1nside the Numb3rs: Kansas

Kansas' offense is very similar to the first three teams that Texas Tech has
played in conference. All of them have had great success through the air while
struggling to get much going in the running game. For Kansas, this is starting
to change as in the last two games they have been able to get Jake Sharp over
the century yard mark. His 8.6 yard per carry average against the Sooners last week is an impressive feat against
a defense that has only given up 3.3 yards per carry on
the season.
With a run to pass ratio of 46/54 running the ball is critical to the success of
the offense as it opens up lots of room for Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier to
utilize. Against the Red Raiders finding running room may be tough as they
feature the Big 12's second best rushing defense. They have been suffocating
opponent running backs only allowing 82 yards per game in conference and less
than a three yard per carry average.
The passing game for the Jayhawks is clearly their strong suit. Led by
stellar quarterback Todd Reesing, Kansas is throwing the ball for 335 yards
per game. Against Oklahoma and South Florida, two very strong defenses, they
were able to pass for over 340 yards in both games. One area that the passing
game has been very efficient in is picking up first downs. On the season the
offense is converting at an astounding 50-percent clip. The passing game is responsible
for 102 of these, compared to only 57 rushing.
One area that the offense has struggled with is giving up sacks. While this
could be a result of Reesing trying too hard to make a big play, the offensive
line has given up 3 sacks per conference game which is second to last in the Big
12. This has led to six turnovers in three conference games which places them
near the bottom of the league in turnover margin.
The Kansas rushing defense was starting to dominate until last week when they
faced one of the nation's best offensive lines in Norman. The Sooners ran all
over them for 206 yards. In the previous three games, the defense did a standout
job allowing only 76 yards per contest. Their season average of 109.7 yards per
game is good for 29th in the nation. Slowing Baron Batch and Shannon Woods
without having to stuff the box will benefit a Jayhawk secondary that has been
picked apart by quarterbacks far inferior to Graham Harrell.
The aforementioned secondary has had major issues this year, and it is evident
in most statistical categories. They rank 99th in the nation in pass defense and
only have two guys in the top 21 in the conference in pass breakups. However,
they have made up for it by intercepting 9 passes on the season. In passing
situations the defensive line has also not had the most success with only two
sacks per game. If they are forced to blitz to get pressure, it could be a long
afternoon for an inexperience secondary that is coming off a game in which they
allowed 468 yards passing.
According to Kansas head coach Mark Mangino his special teams units are coming off their best
game of 2008. Against the Sooners the special teams averaged over 41 yards per
punt including two inside the twenty, were 1-1 on field goals, and had a net
kickoff average of 44 yards. On the season the Jayhawks have been very good
returning punts with Daymond Patterson averaging 14.92 yards per return. Punter
Alonso Rojas has also been steady with an average of 42.15 per punt. One area
they have struggled in kickoff returns where they are last in the Big 12.
Opponents are also a perfect 18-18 on extra points.
Stat Leaders
In his big effort versus Oklahoma, junior QB Todd Reesing set two career marks.
Reesing owns the KU all-time record for pass completions (486) and the career
record for total offense (6,425 yards). His 155.77 passing efficiency ranks him
15th in the nation.
Jake Sharp has finally jump started a sluggish KU running game. His ability to
make people miss in space as well as make sharp cuts have led to his two
consecutive 100 yard performances. Angus Quigley is more of a power back at 222 lbs.
He also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and did so 3
times last game
Dezmon Briscoe had 12 catches for 269 yards against the Sooners, both career
highs. His 12 catches set the school record, and it marked the fist time since
1989 that a KU receiver had over 200 yards. Complimenting Briscoe is possession
receiver extraordinaire Kerry Meier. He leads the Big 12 in catches per game
ahead of superstars Michael Crabtree and Dez Bryant.
Leading the Jayhawk defense is senior linebacker James Holt. His 53 tackles are
tied for sixth in conference, and he is fifth in the nation in forced fumbles.
He has also racked up three 10 tackle games already this season. Although the
secondary has struggled, Darrel Stuckey has had a very solid year as a versatile
safety. He has done a little bit of everything with four tackles for loss, two
interceptions and five pass breakups. Justin Thornton has also broken up eight
passes from his safety position.