The Kansas football team has the privilege of opening Big 12 competition against the Baylor Bears. Will the details determine this weekend’s outcome?
The Kansas football team welcomes the Baylor Bears to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan., Sept. 18. First-year head coach Lance Leipold has given the Kansas football program a new breath of life, with the team sitting at 1-1 to start the year. Despite a 49-22 loss to Coastal Carolina, the 2021 Jayhawks do look much improved.
For a program that won 21 games from 2010-2020, a .500 record is a cause for celebration and the start of rebuilding.
The Bears on the other hand are looking for success in 2021. While they are not a nationally contending team, Baylor is a fringe Big 12 conference champion pick. They looked the part against Texas Southern, winning 66-7 in Week 2. They were nearly upset by Texas State though, with the bears winning 29-20 in Week 1. The Bears are far from perfect, but quarterback Gerry Bohanan shows promise and the defensive unit is one of the Big 12’s best.
This game has the potential to be a blowout or a classic nailbiter. What small details could determine the story that this game tells?
Kansas football: Passing Defense – 167.5 passing yards/game (47th FBS, 4th Big 12)
While early season-season stats can be misleading, the first important stat for Saturday’s matchup is how well the Jayhawks can hold Baylor’s passing attack. The Bears average nearly 220 passing yards per game, good for 67th nationally and 6th in the Big 12. This matchup, on paper, could be a point where Kansas could swing the game by limiting the aerial attack.
Kansas football: Turnovers Committed – 0 (1/10 FBS in 2021)
A surprising stat, the Jayhawks have not committed a turnover yet in 2021. Only nine other teams can say that so far, even contending programs cannot say that. While Baylor averages creating two turnovers a game, it can be hard to win a game without creating turnovers. The Jayhawks playing clean football only increases their chances.
Baylor Rushing Defense – 120 rushing yards/game (55th FBS, 8th Big 12)
This is a stat that may not go well for Kansas. The Jayhawks surrender an average of 190 rushing yards per game. Ranking 100th nationally in rush defense is certainly not a calling card. But, despite a blowout win, Baylor still ranks low in the Big 12 in rushing yards. While the Bears could try to capitalize on Kansas’ weakness, they have not shown prowess in the rushing attack yet.