University of Kansas

KU has one chance to make up for bad loss at Iowa State

Updated: 2013-11-30T01:14:17Z

By RUSTIN DODD

The Kansas City Star

The Kansas offense had finally broken through. The Jayhawks had put up 31 points in a victory over West Virginia. They snapped a 27-game Big 12 losing streak. And it appeared that maybe — just maybe — Kansas’ days of offensive ineptitude were over.

And then … Ames happened.

Last week, on a bitterly cold Saturday night, the Jayhawks were shut out in a 34-0 loss at Iowa State, the first time Kansas had gone scoreless since a 43-0 loss at Texas in 2011. So as Kansas prepares to conclude its season against K-State at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Kansas coach Charlie Weis can only hope that what happens in Ames, stays in Ames.

Especially as KU faces a K-State team that is averaging 33.6 points per game.

“Here are a few stats for you,” Weis said, “If you don’t score in the high 20s to low 30s against these guys, you usually don’t beat them.”

That may sound like a pretty obvious statement — more points generally equals a better chance of winning — but such is life for Weis, who has been forced to think about offense in simplified terms this season.

Freshman quarterback Montell Cozart has the started the last two games, replacing junior Jake Heaps, and the Jayhawks have resorted to a more ground-oriented attack. Weis has been mum about which quarterback will get the start against K-State, but Cozart’s name was atop the depth chart earlier this week.

No matter who is under center, the Jayhawks will likely need to find a way to get to 30 points

“We have only scored over 30 points twice this season,” Weis said. “That is the first thing that comes in to play.”

It won’t be an easy task. Kansas is averaging just 15.8 points per game, which ranks 117th in the country. And only two teams from BCS conference have been worse at putting points on the board — Purdue and South Florida. In simple tersm, Weis knows his offense will need to be better to hang with K-State.

“Do you they play sound, fundamental defense? Yes.” Weis said. “I just know we are going to have to play a heck of a lot better than we have been playing recently for us to have a legitimate chance to win the game.”

Other story lines

RECORD OUT OF REACH? Senior running back James Sims needs 332 rushing yards against K-State to break June Henley’s record for career rushing yards at KU. It’s probably not going to happen, but Sims has had a terrific career while playing on bad teams for four years.

FINAL DAY FOR SENIORS – AND FOUR OTHERS: In addition to honoring 19 seniors, KU announced earlier this week that four juniors are graduating and will not return to the program next season. The list of juniors leaving includes receiver Connor Embree, who served as the Jayhawks’ punt returner this season, receiver Ricki Herod, quarterback Blake Jablonski and receiver Jonathan Jones.

CAN KU ADD TO SACK TOTAL? Kansas enters the game with 18 sacks this season, six more than its total last season. It’s also the most since the 2009 Kansas team had 30 sacks.

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to rdodd@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/rustindodd.

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