When/where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Liberty Bowl in Memphis
TV/radio: ESPNU; KCSP (610 AM)
The series: Memphis leads 1-0
The line: Memphis by 20
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What’s at stake
Kansas will look to snap a 38-game winless streak away from Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks’ last win outside of Lawrence was on Sept. 12, 2009, in a road game against UTEP.
Cheers if …
The Jayhawks are competitive in the fourth quarter. KU can show progress in this game even without a victory, and a good place to start would be performing well enough so that Saturday’s game is within one possession in the fourth quarter.
Jeers if …
KU is buried early. Coach David Beaty vowed to overemphasize his team’s start after the Jayhawks were outgained 193-4 in the first quarter last week against Ohio, so it won’t be a good sign if the team comes out flat a second straight week.
Jesse Newell’s pick: Memphis 49-17
KU failed to handle Memphis’ tempo a year ago, as the Tigers turned a close game early into a 55-23 rout in Lawrence. Though Memphis has a new coach (Mike Norvell) and new quarterback (Riley Ferguson), its offense is still likely to find success against at home against a KU defense that has been gashed too often in the run game.
Three things about Memphis
1 The last two years, Memphis won nine games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1949-50.
2 The Tigers’ had the 13th-fastest offensive pace in the nation last season according to FootballOutsiders.com.
3 Memphis has four players from Kansas junior colleges, including starting quarterback Ferguson, who was at Coffeyville Community College last season.
Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson vs. KU’s secondary: The Jayhawks have done a good job defending the pass so far, with Tevin Shaw and Fish Smithson standing out with their coverage skills according to film study done by Pro Football Focus. The Jayhawks’ pass defense will get its biggest test against the Tigers, who will speed up the pace and also use numerous run-pass option plays to try to gain an advantage.