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October 27, 2009
Thanks in no small measure to the presence of quarterback Todd Reesing, the Kansas Jayhawks have a reputation for slinging the ball all over the field and doing so very effectively. That reputation is partly deserved, but also obscures the fact that Kansas' offense has a pronounced run component.
The Jayhawks have passed the ball 335 times, but have opted for the run 280 times. Not many teams in college football have a more even balance than that. Of those 335 passing attempts, Kansas quarterbacks completed 213 for 15 touchdowns, but also have thrown 10 interceptions. The 3/2 ratio is not particularly good.
Kansas' proficiency on the ground is impressive, particularly when one factors in that Jayhawk quarterbacks have been sacked 18 times for 144 lost yards. Specifically, Kansas ball-carriers average 3.9 yards per attempt and average 138 rushing yards per contest. Additionally, the Jayhawks have lost only three fumbles on the season.
Kansas' defense has been somewhat of a liability, although head coach Mark Mangino has shuffled personnel in an attempt to improve the unit's speed and athleticism. Opponents are scoring 24 points per game on the Jayhawks, are rushing for 97 clicks per contest and passing for 247 more. Kansas has intercepted seven passes while surrendering 12 touchdowns through the air. Most impressively, though, the Jayhawk defense has tallied 19 sacks on the season.
Kansas' special teams are nothing to write home about. The Jayhawks are being outgained on kickoff returns by a very small margin and by four yards on punt returns. Alonso Rojas averages 39.1 yards per punt, and Jacob Branstetter, the pride of the special teams, has connected on 10 of 12 field goal attempts with a long of 57 yards.
Todd Reesing, a perennial all-star candidate, is connecting on 63% of his passes, and averages 304 passing yards per contest. He also, however, has thrown 10 interceptions as against 15 touchdowns. No other Jayhawks has thrown more than three passes on the season.
Just as the Jayhawks boast a prodigious one-two punch at wideout, so they sport a dangerous duo in the backfield. Big freshman Toben Opurum averages 67 rushing yards per game and 4.5 yards per tote. Speedy Jake Sharp contributes 44 yards per contest and a 4.4 yards per carry average.
There is no better receiving duo in the Big 12, perhaps even the country, than Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier. Meier is the possession receiver. He has 70 grabs, averages 9.8 yards per catch and has six touchdown receptions. Briscoe is the deep threat. He averages 113 receiving yards per contest and 15.2 yards per reception. Jonathan Wilson has 27 catches and averages 13.2 yards per grab.
The Big 12 has several outstanding safeties and Darrell Stuckey may be the best of the bunch. He leads the Jayhawks in tackles with 58, has 2.5 stops behind the line, an interception and three pass breakups. But cornerback Chris Harris may be having an even better year. He has 56 stops, 3.5 tackles for losses, and seven pass breakups. Linebacker Drew Dudley has 7.5 tackles for losses and three sacks. End Jake Laptad has nine tackles for losses and 5.5 sacks. And Maxwell Onyegbule, the best Jayhawk you've never heard of, has 10 tackles for losses and three sacks.
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