Kansas vs. Southern Mississippi Matchup Breakdown

Why Kansas?

Edge

Matchup

Edge

 Why Southern Miss? 

The Kansas offense showed a lot of promise in game two.  There are certainly areas that can be improved upon but a solid running attack allows Jordan Webb to be efficient and play within himself.  It's the old game manager mentality.  James Sims moves into a starting role and Kansas now has freshman starters at running back and quarterback.  Both can make plays

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This might be stepping out on a limb but the Kansas offense looked balanced and serviceable against a BCS opponent.  The pass protection will be key in this one as will winning the battle at the point of attack in the running game. It's football 101, if your line wins...generally you win.

Kansas Offense

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USM Defense

 

 

USM struggled in stopping the run in game one but rallied against a lesser opponent in game two. They return a good deal of experience and they attack relentlessly.  If they can limit the Kansas running attack and force the Jayhawks to pass, they're blitzing style could get the better of Kansas and force some mistakes.

Statistically speaking Kansas gave up a good chunk of yards in week two. But if you watched the game there wasn't much doubt that the unit responded. Against USM they'll be facing a whole different animal. Fast paced, spread em out and throw with an ability to run. The Golden Eagle offense can make you pay in a hurry. Kansas has to stay sharp for four quarters and keep making the necessary adjustments in game to get enough stops.  Secret weapon? Darrell Wyatt

 


Kansas Defense

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USM Offense

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Edge to USM in this one.  I hate to doubt the Kansas D again, but this will be a different and unique challenge.  Besides in my opinion all the Kansas D needs to do is do ENOUGH to win. That doesn't necessarily mean they stop the USM offense, which will prove tough.

USM has weapons and plenty of them. By taking the game to a fast paced up and down spread they could cause problems for a Kansas team still believed to have depth concerns. USM hasn't necessarily hit their stride offensively this year so far, but this will be the first time Kansas has faced this style.  In the past, it's been a problem.

Kansas at least has a pulse in the special teams game.  Alonso Rojas continues to look good.  The Jayhawks are fielding and attacking in the return game. There's still that ominous thought of having to kick a field goal to tie or win that has to concern any Jayhawk

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Push.  This could be where the  game is won or lost. Games can be won or lost in this phase of the game. Neither has been spectacular.  Maybe someone can be?

 

 

Special Teams

 

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USM, like Kansas has been good but not great.  Tough to tell too much at this point as they haven't done anything that jumps off the page, but they also don't appear to hurt themselves significantly.

Turner Gill and his staff pulled off one of the great one week turnarounds in recent memory. A solid gameplan and an unmatched level of enthusiasm. I think that's what every Kansas fan was expecting with Turner Gill.

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Growing confidence in the Kansas staff.

Coaching

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Slight, slight, slight edge. Fedora hasn't quite put Southern Miss back where they'd like to be, but he has a winning record and has made some strides. 

Larry Fedora has put together back to back Bowl Appearances at Southern Miss, but entering his third season expectations might start to tick upward and certainly the results against South Carolina didn't reflect what the fans expected

 

On the road, a Friday night in a hot, humid, hostile environment.  Nothing easy about this one to say the least.  Southern Mississippi will present challenges that Kansas hasn't faced yet this year, but after last week it's a little easier to believe the Jayhawks can respond.

It's going to be about crisp execution on offense and the famous "want to" on defense.  Special teams will be critical for Kansas as any opportunity to pick up field position or give the defense plenty of room for error will be huge. Big game, here's hoping Gill and company can manage to get the same level of excitement and enthusiasm going into this one as they did versus Georgia Tech.

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