1) Can Michael Cummings keep it up?
20/37, 288 yards and an interception, ending up with a 114 rating? Honestly, not a bad day for Michael Cummings against Oklahoma State last week (especially considering the team's average passer rating this year is 4th worst in the FBS at 90.7). He wasn't great but he was certainly good enough and didn't give the game away (unlike our friend Montell Cozart has seemed to do this season). Will he be able to maintain this level of play though? In the last two years, Cummings has mostly been used to run obvious option plays and lose two yards on draws up the middle. When implemented as the the starter, he did a decent job. Texas Tech is not as good of a team as Oklahoma State is, and even though this coming game is on the road, another solid performance from Cummings like the one last week is going to do wonders for this Kansas offense and will keep them in the game.
2) Is Tony Pierson going to get more touches through the air this week?
Coach Clint Bowen followed through and we ended up seeing Tony Pierson get the ball much more last week. After just 22 touches all season, Pierson had 12 last week. This led to 54 total yards, which is not great by any means, but it is a positive sign that he was involved more in the offense. He had 2 receptions for 28 yards and 10 rushes for 26 yards against the Cowboys. I like having Pierson come out of the backfield because he offers up a very nice change of pace and it's just another place where he can become dangerous. I would like to see him get the ball a bit more through the air against the Red Raiders this week, because if you can get him the ball down field more and in space, he can be deadly. 12 touches is a big improvement, but I'd like to see closer to 15 this week with more coming in the passing game.
3) Who will be returning punts for the Jayhawks?
Derrick Neal got some time returning punts this past week, Isaiah Johnson has seen some time back there this year, we have seen some explosion from Nick Harwell too. Who is going to be back there this week? It has been an issue for KU for a while now. Last year it seemed as though Brandon Bourbon didn't have more than five return yards on any given punt the entire season (and most of the punts he received were touchbacks). You can only do so much if a punt is deep in your own territory, but Neal ending up with -1 yard last week overall isn't going to cut it. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bowen shake it up in the return game this week.
4) What is the running game going to look like this week?
Two weeks ago, Corey Avery carried the load for KU while De'Andre Mann had just one carry against West Virginia. Last Saturday against Oklahoma State, each back had 10 carries for a combined 67 yards (3.35 yards per carry between the two of them). Avery did score a touchdown on a nice 23 yard run, but take that out and he had a mere 15 yards on 9 carries. Tony Pierson coming out of the backfield does offer a nice change of pace (although he also had 10 carries against OSU), but one of these running backs needs to emerge as the premier threat from the backfield. I thought it was going to be Avery, but Coach Bowen gave everyone an equal opportunity in terms of pure numbers last week. I'm interested in finding out who will lead the charge in the ground game this week, but one of these backs needs to stand out because a run game is only going to help Michael Cummings and the entire offense in the second half of the season.
5) Which uniform combination will the Jayhawks be sporting in Lubbock?
Seriously, the big Jayhawk on the blue helmet was awesome and I want more of it. And good uniforms correlate to better games thus far for KU (blue uniform and a helmet with a large Jayhawk has worked fairly well this season, excluding the large War-Hawk against Duke). Don't expect the all-red with the new chrome helmets again, since the Texas game is one we would all like to forget. Maybe we'll get lucky and TTU will go with white at home this week, that way we can see more blue for the Jayhawks. Although, even on this lighthearted topic, I will not be happy with more gray.