The season inches ever closer, and with just 41 days to go, it’s time to take a look at the sixth opponent on KU’s 2018 schedule, West Virginia.
Kansas @ West Virginia
October 6, 2018, Time TBD
Morgantown, WV: Milan Puskar Stadium (60,000)
About the West Virginia Offense
West Virginia is be one of the most experienced offenses in the country this year in terms of returning starters and production. The Mountaineers return 72% of their production in 8 starters, including potential Heisman candidate, SR Will Grier (250-388, 3490 yds, 34-12 TD-INT).
2017’s leading rusher Justin Crawford is gone, but JR Kennedy McKoy (125 car, 596 yds, 7 TD) will look to pick up the slack out of the backfield.
As for wide receivers, the Mountaineers had two 1,000-yard receivers last year, one of whom returns. In fact, WVU had four players haul in 253 of the team’s 294 receptions; three of those guys are back for another campaign: SR Gary Jennings (97 rec, 1096 yds, TD), SR David Sills (60 rec, 980 yds, 18 TD), and JR Marcus Simms (35 rec, 663 yds, 5 TD).
About the West Virginia Defense
On defense, the Mountaineers return 7 starters but just 57% of their production because they have lost four of their top five tacklers from 2017. JR linebacker David Long (75 tak, 15.5 TFL, 3.5 sk) looks to lead a young linebacking corps alongside SO Dylan Tonkery (44 tak, 7 TFL, 2.5 sk).
SO safety Kenny Robinson (46 tak, 2 TFL, 3 INT) and JR CB Hakeem Bailey (35 tak, 2 TFL) will likewise be in charge of a young secondary, while on the defensive line JR Reese Donahue (40 tak, 6 TFL, 1 sk) and SR Ezekiel Rose (24 tak, 5 TFL, 5 sk, INT) will get first crack at stepping up to battle opposing offensive lines.
Even if KU somehow managed to open the season 3-2 or 4-1, the Jayhawks will likely be massive underdogs at West Virginia. Khalil Herbert had himself a game last year against the Mountaineers, but KU has yet to be within four touchdowns of WVU in Morgantown. West Virginia’s offense looks to be unstoppable for a team that struggled in 2017 the way Kansas did, and will probably be able to name their score. West Virginia 66, Kansas 28.