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Central Michigan Chippewas - Defensive Preview

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KU football comes back to Lawrence this weekend. How will the Central Michigan Chippewas look to stop the Jayhawks offensive efforts?

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
DEFENSE

The Central Michigan Chippewas come into Lawrence on the heels of a season changing loss at hands of Syracuse last week 40-3. Central Michigan players and fans entered the game with high hopes which quickly faded when it was announced that two leading offensive starters would be out.  The Chippewas, who are 2-1 on the season, rank 96th in F/+ and have the 94th rated defense (according to Massey).

On defense the Chippewas simply do not get pressure on the opposing QB as noted by their sack rate of just under 3%, good for 107th in the country. The Chippewa defensive philosophy is built from the back to the front and, in theory, excels when they can affect the passing attack and force a team to focus on the run. Last week the Central Michigan defense held Syracuse to 5.8 yards/pass but in turn gave up nearly 6.0 yards/rush and 3 rushing TD’s. A good day running the ball will be key against the Chippewas who are giving up 5.0 yards per rush. CM is averaging 2.0 interceptions per game on the season, recording a pick on 2.53% of defensive snaps.

Kansas has been terrible this season converting 3rd downs but this may be the game to break the trend. On the season, the Chippewas have allowed a first down on nearly half of all 3rd down attempts.

SPECIAL TEAMS

CM special teams are a fluid situation with injuries and shifting personnel. Three players have shared kicking duties and 5 different players have participated in the return game. WR Corey Willis averages 23.0 yards per kickoff return.

WHO TO WATCH

Pay plenty attention to DB Tony Annese who leads team in tackles and has two picks on the season.

KU's OFFENSE VS. CM's DEFENSE

Just to reiterate these are non-garbage time goals which, if completed, I think will show that the offense has had at least a modicum of improvement.

  • Offensive Efficiency - 5.0 yards/play before garbage time (250 yards on 50 plays, 300 yards on 60 plays, 350 yards on 70 plays).
  • Turnovers - No more than two turnovers in this contest.
  • Redzone Efficiency – I’m reducing this goal down to simply get into the redzone more than once.

REVIEW OF DUKE GOALS

Let's take a look back at the goals from last week's game. Garbage time officially kicked in when Duke RB Shaun Wilson broke a 68 yard TD run with 0:44 left in the third quarter.

  • (Offensive efficiency goal, 5.0 yards/play). Actual - 3.2 yards/play. Failed miserably, KU’s offense was impotent and the coaching staff still hasn’t figured out how to get the ball into the hands of their playmakers.
  • (Turnover goal, less than 2). Actual – 2 turnovers. Failed.
  • (Redzone efficiency, 60% TD's). Actual - 0%. Failed, one trip into the redzone, one field goal.

I'll check back next week to review the goals for CM and preview Texas.