Kansas finds itself on the opposite end of a familiar story line heading into Saturday’s 11 a.m. home game against Rutgers.
This week, it’s KU with some positive momentum — and its opponent without. The Jayhawks are coming off a 31-7 road victory over Central Michigan, while Rutgers was beaten badly by No. 4 Ohio State, 52-3.
It was all different a week ago. Back then, KU — after losing to FCS opponent Nicholls State at home — was being widely questioned, while its upcoming foe Central Michigan had reason for optimism after a competitive road loss to Kentucky.
This is an important moment in KU’s season, as it’s likely the last time the Jayhawks will be favored in 2018 with Big 12 play looming.
Kickoff: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lawrence
TV: Fox Sports KC
Radio: WHB (810 AM) in Kansas City, KFH (1240 AM) in Wichita
The line: KU by 4
Five things to know
- Rutgers has quite a few Kansas ties. The most notable of which is offensive line coach A.J. Blazek, a Wichita native who graduated from Maize High School in 1997 and was an All-American at Butler Community College on its 1998 national championship team. Also, former KU kicker Ryan Weese is a part of Rutgers’ support staff, while Olathe North alum Cole Murphy is a receiver on the roster.
- KU has turned around its turnovers. The Jayhawks’ plus-six turnover differential this season is tied for first nationally. That’s a huge improvement from a year ago, when KU finished at minus-17.
- This doesn’t happen often. KU, which is currently a four-point favorite over Rutgers, has not been favored at home against a Power Five team in almost a decade. The last time it happened, according to the database at OddsShark: Oct. 10, 2009, when the 19 1/2-point favorite Jayhawks (under coach Mark Mangino) defeated Iowa State, 41-36.
- This will be a return game from three seasons ago. KU, in coach David Beaty’s first season, lost 27-14 to the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, N.J., on Sept. 26, 2015. The series was originally announced in 2012 with some influence from former KU coach Charlie Weis. “Having grown up in Middlesex (N.J.) I was intrigued to hear we were in discussions to play Rutgers,” Weis said in 2012. “I have always pulled for people from New Jersey, including the State University, Rutgers. I am excited about this home-and-home series, although I’m afraid of how many tickets I’m going to have to purchase!”
- A KU great will be honored. Quarterback Todd Reesing will be added to the team’s ring of honor during the game. Two weeks ago, cornerback Chris Harris earned the same recognition.