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5 Questions: Kansas vs. TCU

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One week after their first conference win of the season, KU welcomes the formidable TCU Horned Frogs to Lawrence. Here are our five burning questions entering the contest.

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1) Can the Jayhawks have any semblance of success on the ground this week?

Kansas totaled up 228 rushing yards (on 48 rushes) against Iowa State, including 204 combined by Corey Avery and Tony Pierson on 34 carries (good for a 6 YPC average for those two). Iowa State doesn't exactly have a stout run defense, and by that I mean that they are second to last in the Big 12 in terms of rush yards given up per game. TCU on the other hand is 4th best, allowing 128.3 yards per game on the ground. Avery and Pierson found a lot of success against the weak Cyclones defense, but it's highly unlikely that they can repeat that success against the Horned Frogs. It will be crucial to stay committed to the ground game as long as possible, in hopes that the Jayhawks can recapture the spark that they had last week, as unlikely as it is that they will.

2) Will we see more deep passes from Michael Cummings?

Cummings did fairly well throwing deep against Iowa State (granted, they don't have a great pass defense either), even with some help from his receivers. After watching some good catches by his receivers this past Saturday and making some nice throws himself, I'd like to see Cummings push the ball down field a little more this week. You don't want to take unnecessary risks, especially when you're playing against a good defense, but you have to consider who you are playing and the fact that you aren't likely to have many chances to make any noise on offense. There's not much to lose, so I'd like to see some more deeper pass plays this week against TCU.

3) Will Nick Harwell and Nigel King continue to see a high number of receptions?

"High" is a relative term here, and I'm aware that they put up solid numbers against a bad team, but I believe that these two guys are deserving of more down field targets (this obviously goes hand in hand with our previous question). Jimmay Mundine is a good option underneath and of course Pierson is explosive with the ball in his hands (and I harped for weeks about him getting more touches, and thankfully he's been successful lately in the running game), but I think this team will fare better on offense by taking a few more chances down field. Harwell and King are two solid targets and are deserving of more of the offensive focus.

4) How many points will TCU score this week?

I hate to be so cynical, especially coming off of the win last weekend. but the fact of the matter is that TCU is a great team and the real surprise will be if KU is in the game at all this weekend. TCU is 2nd in the Big 12 in scoring offense, putting up 47.2 points per game this season. The Jayhawks' defense has shown very good play at points this season, but it's going to be incredibly difficult to even slow down the Horned Frogs. Baylor put up 60 on KU, and even though that game was in Waco and this one will be in Lawrence, don't be surprised if TCU puts up a similar point total. They will simply overpower Kansas.

5) Can Kansas avoid a shutout loss?

Not the most inspiring of questions, but frankly I think it would show us something positive if KU can come out this weekend and at least play respectably for as long as possible. After last season's win over West Virginia, the Jayhawks got demolished one week later in Ames, losing 34-0. This game is at home, however, it's also against a much better team. This may be setting the bar really, really low, but if Kansas can avoid a 60-minute embarrassment, it's a clear improvement over last season (right?).