-1 (3-2 in Week 9)

Shane Jackson: 20-19-1 (4-1 in Week 9)

To hear our picks for this rivalry matchup, just check out this week's over/under podcast. Have your voice heard by participating in the polls that I posted on Twitter before kickoff, which is slated for 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

I have also posted the polls in this blog to keep it in one place.

None by Shane Jackson

None by Shane Jackson

None by Shane Jackson

None by Shane Jackson

None by Shane Jackson

Reply

Pick 6: Best bets for Week 10 of college football

Kansas wide receiver Daylon Charlot (2) is hit by Kansas State linebacker Justin Hughes (32) after a catch during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.

Kansas wide receiver Daylon Charlot (2) is hit by Kansas State linebacker Justin Hughes (32) after a catch during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan. by Nick Krug

Best bet: Memphis (-6) vs. SMU

It is not often that an undefeated team is getting six points this late in the season, but it is probably the right call. Memphis is 23rd in total yards per game with 470.6 yards per contest, while ranking 10th in the country with an average of 39.5 points per game. SMU has been pretty fortunate over the last few weeks, so I’m banking on that luck running out here.

Long shot: Maryland (+21) vs. Michigan

These two teams are going in different directions. Maryland is 1-5 over its last six games, while Michigan is coming off a 45-14 win over Notre Dame. But it wouldn’t surprise me if the Wolverines are a little flat in this one, and Maryland is able to stay within three touchdowns thanks to a few players coming back from injuries.

Under of the week: Total points for Army at Air Force (45.5)

Not much to say here because it has become so obvious to bet the under in games between service academies. Since the 2005 season the under has gone 33-9-1 in such occasions. Follow the trend, bet the under on 45.5 total points for this game.

Over of the week: Total points for Nebraska at Purdue (58)

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez says he is ready to go, and that’s all I needed to hear to bet the over on the total score. Purdue receiver Rondale Moore might also come back this week, which would provide a big boost to a depleted roster.

Underdog to trust: Miami (+3) at Florida State

Miami is coming off a 16-12 win against Pittsburgh, so can this team do it two weeks in a row? This defense is good enough to get the job done, as the Hurricanes are giving up just 19.4 points and 301.2 yards per game. Florida State, meanwhile, is allowing 29 points and 444.2 yards per game. Give me Miami to win this thing outright.

Sunflower Showdown action: Over 24 points for Kansas (Line via FanDuel)

My pick for this game is below, but this might be the easiest bet of the week. It is hard to imagine KU’s offense, with Brent Dearmon calling the plays, not scoring at least 24 points. I’ve wrote this week about how the total numbers for Kansas State’s defense might be misleading, so I fully expect Kansas to move the ball this weekend.

KU sports staff picks against the spread

Lines via FanDuel's Sportsbook as of Tuesday afternoon. Sign up today using this special promotion.

Kansas vs. Kansas State (-5)

Matt Tait: Kansas

Benton Smith: Kansas State

Braden Shaw: Kansas

Shane Jackson: Kansas

TCU at Oklahoma State (-3)

Matt Tait: TCU

Benton Smith: Oklahoma State

Braden Shaw: TCU

Shane Jackson: TCU

Boston College at Syracuse (-3)

Matt Tait: Syracuse

Benton Smith: Syracuse

Braden Shaw: Syracuse

Shane Jackson: Boston College

Georgia (-6) at Florida

Matt Tait: Georgia

Benton Smith: Georgia

Braden Shaw: Florida

Shane Jackson: Florida

Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) at Kansas City Chiefs

Matt Tait: Vikings

Benton Smith: Vikings

Braden Shaw: Chiefs

Shane Jackson: Chiefs

New England Patriots (-3.5) at Baltimore Ravens

Matt Tait: Ravens

Benton Smith: Patriots

Braden Shaw: Ravens

Shane Jackson: Ravens

Season standings

Shane Jackson: 30-24 (3-3 in Week 9)

Benton Smith: 26-28 (3-3 in Week 9)

Matt Tait: 25-29 (3-3 in Week 9)

Braden Shaw: 20-34 (3-3 in Week 9)

Reply

Prev