The main storyline for Kansas football’s 11 a.m. game at No. 9 West Virginia on Saturday won’t be complicated: Can the Jayhawks fare better against the pass than they have lately?
West Virginia, with help from Heisman-candidate quarterback Will Grier, has thrown for 726 yards and eight touchdowns in its first two Big 12 games. Meanwhile, KU is coming off a game where it allowed 20.8 yards per completion in a 48-28 home loss to Oklahoma State.
KU coach David Beaty said the Cowboys were successful by using double moves against the Jayhawks’ secondary, and it’d be shocking if West Virginia doesn’t try to test KU down the field as well.
The Jayhawks have a few days, then, to try to get a whole lot better in that part of the game.
Kickoff: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W.Va.
Radio: WHB (810 AM) in Kansas City, KFH (1240 AM) in Wichita
The line: West Virginia by 29
Five things to know
- No games this time: Beaty, who has often in the past decided to not share his exact quarterback plans, announced Carter Stanley as the team’s starter during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference. Stanley completed 24 of 32 passes for 247 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against Oklahoma State last week.
- A top QB: Grier ranks second nationally in passing yards per game (372), though even that look probably doesn’t give him enough credit. The nation’s top QB in this stat is Washington State’s Gardner Minshew, who has thrown 273 passes this season. Grier has only attempted 136.
- Good in all areas: KU has excelled in every aspect of turnovers. Not only do the Jayhawks lead the nation with a plus-12 margin, but they’re also tied for first in both takeaways (14) and fewest giveaways (two).
- Pooka Magic: True freshman Pooka Williams continues to produce at an elite level. His 7.9-yard-per-carry average is third nationally among backs with at least 60 carries, while his 119 rushing yards per game ranks 12th.
- Pressure, please? KU, which has gone more conservative on defense this season, has five combined sacks in its first five games. That’s tied for 116th nationally and also at the bottom of the Big 12 statistical rankings along with Kansas State.